Adopting a child is a life-changing process, which is why the laws regulating adoptions in Illinois and the rest of the country are complex.
Although we might not think of it as such, adoption is a legal process that is regulated by the state’s court system. Failing to abide by the laws and legal adoption process can result in an adoption failing, which is heartbreaking to everyone involved.
Therefore, it’s necessary to go through the adoption process with an experienced family law attorney on your side who can make sure that the legal statutes and processes are closely followed.
First, an individual or couple must meet the adoption eligibility requirements. After meeting the requirements and finding a child who is available for adoption, the legal adoption process starts.
Here is brief, step-by-step summary of how the legal adoption process works in Illinois:
- File an adoption petition with the court. A guardian ad litem will be appointed to represent the best interests of the child during the process.
- Complete a home study and a criminal background pursuant to the county’s specific rules. Note: If the adoptive parents and child are related, this step is not necessary.
- Provide the biological parents of the child with Notice of the adoption pursuant to the rules of civil procedure. Note: If the biological parents have signed legal consents, they are not entitled to notice.
- Temporary custody of the child may be awarded to the adoptive parents until the final adoption is approved in a Temporary Order.
- An Interim Hearing will be held to address any issues that need resolving such as whether the parental rights of the biological parents should be terminated.
- Six months after the Interim Order is issued, the adoptive parents ask the court to finalize the adoption.
- The adoptive parents can request a new birth certificate for the child with his or her new name after the Final Adoption Order is granted.
Of course, this is a very simplified version of the legal adoption process in Illinois, for more information and specifics, talk to an experienced family law attorney in your area.