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Understanding the Adoption Process in Illinois

Judith Trentman Wilson, Attorney at Law, P.C. Feb. 5, 2021

For anyone considering adoption in Illinois, it is helpful to understand basic information about the process. Adoptions are regulated by the Illinois Adoption Act and create a family relationship between the adoptive parents and the adoptive child.

A single or divorced person or a couple, including unmarried couples and same-sex couples, can adopt a child in Illinois. If the couple is married, both parties must join in the adoption petition.

Before an adoption can take place, the birth parent’s rights must be terminated, either voluntarily or by court order.

The adoption petition is presented to the court. If all of the requirements are met, the judge will first enter a temporary order of custody in favor of the adoptive parents. Then, when the adoption is ready for finalization the judge will enter a judgment of adoption.

Adoption gives the adoptive parents the same rights and responsibilities as a birth parent and it is permanent.

Types of Adoptions

Related adoptions occur when at least one of the adoptive parents is related to the child by blood or marriage. These adoptions may be completed by grandparents, aunts, uncles or the child’s adult siblings.

Unrelated adoptions occur when a child is adopted by a person who is not related to the child by birth or marriage. There is a six-month waiting period before this type of adoption can be completed to ensure the placement is the right fit for the child.

Agency adoptions occur when the state places a child for adoption with licensed foster parents. The agency will consider the needs and best interests of the child when choosing a placement.

The adoption process can be complex, but an experienced family law attorney can help families navigate it.