Adoption is a beautiful way of creating a family, but it can be a daunting legal process. In fact, for potential adoptive parents, understanding the process can be downright discouraging. Finding the right resources before you begin the process, during your adoption journey, and after an adoption is finalized is critical in ensuring that your journey to expand your family is a successful and supported one.
To help guide you along this journey, we’ve identified some key sources of information and support for adoptive parents in Illinois.
Before Beginning The Adoption Process
The best way to start your adoption process is to speak with a knowledgeable and local adoption attorney. The Law Offices Of J. Jeltes, Ltd can help you understand the requirements for adoptive parents, including who can adopt, any requirements that might apply before you adopt, and the right questions to ask as you begin your journey.
For those interested in fostering to adopt, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is a great place to start. The agency has included information for those interested in adoption, as well as a way for potential foster or adoptive parents to contact the agency.
For those interested in seeking support and resources from other adoptive parents, Chicago Area Families For Adoption, or CAFFA, is one of the Midwest’s largest adoption support groups. CAFFA also provides resources for prospective and current adoptive parents, and can help with educational, counseling, and other resources.
The Illinois Foster & Adoptive Parent Association, or ILFAPA, is another outstanding resource for prospective foster and adoptive parents. ILFAPA provides foster parents with resources, information, and support in connection with its mission to “support foster parents in achieving safety, permanence, and well-being for the children and youth in their care.”
During And After The Adoption Process
After adoption and guardianship, adoptive parents can find tools and information to suit their unique needs through Partners Available to Help, or PATH, which offers post-adoption and guardianship services through the Illinois Department of Children and Families. PATH’s resources include information on the unique needs of adopted children, resources for educators, and pediatric health providers.
DCFS also publishes a post-adoption guide for adopted children formerly in the agency’s care. The guide includes an overview of the many services available to meet an adopted child’s ongoing needs, including services that the department provides or funds for children previously in its care. This guide also includes information on training and advocacy, medical care, subsidized educational resources, and post-adoption parenting support resources.
For those adopting children from overseas, the University of Chicago Medicine’s Comer Children’s Adoption Center provides pre-adoption assessments and travel clinic visits, as well as post-adoption support and referrals to specialized care. This program focuses on the unique health and developmental needs of children adopted from overseas, and can offer support and resources for adoptive parents.
For parents navigating the complex and often confusing legal web of adoption, it’s critical to seek out a knowledgeable and experienced attorney who can guide you through the process. There is no such thing as a simple adoption, and finding someone who understands that adoption is more than just a legal matter can help to ensure a smooth and supported transition as you build your family.
Resources For LGBTQ+ Adoptive Parents
Although LGBTQ+ adoption is becoming more common in Illinois, LGBTQ+ individuals and families looking to adopt face unique hurdles. Equality Illinois has published a guidebook for LGBTQ+ families interested in adoption, including a list of adoption and foster agencies in Illinois and their stated policies toward same-sex couples and LGBT individuals.
For individuals who have adopted or are thinking about adopting LGBTQ+ youth, the Illinois DCFS offers resources and services for youth in care, including a list of supportive organizations and contact information for LGBTQ+ youth in care.
Have Any Questions About Adopting a Child In Illinois?
Curious about what goes into the Illinois adoption process? Ready to learn more about how you can begin your personal journey toward adoption? We are here to help give you confidence and peace of mind, from beginning to end.
At The Law Offices of J. Jeltes, LTD., our compassionate and skillful team can help handle both related and unrelated domestic adoptions, including grandparent adoptions, stepparent adoptions, and adoptions of a ward through the state or a reputable adoption agency. After adoption, we can continue to provide access to information and resources that may help make the adjustment easier.
Founded in 2009 and offering more than 20 years of combined experience, the attorneys and staff at the Law Offices of J. Jeltes work together to provide skilled, efficient, and affordable legal representation to individuals and families. We know that restructuring a family or making a huge life change can be a vulnerable time, and we endeavor to remain thoughtful and effective in helping achieve the best possible results.
We know that every situation is unique, and our attorneys can provide you with a comprehensive one-on-one consultation to discuss your legal concerns and goals. Don’t hesitate to contact us to begin the conversation.