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Illinois adoption lawyersAdoption can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience for all involved, but it is not a decision that should be taken lightly. By going through this legal process, you are taking on all of the financial, medical, emotional, and developmental needs of the child. The following are five things you need to know and consider before embarking on your adoption journey.

1. You Need Stability, Not Perfection

Families considering adoption often allow themselves to become overwhelmed with all the tasks and changes involved. They may also become nervous about their shortcomings during the interview or home study process. Rest assured that you do not need to be perfect to complete an adoption. You are not required to have a “traditional” household. All you really need is to prove that you can provide a stable, loving environment for a child and that you will do everything possible to ensure the child’s needs are met.

2. Adoption is a Life-Long Journey

While the legal adoption process only lasts for a short time, adoption itself is a life-long journey. For the rest of your life, you will be a parent. You and your child may also face serious challenges, such as questions about a birth parent or feelings of sadness when you tell them about the adoption. It is often beneficial when adoptive parents consider the journey and how they may face the challenges, prior to completing the process.

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DuPage County adoption attorneysAdoption can be a rewarding way to grow your family. Unfortunately, there are many would-be parents who worry that they are not “good enough” to adopt. Perhaps they struggle to balance their work and home life, or maybe they do not have the best upbringing. Rest assured that these issues may be less relevant than you think when trying to adopt. Learn more about what adoption agencies are looking for in an adoptive parent, and discover how our seasoned family law attorneys can help you skillfully navigate the emotionally trying and legally complex process. 

Adoption Agencies Want Loving and Committed Parents

Raising a child is hard work that takes a lot of love and dedication. Adoption agencies understand this, which is why they are less focused on perfection and more concerned with finding loving and committed parents. If you are willing to go the distance for your child, be it financially or by simply ensuring that they have a happy, stable childhood, then adoption may very well be the right path for growing your family. 

Adoption Agencies Want Children to Live in a Safe Environment 

Safety is a critical element in a child’s home - for both obvious and not so obvious reasons. Little kids move quickly, and they are often unable to recognize just how dangerous a situation or object can be. That is why they need attentive, loving parents to watch over them. If you can offer this, then you may be exactly the kinds of parent that the agencies are hoping will apply.

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Posted on in Adoption

Wheaton adoption attorneysAdoption is one of the most rewarding decisions that a person can make. Of course, that single decision soon becomes just one of many. Some of the decisions you have to make will be fun or simple: coming up with a theme for the nursery, figuring out where the child will go to school, etc. Others will be more complex, and some might even feel like taxing, multilayered decisions, such as knowing if you are comfortable with the child knowing his or her birth parents. 

You must also decide when and how you would like to adopt, as there are several avenues that one can pursue on this journey. Some prospective parents choose to adopt through an agency, while others decide to go through the state. There are those who would prefer an international adoption and others that would rather adopt a child in foster care. Whatever your path, know that you do not have to travel it alone. The following information, along with the assistance of a seasoned family law attorney, can make all the difference in the weeks and months ahead. 

Why Hire an Attorney Now? 

Adopting parents often wait until legal proceedings to hire an attorney, but this decision can negatively impact your situation. First, you must research the adoption process in your state and hope you are given accurate information. Then you must decide which adoption path to pursue, perhaps without fully understanding the potential benefits and challenges to expect from each option. You might even find yourself going through unnecessary heartache if a birth mother changes her mind and you were not fully prepared for the possibility. 

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Wheaton adoption lawyersWhile growing your family through adoption can be a positive and exciting life experience, there are many hurdles and obstacles that prospective parents must overcome. Some are exceedingly difficult to navigate on your own. As such, it is highly recommended that adopting families hire an attorney during the process. Learn more about why in the following sections. 

Adoptive and Birth Parents Have More Control Over the Process

Although adoption agencies are a wonderful resource for prospective parents, they tend to pair birth and adoptive parents based on an algorithm, or what they call “the best match.” Sadly, these matches are not always “the best” for the involved parties. There could be issues that you were not made privy to, or you may find that your personalities are incompatible. Unfortunately, you may have little to no other options if you go strictly through the agency. An attorney can serve as a mediator and assist with the decision process, which could allow you to have more control over who the prospective birth parents will be. Your attorney can also help to ensure the birth parents understand the legalities of their choice, which may give them more confidence as they move forward through the process. 

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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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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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DuPage County adoption attorneysThere are many ways to start or grow a family. Adoption, though often a complex process, can also be extremely rewarding. Learn more about which adoption options may be available to you, and discover how an experienced family law attorney can assist you and your family through the process with less stress and more time for your growing family.

Foster Child Adoption

There are more than 100,000 children awaiting adoption in the U.S. foster care system. Those who are not adopted will simply terminate out of the system, with no family to call their own. If you are not against adopting an older child, perhaps one with a troubled background that needs a loving, patient, and compassionate family, foster adoption may be the appropriate path for you.

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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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Posted on in Adoption

DuPage County family law attorneys, Illinois adoptionCongratulations are in order if you have decided to move forward with adoption, but there is also a lot to do to get ready for your new member of the family. From initial legal considerations to making the child feel welcome on arrival, you want to make sure things runs smoothly through every step of the process. While every family’s situation is unique, you can set the stage for success by following a few tips on preparing for your Illinois adoption.

Consult with Your Family

The decision to adopt a child will impact the entire household, so it is important to discuss the situation with your family. Even if you and your partner—or you alone—have embraced the idea, minor and adult children should be given the chance to weigh in on adoption. You need to answer their questions and address their concerns if you want to ensure a smooth transition.

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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 family law attorney, adult adoptionsThe adoption law in Illinois focuses on facilitating new family relationships. When parents to decide to adopt a child, it creates a legal parent-child relationship, just as if the child was their biological offspring. The same outcome applies when a parent, or parents, adopt an adult. Commonly, adult adoptions formalize relationships that have endured for a long period of time. Many states across the United States, including Illinois, permit adult adoption, where two adults legally enter into a parent-child relationship.

There are benefits to adult adoption. Adult adoption gives the adopted adult the inheritance right from the adopting parent(s), just as if the adult was the biological child of the adoptive parent(s). Likewise, it permits the adopted adult to make important medical decisions, should the parent become disabled or incapacitated. Often, adult adoptions occur in pre-existing relationships, such as the situation of a stepparent and stepchild, which is performed to ensure that the stepchild has inheritance rights.

If you are considering adopting an adult, you should contact an experienced attorney who will be able to advise you of the process, evaluate your situation and bring you one step closer to making the adoption become a reality.

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The Putative Father Registry: Protecting Fathers’ Rights

In Illinois, the state adoption agency is required to notify fathers if their children are being placed for adoption. All putative fathers, or men who might be a child’s father but were not married to the child’s mother at the time of birth, are encouraged to register in the Putative Father Registry in order to have a say in a potential adoption of their child.

The Putative Father Registry is also designed to serve families who want to adopt, for social workers and other professionals working on an adoption case, and for any other party who has an interest in finding out whether a child is ‘legally free’ for adoption. Moreover, the Registry is ultimately there to help children be placed with adoptive parents.

Asserting Your Rights as a Father

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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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