The prospect of adopting a child is a joyous one, but it can also involve a lot of uncertainty. If you are still at the beginning of the adoption process, you may wonder about whether you are eligible and what options you have.
Knowing what to expect can make the process less intimidating. When adopting in Illinois, here are some of the most important things that you need to know.
1. What law governs adoptions in Illinois?
When adopting a child, it is crucial for you to comply with the law. The Illinois Adoption Act sets forth the procedures you and any agency must follow for a legal and valid adoption.
2. Does it matter whether you are married?
Married couples, single people and unmarried couples may all adopt in Illinois. This includes couples of the same or different sex. There is, however, an extra consideration for married couples. Specifically, unless there has been a separation of more than a year, the petition must involve both spouses jointly.
3. Is there an age limit for adoptions?
In Illinois, people of all ages, from infants to adults, are eligible for adoption, provided that the process otherwise meets the legal requirements. For example, adoptees over the age of 14 must give consent to their own adoption.
4. Do you have to adopt through an agency?
Not necessarily. Independent adoptions, i.e., adoptions of non-relatives without the assistance of an agency, are legal in Illinois. However, you must take extra care to ensure that all steps in the process are compliant with the Illinois Adoption Act. Many people choose to adopt through an agency that handles a lot of the legwork as it relates to compliance.
Both adoption agencies and Illinois state government want to help children find permanent homes in loving families. Therefore, they want to help you succeed in adopting if at all possible.