We can all agree that Illinois is not like anywhere else in the world, let alone the United States. We are a breed of people that cares deeply about our families and especially our children. Illinois adoption can be a tricky part of family law to navigate, but luckily, there are family law firms which have people dedicated to figuring out the nuances of adoption for you. O’Dekirk, Allred & Associates, LLC is ready to help you through the process, getting you your piece of mind, while protecting everyone’s rights in the process.
What does the State of Illinois Recognize as Adoption?
The state of Illinois understands adoption too be the forming of a legal responsibility between a parent or set of parents and a child. At the end of the process the adopted parents have the same legal rights and obligations that birth parents have to their children. After the adoption is finished, the adoptive parents will receive a birth certificate with their names on the document as if they were the birth parents. Meanwhile, the original birth certificate will be put into a sealed file. Adopted children can access this file if they make a request to the Illinois Department of Public Health—but the birth parents have the option to keep their information confidential.
Who Can Adopt in Relative Adoptions?
Not everyone can adopt in a relative adoption, by many people can. Relative adoptions need to be done by people who are blood related to the child. This means new spouses of birth parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles, or brothers and sisters. The one issue is that consent must always be involved in these cases or there must be a significant worry that something will happen to the child.
To put this into perspective, consider the child of two divorced people. If one has a new spouse, and that new person wants to adopt the child, the estranged birth parent must either consent to the adoption, or a judge must find the estranged parent to be an unfit parent. There are various reasons why a judge might find this in a custody case, among the most common are a lack of interest in the child, a lack of concern or responsibility for the welfare of the child, or the abandonment of the child.
How do Agency Adoptions Work?
These are the second most common adoptions in Illinois (behind relative adoptions), and agencies are necessary in the protection of many children throughout the state. When a birth parent places their child in an agency, that parent must sign a document which surrenders the child to whoever the new adoptive parents are. If the secondary parent disagrees and does not surrender too, a judge must find that the other parent is unfit before the child can be adopted by new parents. In a lot of cases, a birth parent will only sign a waiver for “specific consent” which allows the child to only be adopted by a specific person and no one else. If the child is adopted from the agency, there is a six-month trial period where if the child or the parents are not happy, they can regress, and the child can return to the agency for a new adoptive parent.
What are Adult Adoptions?
In the state of Illinois, adults can consent to being adopted. In the case of adopting an adult, the person being adopted must consent, but also, they should either be related to the adopter or have lived in the home of the adopter for two consecutive years. There are a few reasons why someone would want to be adopted as an adult, the most common one being inheritance rights. Through being adopted, the ‘child’ can claim inheritance benefits when the ‘parent’ dies. There are also cases where it is the solidifying of a previously symbolic relationship. Through a legal adoption, both parties in the relationship can formally recognize the bond and solidify a meaningful connection. Another reason is to ensure that one party in the relationship is cared for, for the rest of their lives, such as with family insurance plans.
Adoptions of any sort can be difficult to get through. Pick a family law firm that will help you understand the process and fight for the best outcome. Whether you’re single, married, gay, straight, a stepparent, a surrogate, and intended, or a child of adoption—turn to O’Dekirk, Allred & Associates, LLC today. Give our office a call or check out our blog for more legal insights and more about how we fight for you.