What Common Knowledge Gets Wrong About Adoptions
Many people longing to be parents never even begin the adoption process because of fear that they may not qualify. Unfortunately, by counting themselves out too soon, they wind up depriving themselves of a chance to become a parent as well as depriving a child from having a good home.
Adoption establishes you as a child’s legal parent, with the same rights and responsibilities as having a natural child. The process of adoption is complex, involving providing medical history, character references, and having your background checked. Still, most people can go through the process successfully and wind up with a child.
Choices for adoption vary, as do methods and expenses, so it pays to have the help of an experienced family law attorney to guide you through the process.
The seasoned and compassionate Illinois adoption and family law attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, believe that everyone should have a fair chance at adopting and will do everything possible to smooth the process. We offer a free consultation, so contact us today at our office or online.
Reasons for Hesitation
The following are some reasons that people considering adoption are reluctant to apply:
People who have put off adopting for various reasons may get to the point where they feel they are too old to be approved. However, except for extreme situations — such as a 70-year-old wanting to adopt an infant — most agencies willingly consider older parents. Their main concern is whether a prospective parent can meet a child’s present and future needs.
Age is just one factor that will be considered as part of a pre-adoption home study evaluation, along with an applicant’s health, mobility and financial stability; and age can actually work in a parent’s favor — if the child being considered is older or a teenager, for example.
Single individuals often worry that their status will keep them from being allowed to adopt. While some agencies might consider marital status, single parents who offer a good and stable home still may adopt successfully.
The same goes for individuals who are in same-sex relationships. Illinois law permits adoption regardless of your sexual orientation. As with traditional couples, a home study will need to be performed and an adoption petition must be filed with the court. If you are married or in a civil union, you must jointly petition the court for adoption. Both parents will be listed on the child’s new birth certificate.
Under the Illinois Parentage Act, it is presumed that both spouses are parents of a child born into a marriage or civil union. However, it’s advisable that the non-biological parent should adopt the child (second-parent adoption), because other states and countries may not recognize the non-biological parent. Adoption is also advised if you use surrogacy or other reproductive technology.
Disability or illness
Parents with health or disability issues may still be considered for adoption. Agencies focus more on what kind of life can be provided for the child and how attentive a parent can be, even with a disability present. In situations such as adopting a child who is in a wheelchair, it might even be preferable for a parent to have a disability that results in having a house already equipped for a wheelchair and a parent who understands the child’s needs.
Adoptive parents do have to undergo a physical examination to determine future risk of additional health problems, but as long as these do not impact on the ability to parent in the future, adoptions can still be successful.
Adoption can be expensive, but there are options to make it less so. Adopting a U.S. newborn through an agency in 2014 and 2015 cost an average of $41,532, but parents who adopted through foster care paid an average of $2,811. Fees for adoption agencies in Illinois usually vary between approximately $10,000 and $35,000, which can go up if there are legal challenges to an adoption.
If you adopt through the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, you pay no adoption fee, but there are costs such as legal fees, cost of foster care, clothing and food, and salaries for DCFS and Court staff. Adoptive parents have to provide financial statements to make sure they can afford basic costs such as child care, food and clothing. Often, parents adopting through the state system receive monthly subsidies until the child is 18. Children are usually available through DCFS because the rights of their legal or genetic parents have been involuntarily terminated. In 2016, 1,612 children were adopted through DCFS.
Contact Us For Help and Guidance
Adoption is a life-long commitment, and it can stir up many fears and emotions, not to mention the difficulties of forms and procedures. Fortunately, there is help available, and you may find comfort in knowing a lawyer is on your side. The seasoned Illinois adoption attorneys at Wolfe & Stec handle all adoption and family law cases with sensitivity, respect, and discretion.
At Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., we made our reputation one client at a time. We always focus on our client’s needs and feelings, and we work to resolve the issues they are facing in the most effective and efficient manner, putting every ounce of our ability into every case. Our lawyers take the time to understand your goals and concerns and then develop a legal strategy designed to achieve those objectives.
With office locations in Woodridge and Chicago, we represent clients throughout the entire Chicagoland area. We offer a free consultation, so call our DuPage County family law attorneys today, or contact our team online.