Bringing a new child into your home can be one of life’s most exciting gifts. For those who are unable to have their own biological children or those who simply wish to expand their family in other ways, adoption- either foreign or domestic-can bring that much-desired child to someone’s life and future.

Adoption can be a complicated and overwhelming process. Adoption lawyers in Chicago can help you navigate this process so that you can bring home a child of your own knowing that all legal steps have been successfully completed.

Steps to Adoption

Each state has different adoption laws, but the process will always begin will several forms, including the filing of a Petition for Adoption.  Biological parents will be required to fill out a Final and Irrevocable Consent to Adoption and have their consent acknowledged by the court in person.  If one’s consent cannot be acknowledged in person, arrangements can be made to have the consent acknowledged telephonically or audiovisually. This is common in situations where a biological parent is out of state or incarcerated, for example.  

Court hearings and conferences will follow to determine the eligibility of the adoptive parents and the willingness of the birth parents to consent to the adoption of their child.  On the first court date, a Guardian ad Litem (“GAL”) will be appointed by the Court to investigate and file a Report with the court as to the suitability of the adoption and confirmation that all requirements have been met.  In most cases, a Home Study is conducted, along with a background check of the adoptive parents. Adoptive parents will also need to submit to a CANTS background check, which ensures that the adoptive parents have never been subject to an investigation by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS).

The final judgment hearing will grant final legal rights to the adoptive parents. After the judgment, the adoptive parents will be able to change the child’s birth record. Adoption lawyers in Chicago are there to help you through every step of the process.

Types of Adoption

In Illinois, there are 5 categories of adoption:

1. A related adoption occurs when the child is adopted by family members, such as a stepparent, grandparent, sibling or aunt and uncle.  In a related adoption, some procedures are waived so as to make this one of the easiest types of adoption.

2. In an agency adoption, the parents receive the child from the Department of Children and Family Services or an adoption agency. In this type of adoption, the biological parents have already surrendered the child to the State or their parental rights have already been terminated.

3. In a private adoption, the child is received directly from the biological family. After the birth of the child, the biological parents legally have 72 hours in which to revoke their consent to an adoption.

4. Adult adoptions occur where a person over 18 is adopted by parents who are related to them or they have lived with them for at least 2 years. No consent of the biological parents is required in an adult adoption.

5. A standby adoption is an adoption that is put in place to go into effect upon the occurrence of an event. If a parent is terminally ill, for example, and wishes to consent to adoption by a specific person, a standby adoption can carry out this intention.

Other Things to Consider With Adoption

There is much to consider before embarking upon the adoption process.  In some cases, children taken from difficult homes may have experienced significant trauma. Adjustments can be difficult.  Attending pre and post-adoption therapy can help the child successfully transition into their new home. Many agencies require the adoptive parents to complete necessary training and classes before bringing their child home. Many resources are available for families who are hoping to adopt or have recently adopted and the Law Offices of J. Jeltes, Ltd is able to help you navigate this process.