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Kevin O'Flaherty

In this article, we will answer some frequently asked questions about adoption in Illinois.  Adoption is when an adult becomes the legal parent of a child or another adult who is not their biological child. Adopting parents are then legally responsible to care for and support the adopted child, assuming the child is a minor. For more information on the Illinois adoption process, please read, “The Illinois Adoption Process Explained.”

Who can adopt a child in Illinois?

In order to be eligible to adopt a child in Illinois, an individual must meet the following qualifications:

  • Must not have a legal disability
  • Must have lived in Illinois for at least six months
  • Must have a positive reputation in the community
  • Must be 18 years of age or older, unless the court make an exception

What are the different  types of adoption in Illinois?

  • Related adoption: the child or person being adopted is related to one or both of the adopting parents.
  • Agency adoption: the child or person being adopted is given to licensed agency, and that agency has the authority to place the individual with adopting parents.
  • Private adoption: unique to newborns, the child being adopted is not related to either of the adopting parents, and the adoption placement is not made by an agency. As soon as the baby is born, he or she is given to the adopting parent(s). The biological parents have up to 72 hours after the child is born to change their minds, and all of the parties’ identities are kept confidential.
  • Adult adoption: unique to individuals over the age of 18, the adopted person is related to or has lived with one or both of the adopting parents for more than two years.
  • Interstate/intercountry adoption: the adopting parents are adopting a child or individual from another state or country. Typically, the adopting parents have to complete a home study and receive approval from the adopted individual’s state and country agencies.
  • Standby adoption: the legal parent expects to die of illness and agrees to let another chosen individual adopt his or her child.

How long does adoption take in Illinois?

From start to finish, the adoption process takes around six months, but agency adoption may take longer.

How much does adoption cost in Illinois?

Adoption Help in Illinois

According to Illinois law, adopting parents have to formally receive court approval prior to paying for a birth parent’s cost of living or attorney fees exceeding $1,000. Gifts are acceptable, however, the value cannot exceed $200. It is a felony to pay or receive money in exchange for a child.

What Information is Available for Adopting Parents?

In agency adoption, the adopting parents are entitled to information regarding the adopted individual’s mental, medical, and social history. In private adoption, the adopted individual’s biological parents have to give written consent to release this information to the adopting parents.

Do all adoptions require a home study in Illinois?

No. Only agency adoptions require a home study. Home studies often involve criminal background checks, home visits, and the disclosure of personal financial and medical information.

What kind of training is required for Illinois adoption?

Adopting parents have to complete a 27-hour training to become fully licensed foster families. Once they are matched with a child, they must complete a 9-hour training focused specifically on adoption and the adoption process. After the adoption is finalized, the adoptive parents have access to a variety of services and resources to support them through their journey.

Will the adopted child’s birth parents have legal rights?

In most cases, no. Birth parents’ options are legally terminated prior to the formal adoption, so they will not have any legal rights to the child. The adoptive parents have absolute control over any contact between the adopted individual and his or her birth parents.

Thousands of children and young adults are adopted every year. If you are interested in adopting and would like more information on the legal aspects of the adoption process, please do not hesitate to call us today.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.


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