FAQs: Adoption in Illinois

Starting a family is an exciting time in one’s life, especially when that means providing a permanent home for a child in need.

Adoption is a life-changing experience and the process can be daunting for new families with varying requirements throughout the country. Kogut & Wilson attorneys answer pressing Illinois adoption questions to de-mystify the process and help families decide if adoption is the right choice for them.

Q: What is adoption?

A: Adoption is the process of becoming the permanent and legal parent of a child. Through this legal action, the adoptive parent assumes full responsibility of the child, including health care, wellbeing and medical treatment and remains the legal parent for the remainder of the child’s life, including after emancipation.

Q: What is the difference between adoption and guardianship?

A: In a Guardianship, the proposed Guardian assumes responsibility for the child until their emancipation. Except in the case of a disability, guardianship does not continue into adulthood.

Guardianship also differs from adoption in that the parental rights of the biological parents do not need to be relinquished or terminated for a guardian to be appointed.

Q: What are the different types of adoption?

A: There are several types of adoption, including:

  • Private Adoption: Adoptive parents and the child are matched without the assistance of a child welfare agency. There are two types of private adoptions:
    • (1) Related Adoptions, where at least one of the adopting parents is related to the person they wish to adopt. An example of this type of adoption would be a step-parent wishing to adopt their spouse’s biological child or
    • (2) Unrelated adoptions, where the adopting parents are not legally related to the minor child. An example of this type of adoption would be friends of a biological parent seeking to adopt, or a distant blood relation that is not deemed “related” per the statute.
  • Agency Adoption: The involvement of a licensed child welfare agency that places a child with adopting parents either at the biological parents’ request or a court termination of the biological parents’ parental rights.
  • International Adoption: The adoption of a child born in another country.
  • Adoption of an Adult: The adoption of a person aged 18 years or older.
  • Standby Adoption: The specification of an adoption to occur based on a future event, such as death or request of a biological parent.

Q: What are the requirements to be able to adopt a child in Illinois?

A: According to the Illinois Adoption Act, individuals looking to adopt must be:

  • An adult (18 years or older) without a legal disability (or a minor by leave of court for good cause shown)
  • A resident of Illinois for a minimum of six months, or 90 days if they are a member of the armed forces
  • Able to submit and pass a background check

Adoptions in Illinois are regulated by the Illinois Adoption Act, which outlines the procedures that must be followed for a successful adoption to take place.

Q: Can same-sex couples adopt a child in Illinois?

A: Yes, same-sex couples can petition for adoption.

Q: How long does the adoption process last?

A: Petitioning for an adoption can be a lengthy process, ranging from a few months to more than a year, depending on the circumstances.

Q: What are the costs involved in adoption?

A: The costs of adoption vary based on the type of adoption, which agency is chosen and the individual’s personal situation. For example, in some agencies, financial aid is available for those in need. In private adoptions, no agency fees are involved. To fully understand the costs associated with adoption, families should research the options to find the route that makes the most sense for their family.

Q: How do you start the process of adoption?

A: Due to the many legal requirements and policies, the adoption process varies depending on the individual case. Those looking to adopt should speak with a professional throughout the entirety of the process to ensure no stones are left unturned.

For further insight into the Illinois adoption process, contact Kogut & Wilson family law attorney Cailee J. Alderman.

Kogut & Wilson is an award-winning family law firm based in Chicago with extensive experience representing clients in all aspects of divorce and family law. Understanding the cases we work on are often sensitive, our team of trusted attorneys takes great care to provide personalized and effective approaches to meet clients’ everchanging needs, no matter the complexity.


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