Adoption Attorney in Edwardsville, Illinois
There are so many reasons why people consider adoption. For some, it’s to make an existing family larger. For others, it’s to start one. For still others, it’s to ensure someone they love will be taken care of. Reasons may differ, but the processes required and the emotions that accompany them bear some similarities. Adoption is a highly personal act that touches the lives of everyone involved.
If you live in Edwardsville, Belleville, Carlinville, Greenville, Hillsboro, Jerseyville, or Vandalia, Illinois, and you are considering adoption, you might not know where to begin. Hawkins Law Office, P.C., can help. We can answer your questions, help you explore your options, and be your best advocates in adoption. It’s what we do for families of all shapes and sizes.
Even before beginning this process, it's wise for those who wish to adopt to work with a family law attorney with experience with the Illinois adoption process.
What Types of Adoption Are There?
Once any adoption becomes final, the adoptee’s legal rights and the responsibilities of the parent are no different than those of a parent’s biological child. That is why the process of adopting a child or adult, in any form, is a legal one.
Which type of adoption you choose depends on your unique situation. However, there are six basic types to consider.
A state or “agency” adoption in Illinois is supervised by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Most of the children are in foster care. Most are also older than infants but are still unemancipated minors who need a family.
Private adoption is conducted through a private adoption agency, rather than the DCFS. Nonetheless, the adoption still requires investigation of the prospective parent and their home by an agency authorized by the DCFS to do so. The likelihood of being able to adopt a newborn is greater with a private adoption than with an agency adoption.
International or Foreign Adoptions
An international or “foreign” adoption involves adopting a child from another country. These adoptions are typically handled by a governmental or private agency in the child’s birth country. However, foreign adoptions are subject to the U.S. immigration process.
Stepparent adoptions are common in today’s mixed families. The process may take less time than other types of adoption, so long as the biological parents agree to it. The stepparent must be married to one of the biological parents of the child to pursue adoption.
Surrogacy adoption involves a couple having a third party as the birth mother or an individual who has another woman carry the child. The birth mother may be implanted with the fertilized eggs from the couple or be inseminated with the father’s sperm. The surrogate must relinquish her parental rights after the birth so the adoption may proceed unless the adoptive parents obtain a pre-birth order confirming their parental rights over the child.
Adult adoption is usually pursued to provide a legacy to the adoptee. Upon the death of the adoptive parent, the adoptee would be entitled to the same rights to inherit the estate as any other biological heir. The adult adoptee must be either a blood relative of an adoptive parent or have lived with the adoptive parent for at least two years.
What Should I Know About
Illinois Adoption Laws?
There are three key things you should know about Illinois adoption laws: who can be adopted, who can adopt, and what consents are required.
Any child, blood relative, or adult who has resided in the home of an adoptive parent may be adopted in Illinois, so long as the proper parties provide consent.
Any sound adult ages 18 and older may adopt in Illinois. A minor may be granted a petition for adoption by the court in some cases. For example, the court may allow a sibling under the age of 18 to adopt younger siblings. There is a residency requirement of a minimum of six continuous months of living in Illinois, although this requirement can be waived if the adoptive parent is a blood relative, seeking to adopt a child who is subject to the jurisdiction of an Illinois court. Married couples must petition jointly to adopt.
The biological mother’s consent, unless she is deceased or her parental rights have been revoked by the court, is required. The father’s consent is also required if:
He has acknowledged paternity, is the adoptive parent of the child, or has a court order of parentage;
He was married to the child’s mother within 300 days of the birth;
He lived with the mother and bore parental responsibilities for the child for at least the first 30 days of the child’s life;
He made an effort to provide financial support for the birth and the child;
He has remained in contact with the child; or,
He registered successfully with the Putative Father Registry.
Consent by the adoptee is required if they are age 14 or older. Consent by the agency or individual with legal custody of a child and by the legal guardian of a child whose parents are both deceased must also consent to adoption.
How Does the Adoption
Process Work in Illinois?
Those interested in adoption in Illinois must submit an application to the DCFS or agency facilitating the potential adoption. Acceptance of the application will be followed by an interview process designed for the agency to learn more about the applicants and the applicants to learn more about expectations for adoption.
Applicants will be required to complete an adoption education class that covers the process, parenting an adopted child, and creating a nurturing home environment. The applicants will then be required to undergo a home study which includes background checks of anyone residing in the home and assesses the suitability of the prospective parents and family for the adoptee.
The prospective parents will then need to choose which type of adoption they wish to pursue and which agency they wish to work with.
Even before beginning this process, it's wise for those who wish to adopt to work with a family law attorney with experience with the Illinois adoption process. Knowing from the start what to expect and how to navigate the process will make the path to adoption much less challenging and significantly more rewarding.
Serving Edwardsville, Illinois
Adoption can be such a fulfilling experience for an individual or couple, as well as the child or adult they choose to adopt. Having a compassionate and knowledgeable adoption attorney by your side from start to finish may be the best decision you make, second only to the decision to adopt. If you want to learn more about adoption in Edwardsville, Illinois, or the surrounding areas, call Hawkins Law Office, P.C. to schedule a consultation.