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Illinois adoption attorneysAdopting a child is a monumental decision. It is also a complex legal process, regardless of whether you are going through an agency or the state. Even when adopting a child or adult within your own family, there are certain legal steps and procedures that one must follow. Gain a brief understanding of this process in the following sections, and discover how our seasoned Wheaton adoption attorneys can help you successfully navigate the complexities of your case. 

Determining Your Adoption Method

The first step to adoption is to determine what path you want (or need) to take, as some processes are specific to the type of adoption you are pursuing. For example, those seeking an international adoption will have to go through more legal steps (securing a passport, meeting with the embassy of the child’s birth country, etc.) than someone seeking a step-parent adoption. 

Some adopting families will immediately know the type of adoption they want (most common in intra-family adoptions). Others will have questions about the differences between the types of adoption, or they may have reservations about pursuing one path over another (foster care adoption versus private adoption). If you are uncertain, a seasoned attorney can answer your questions and help guide you to the path that most suits your family’s desires and expectations.  

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Illinois adoption lawyersAlthough adoption is usually a positive experience for families, it can take an emotional toll on the prospective parents. Sadly, few are aware of the challenges that they are likely to face, and so they may not be fully prepared for the process. Learn more in the following sections, including where you can find support during the adoption process. 

Understanding the Challenges of Adoption

Adoption, in and of itself, can be a stressful process. There are many forms to complete, and parents often worry whether they will be considered a “suitable” parent by the adoption agency. In addition, there may be challenges that are specific to the type of adoption that a parent is pursuing. For example, a mother may change her mind in an infant adoption, and the prospective parents may have to start the process over - and that can be painful if they have developed an attachment to the child. 

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Posted on in Adoption

DuPage County adoption lawyers, LGBTQ adoptionsNovember was National Adoption Month. Currently, almost 15,000 children are in foster care in Illinois. Many potential adoptive parents are members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community and may have questions about the laws in Illinois around adoption, whether through foster care or another way. If you are thinking about adoption, you should work with a skilled adoption lawyer who can help you navigate the process.

Illinois Same Sex Adoptions Increasing

Chicago City Wire recently spoke with an employee from the Illinois Center for Adoption and Permanency, who noted that there has been a 22 percent increase this year in same-sex couples who want to adopt one of the children with whom the organization works. Agencies such as this one have specifically been targeting the LGBTQ community for recruitment of adoptive parents, especially as prospective adoptive parents of children in foster care.

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Posted on in Adoption

DuPage County adoption lawyers, adopting from foster careThere are several ways to bring children into a family. One way to create a family is through adoption, and many people choose to adopt children through foster care. It is important to understand basic information about adopting a child from foster care if you are interested in pursuing this option.

Foster Care Basics

Foster care is necessary when a child cannot be cared for by his or her parents, for whatever reason; in this case, the the child lives with someone else. Foster care can also include kinship care where a child is cared for by relatives or family friends.

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Posted on in Adoption

DuPage County adoption lawyers, special needs adoptionMany people decide to expand their family by adopting a child with special needs. This can be both challenging and rewarding for a family. Financial support can help a family deal with and overcome these challenges. Fortunately, state and federal adoption assistance programs can help prospective parents pay for expenses that will help their special needs child have the best life possible with their new family.

A Special Needs Adoption

A special needs child may have a developmental, behavioral or learning challenge. The challenge could be caused by a genetic mental health issue or exposure to drug and alcohol. In Illinois, a special needs child is a child who has a need or circumstances that might prevent adoption. The financial support is meant to remove these potential barriers and encourage an adoption. In order to qualify, the child must meet one or more of these criteria:

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DuPage County adoption lawyers, stepparent adoptionThrough a stepparent adoption, the natural child of one spouse becomes the legal child of the other spouse. Once a child is adopted, there are no legal differences between the natural children and children from another marriage. If you are considering adopting your stepchild, there are a few factors to consider to help your family through the process.

Consent is Key to Stepparent Adoption

A stepparent adoption is a form of related adoption. However, in this type of related adoption, the other parent must provide consent for the adoption. Sometimes, the other birth parent may agree that stepparent adoption is in the best interests of the child. In these cases, it may not be difficult to obtain consent. The adoption will be more complex if the child’s other biological parent does not provide consent.

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DuPage County adoption lawyers, related adoptionsAdoption is a great opportunity for a family to expand. Adoption is a particularly great option for potential adoptive parents who are related to the child. Related adoption, or kinship adoption is one of the most common methods of adoption in Illinois. Illinois adoption law requires state-funded agencies to make reasonable efforts to identify and locate a child's relative when the child needs to be place outside the home. This has made related adoptions the preferred method of placement for agencies, as they are required to give preference for children in need of placement.

The Social Security Act (SSA) directly ties federal funding for foster care and adoption to placement. The SSA requires that state-funded agencies “consider giving preference to an adult relative over a non-related caregiver when determining placement for a child, as long as the relative caregiver meets all relevant state child protection standards.” Additionally, the state of Illinois regulates foster parents and foster care payments/financial for caregivers related to a child. A relative may receive payments for foster care and any other benefits just like a non-related foster parent, as long as he or she meets the state's criteria for being a foster/adoptive parent. In Illinois, the prospective adoptive parents must be:

  • 21 years old;
  • Able to financially meet the child/children needs; and  
  • Able to pass a criminal background check.

How do the Agency Define a Relative?

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