Illinois Adoption – Part 1: The Legal Landscape

Individuals and couples adopt for many reasons. For example, some couples adopt due to fertility challenges; some families have biological children and wish to increase their family size through adoption; and other families merely wish to provide a safe home to children who need such a family. Adding a child to your family can be a joyous occasion. However, navigating the law concerning adoption can be challenging.

For Illinoisans, adoption remains an increasingly popular option. The Illinois Department of Public Health notes thousands of adoptions added to its registry in recent years.

Adoption in Illinois

Adoption is a legal process that gives adopting parents the same rights and obligations as biological parents. The purpose of adoption is to place children with a new family. According to Illinois law, there are different types of adoption.

  • Agency Placements – Agency placements are placements made through licensed agencies or social services. Agency placements occur when custody of the child belongs to the agency or a local department of social services. In this instance, the agency receives authority to place the child for adoption, and all parental rights for the parents are terminated.
  • Non-Agency Placements – Non-agency placements occur when the child is not in the custody of an agency. For example, non-agency placements often involve step-parents, close relatives, adult adoptees, or intercountry placements. In a non-agency placement, the birth parents or legal guardians consent to the placement. Like agency placements, non-agency placements result in a termination of parental rights for the parents.

In Illinois, aside from licensed agencies or social services, only birth parents and legal guardians are usually permitted to place a child for adoption, though others may assist parents in locating prospective adoptive parents.

The Goal of Adoption

To qualify as an adopting parent, you must have sufficient space in your home for a child, and be able to financially provide for the child. However, there is no income requirement, nor is there a requirement that you be married.

The goal of adoption proceedings is to place the child as part of a permanent family that:

  • Provides safety is meant to last;
  • Provides the legal rights and social status of membership in the family;
  • Provides for cognitive, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being; and
  • Assures lifelong connections to extended members of the family, siblings, and other adults, as well as a connection to family history and traditions, ethnic heritage, race, religion, culture, and language.

Contact Wheaton Adoption Attorneys

If you are considering an Illinois adoption and have questions about adoption procedures in Illinois, it is vital that you contact a skilled adoption attorney. In DuPage, Kane, Cook, or other local northern Illinois counties, the family law attorneys at Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C. are here to help. Please contact us today and to see how we can help you navigate the Illinois adoption process.