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A general guide to adoption in Illinois

Many people want to experience parenthood and share their love with children they can call their own. Having a son or daughter to catch up with after a long day at work and share a lovely dinner with can relieve a parent’s exhaustion. Some people find this experience through adoption.

General requirements

Any resident of Illinois who meets specific criteria can adopt a child. One’s civil status does not affect their chances of adoption, so whether single, married or divorced, one can be an adoptive parent. However, the applicant must pass the criminal background and medical check, home inspection and required training.

If the birth parents have yet to give birth, prospective adoptive parents can pay the medical and hospital expenses or the birth parent’s living expenses until the baby’s delivery. The court has to approve any payment or gift to ensure that it is not excessive.

Ways to adopt

Illinois allows applicants can adopt through any of the following ways:

  • Agency: The applicant can apply as a foster parent through licensed care agencies and once the agency places the child with them, the parent can file a petition to adopt with the family court.
  • Relation: If the adoptive parent and child are related by blood or marriage, they do not need to involve agencies. Adoption by relation is usually done by stepparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and other family members.
  • Non-agency and non-relation: Unrelated birth and adoptive parents can agree on adoption without the involvement of licensed agencies. However, the court will step in during the home inspection and ensure that any expense payment or gift is reasonable.
  • Foreign adoptions: Applicants may also adopt a child from another country, usually through an agency. There will be separate adoption proceedings in the child’s birth country and in Illinois.

One should expect that any procedure involving a child and their well-being will be complex and require thorough deliberation by the court. Prospective adoptive parents must ensure that they are ready to go through the measures set by the court for a smooth adoption process.

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