Adoption Basics in Illinois


Adoption Basics in IllinoisMore than 15,000 children over the last ten years have found loving homes across our state. Is your family interested in adopting? If so, it’s important to learn the adoption basics in Illinois from the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Whether you’re single or married, gay or straight, a step-parent, a surrogate, an intended parent, or a child of adoption, O’Dekirk, Allred and Associates in Joliet can help you understand Illinois adoption law and walk you through your journey.

Adoptive families with DCFS children are special because they have opened their hearts to children of all ages and children who sometimes have had tough beginnings. It’s a wonderful option to expanding your family, but a very serious decision. And throughout the DCFS process or a private adoption, having knowledgeable, professional guidance can make all the difference.

To get you started, here are the adoption basics in Illinois.

Legal Responsibilities

A DCFS adoption, like all Illinois adoptions, means you are the child’s legal parent with all the rights and responsibilities of a child born to you. Once the adoption is final, DCFS is no longer involved in or responsible for the care, supervision, or custody of the child. The child is now your child and part of your family. Adoption is permanent and lifelong.

As the child’s parent, you have all the rights and responsibilities to make important decisions for your child, including the right to consent to major medical care and treatment, marriage, and enlistment in the armed services.

Adoption is only allowed when the birth parents have voluntarily given up their parental rights or their rights are terminated by the court which is usually the case in DCFS cases.


Some DCFS cases involve guardianship which is another permanency option for children when the child can’t return home and adoption has been ruled out. A common scenario is when relative caregivers become guardians. They give a permanent home for a child in their care. It can also be used for children who have been living in the home of licensed relatives for a period of six consecutive months.

The court appoints you as the child’s legal guardian which differs from adoption because the rights of the birth parents do not have to be terminated in order to appoint a guardian. If you are appointed the guardian of the child, DCFS will no longer be involved in the care, supervision, or legal custody of the child. The Guardianship lasts until the child reaches the age of 18.

Financial assistance and other resources will be available to guardians of children in DCFS’s care.

Getting Started

Most DCFS children waiting to be adopted live in foster homes or temporarily with relatives. Some even live in larger, professionally-staffed group settings. If you are interested in adopting, DCFS has an online listing with pictures and descriptions of children in need of a loving family.

The DCFS children seeking adoption come from all over Illinois and include all ages and backgrounds. Many are sibling groups. DCFS gives special support to help families adopting children with medical difficulties or other special needs.

There are many considerations when you are thinking about adopting. O’Dekirk, Allred & Associates in Joliet can help you when you’re ready to expand your family. We can explain the adoption basics in Illinois and give you peace of mind during the often-complicated process of adoption. We can also protect the rights of parents who are considering placing their child for adoption with an agency or through a private adoption. Call or contact us for a free consultation.

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