Illinois law allows for several avenues to the adoption of an unrelated child. The process can, in some cases, be lengthy, technical, and expensive. Having the assistance of a qualified adoption lawyer can help you navigate the complicated adoption process.
Is there hope for an apparently infertile couple who want a child?
Yes, there is hope!
First, considering the virtually fantastic strides being made in treatment of infertility, you should recheck with a fertility specialist to determine if, through in vitro fertilization, you can have a child of your own. A baby can now be made with one egg and only one sperm.
The use of a surrogate mother/gestational carrier is another possibility by which you could have a child who is genetically related to one of you, or both of you. If these do not work, then there is adoption
Should we adopt through an adoption agency?
An adoption agency is one way to adopt, but there are several ways to adopt a child, including a private adoption agency, a public agency adoption (which in Illinois is Department of Children and Family Services), the foster parent short cut, the adoption of a child through an international agency, or an independent foreign adoption, and finally finding a child to adopt through your own efforts.
How long should it take to find a child on our own?
About a year. Two reliable works on adopting children on your own are Adopting in America: How to Adopt Within One Year, by Randall B. Hicks (published by Wordslinger Press, Sun City, California) and Winning at Adoption, which is a kit containing audio and video materials – a true how-to-do-it kit.
How do I find a child to adopt?
Get the word out that you are looking for a child to adopt. The important people to whom to send letters are people who may have contact with a pregnant woman who may want to give her child up for adoption. These people include physicians, nurses, educators, counselors and lawyers. You should also inform virtually everyone you know that you want to adopt a child.
Should I advertise for a child to adopt?
Yes. Often children are found through advertising. One of the logical places to advertise is a community where you believe there are single women who are pregnant who may want to give their children up for adoption. These communities include college towns and communities where religious protocols prohibit abortion.
How long does adopting an unrelated child take in Illinois?
About seven or eight months if the case goes as smoothly as it should.
Is a home study needed?
A home study does not have to be done before you start the adoption proceedings, but the judge must have a home study before the adoption decree is entered. Often this study is done by the social work agency of the court.
Should a lawyer represent the adoptive parents in adoption proceedings?
Definitely. As a matter of law you are entitled to represent yourself, but that would be like my doing brain surgery on myself because I have a legal right to do so. You want to be certain that this child is truly yours and no one can take the child away from you. You need a lawyer who knows adoption law.
Do I need a specialist in adoption law?
No. The fact is that the State of Illinois (unfortunately) does not recognize legal specialties. Even if there were adoption “specialists,” you would not need a specialist, but you will need a lawyer who is knowledgeable in adoption law. You should ask the lawyer you intend to retain about his or her experience in representing couples in the adoption of an unrelated child. Foreign adoptions and adoptions of a child from another state pose special problems. Make sure your lawyer has experience with your type of adoption.
If we adopt a child in a foreign country, should we re-adopt the child in the U.S.?
Yes. It is highly practical to re-adopt in the United States because this is how you will obtain an American birth certificate for the child. Without an American birth certificate difficulties will be encountered such as school registration, driver's license applications and countless other bureaucratic matters.