There are many ways adoption can change a family for the better. A step-parent may wish to adopt their step-child to bring their family closer together and ensure parental rights. A couple or individual may want to expand their family with a new child. Adoption can be wonderful, but it can also be stressful and complicated. There are some basic things you want to understand about adoption in Illinois before you begin the process.
Legal Criteria to Adopt in Metro East, Illinois
Under Illinois law, a child of any age can be legally adopted. If the child is over the age of 14, any adoption requires the child’s consent. A child can be cared for by a biological parent and one or two adoptive parents. An adult can also be adopted in the state with the adult’s consent.
Generally, the adopting individual must be at least 18. In some cases, if there is a good reason, the court will allow someone under the age of 18 to adopt. In Illinois, there are several legal requirements to adopt. This includes:
- The adopting individual does not have a legal disability;
- The individual has lived in Illinois for a minimum of six months; and
- The individual has a good reputation.
The residency requirement of six months does not always apply. Members of the military must live in Illinois for a minimum of 90 days. The residency requirement is waived if the adopting individual is a relative.
A legal disability does not always include blindness. An individual looking to adopt cannot be denied simply because of their blindness.
Commonly, a couple adopts together, though single individuals can also adopt. The adoptive person has to live in the adoptive home, and if they have a spouse, the spouse must also be part of the adoption petition. Both parties must meet the legal requirements to adopt.
Other requirements for adoption include taking the necessary training to adopt or foster a child, following all statutory requirements surrounding the adoption, and completing background checks and home studies as required. The adoption should always be in the child’s interests.
Types of Adoption in Illinois
The main types of adoption in Metro East include:
- Step-Parent or Related Adoptions
When one or both of the adopting parties is related to the child they are adopting, it is considered a related adoption. Most commonly, this form of adoption happens when the biological parent of a child remarries, and their new spouse wishes to adopt their step-children. This form of adoption is often easier to navigate.
- Public or Private Agency Adoptions
Public agency adoptions like foster care are done through the state. There are several private agencies that handle adoptions. Generally, the birth parents placed a child up for adoption or had their parental rights terminated for a child to be in agency adoption.
- Non-Agency Private Adoptions
Adoption can also happen through private arrangements between individuals without an agency or relation. These adoptions generally occur privately, and the birth parents give up their parental rights to the adoptive parents soon after birth. The parent who gave birth to the child must give consent for the adoption and has three days or 72 hours to revoke this consent. There will still likely be an inspection of the adopting parent or parents’ home by a relevant agency.
- International Adoptions
Parents in Illinois can adopt a child born in another county. These adoptions are often more complex and take longer to finalize.
- Adult Adoptions
An adult over the age of 18 can be adopted in some cases. The adult must either be related to one or both of the adopting persons or have lived with the adopting person or persons for at least two years.
Q: How Much Does It Cost to Adopt a Child in Illinois?
A: The cost of adopting in Illinois depends on several things, including the type of adoption and the agency the adoption takes place through. Adopting through the foster system has no costs besides the significant costs of raising a child. Private adoption agencies generally have significant costs. These may cover court fees, home studies, attorney fees, social service fees, travel costs, preparation courses for adoptive parents, and medical costs of the birth parent. It’s important to always research the costs of the type of adoption you are pursuing.
Q: How Long Is the Adoption Process in Illinois?
A: The length of time adoption takes depends on several factors. Adopting or fostering a child requires mandatory training that is 39 hours and can take six to 12 weeks. This is the minimum amount of time it can take to adopt a child. Other factors can make the process take up to a year or longer, such as background checks or legal complications. Each private agency will have a unique timeline. International adoptions can take more than two years.
Q: What Are the Requirements for Adopting a Child in Illinois?
A: A person wanting to adopt in Illinois can do so if they do not have a legal disability, have lived in the state for six months, and have a good reputation. If the individual is a member of the military, the residency requirement is 90 days. Generally, the individual should be 18 years of age or older, but the courts may allow an adoption by a person younger than 18. Usually, couples adopt children, although single individuals can also adopt. When couples adopt, both parties must meet the requirements.
Q: What Will Disqualify You from Adopting a Child in Illinois?
A: The state completes background checks and home inspections before placing a child into a foster or adoptive home. Conviction of a violent or drug-related felony within the last five years may be ground for disqualification. Conviction at any time of felony child abuse, child neglect, spousal abuse, violent felonies, or crimes against children will likely disqualify the individual from adopting.
Legal Guidance Throughout the Adoption Process
The adoption process can be legally complicated and emotionally overwhelming. With the guidance of an experienced adoption attorney, you can feel more confident navigating the adoption system. You can understand your rights and responsibilities and focus on the joys of adopting. Contact Stange Law Firm today to see how we can help you step by step through the adoption process and bring your family together.