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DuPage County stepparent adoption lawyersAmerican families look quite different today than they did just a few short decades ago. In fact, recent studies have determined that approximately half of all families are blended, meaning there may be step-parents, step- or half-siblings, or any combination of the three. Some of these blended families co-parent with the biological parent (and perhaps the biological parent’s partner), but others find that a stepparent adoption is more appropriate for their situation. Learn more about the process, including how to determine if this may be an option for your family, and discover what an experienced attorney can do to help in the following sections.

Is Stepparent Adoption a Viable Option for Your Family?

Illinois state law does not allow a child to have three legal parents, so stepparent adoption may not be appropriate in every situation. Typically, they are reserved for situations in which one of the biological parents is deemed unfit or unsafe, but a stepparent adoption can also be pursued if the biological parent is uninterested in maintaining a relationship with the child. In the latter situation, parents and adopting step-parents must understand that consent—usually from the biological parent that would be relinquishing or losing their rights, but also sometimes the child, depending on the circumstances—is a critical element in stepparent adoption cases.

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Illinois adoption lawyersWelcoming a child into the home, either by birth or through adoption, is a joyous experience. Unfortunately, when it comes to adoption, that joy can be overshadowed by the concept of a home study. A process that requires transparency, honesty, and a willingness to work as a team, the home study ensures that a placement is safe and stable. It also helps to build a relationship between the prospective parents and adoption social worker. Learn more about preparing for the adoption home study process, and discover how an attorney can help.

The Anatomy of a Home Study

On average, it takes anywhere from three to six months to complete the home study process. During that time, information and several documents will be collected. Most will include:

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adoption birth parentsAdoption can be extremely positive for all parties involved in the process, from the adoptive parents seeking to add a child to their family, to the child looking for a permanent home. While the situation may be most emotional for the birth parents, adoption can also ultimately be a positive thing for them, too, particularly in cases where they are not capable or equipped to care for the child. Likely recognizing the positions of the these different parties, Illinois law generally provides for the protection of all parties involved in the adoption process.

Rights of Birth Parents

Birth parents who decide to place their child up for adoption in the state of Illinois have certain rights about which they should be aware. Birth parents can go through the process with either an adoption agency or a licensed Illinois attorney who represents them in the case. Attorneys are generally used in private adoptions in the state. It is always a good idea to consult with an experienced attorney when going through a legal process to ensure wishes are being met.

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birth record, birth certificate, adoption, adoptee, your rights, illinois adoption lawyer, DuPage County adoptionThe adoption process is different for almost everyone, parents and children included. While some adoptees may never wish to find out more information regarding their birth parents, others are eager to connect on some level with their biological family. As a recent news article reported, the Illinois law giving adoptees the right to view their birth records makes all the difference to the latter group.

Illinois Law

Several years ago, Illinois law changed to give adopted persons the right to view birth records including their birth certificates, documents that were previously unavailable to them, since they were sealed in connection with adoption proceedings. Those adoptees are voicing their appreciation for the law change this week in Springfield. Their appearance also serves another purpose: to encourage states who have not changed their laws in viewing such documents to do so. Many plan on telling their stories at the state capitol.

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adult adoption, DuPage County Family Law Attorney, DuPage County Adoption LaywerIn 1988, 75 year old billionaire tobacco heiress Doris Duke adopted a 35-year-old woman named Chandi Heffner. Duke believed that Heffner, a fellow Hare Krishna devotee, was the reincarnated soul of Duke’s only child. As is too common for billionaire tobacco heiresses, Duke and Heffner’s relationship became strained leading to Duke to decide that the adoption of Heffner was the “worst mistake of her life.” Duke negated the adoption, and in turn, Heffner sued Duke.

At 32 years old, Maurice Griffin was finally adopted by his one time foster family. After Maurice arrived in the Harris household, the Harris family and Maurice bonded. Unfortunately for young Maurice and the Harris family, California wrongfully removed him from the Harris family. During the ensuing years, Maurice searched for the Harris family, eventually finding them when he was in his late twenties.

Illinois Adoption Act and Adult Adoption

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Posted on in Adoption
Illinois adoption process IMAGE It is not unusual for couples to turn to adoption instead of having their own biological children. There are many different reasons couples, or single individuals, may choose to take the adoption route. That being said, it is critical that these people make themselves as familiar as possible with the Illinois adoption process before jumping into it head-first. When getting started with the adoption process, the first step is to locate and contact an adoption agency. Once you have selected one, you must apply for adoption and will be asked to complete the licensing process. This process typically includes a background check, fingerprinting, a medical exam, classroom training, and several visits to your home by an agency worker in order to complete a home study. It also common for agencies to require letters of reference from your employer and those who know you well, as well as a verification of income to meet your potential new expenses. It will typically take around three months to complete these beginning processes, during which the agency will try to get to know you as well as possible in order to make a good match between you and a waiting child. As soon as it is time for a child to be placed in your home, you and the agency will work together to find a child who could benefit from joining your family (and who would benefit you and your family). At this point, prospective adoptive parents will learn about the agency chosen child’s background, personality, strengths, weaknesses, etc. Before you meet the child, you will be asked whether or not you are seriously interested in him or her. If you believe this is a child you would like to make a part of your family, a casual meeting will be arranged. If this goes well, pre-placement visits will be arranged until it is time for your new child to stay permanently in your home. If you or somebody you know is considering adopting a child into your family, do not hesitate to contact an Illinois family law attorney to assist you with all of the legal processes and implications the process includes.
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