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How to Adopt in Illinois

Whether you are hoping to add to your family or are considering an adoption plan for your baby, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about adoption in the Land of Lincoln. Below, find Illinois adoption and foster care resources, agencies and information about how to adopt in Chicago, Rockford, Naperville and beyond.

Laws, Rules and Qualifications for Adopting a Child in Illinois

Every state has adoption laws regulating many aspects of the adoption process, from who can adopt to allowable adoption expenses. The following guidelines provide information on basic laws and guidelines for adopting in Illinois.

What are the laws and qualifications for adopting a child in Illinois?

The following parties may adopt if they have no disability and have been a resident for at least 6 months (or is in the armed forces and domiciled in the state for 90 days):
  • A reputable adult
  • A husband and wife jointly
  • A minor with leave of the court

What adoption expenses can be paid by adoptive families in Illinois?

The following expenses are permitted in reasonable amounts as determined by the court:
  • Medical fees and hospital charges related to the adoption, if the payment is made to the physician or the hospital
  • Gifts not exceeding $200 in value
  • Living expenses such as lodging, food, clothing for 120 days before and 60 days after the birth (only if approved by the court)
  • Attorney fees not exceeding $1,000

What are the laws to become a foster parent in Illinois?

In order to be a foster parent in Illinois, you must:
  • Pass a criminal and fingerprint-based background check
  • Pass a home inspection
  • Submit a physical and other medical information
  • Attend 27 hours of training

What are the requirements to finalize an international adoption in Illinois?

If an international adoption is finalized in the child’s birth country, the state of Illinois will recognize a complete and valid order of adoption, and not further preadoption measures will be necessary. A post-placement assessment will be conducted to ensure that the standards of the Child Care Act of 1969, the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, and the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 have been adhered to. If you would like to apply for a U.S. birth certificate for purposes of changing your child’s name, you may do so through the State Registrar of Vital Records. To do this, you must submit:
  • Evidence of the child’s birth date and birthplace on the original birth certificate or a copy
  • A certified copy or translation of the adoption decree
  • A copy of the IR-3 visa
  • The name and address of the adoption agency that conducted the adoption

Is it legal to use advertising or facilitators to adopt in Illinois?

Illinois law describes “advertisement” as “communication by any public medium originating or distributed in this State, including, but not limited to, newspapers, periodicals, telephone book listings, outdoor advertising signs, radio, or television.” A licensed or permitted childcare facility or agency may distribute advertisements for adoption services. A birth parent, adoptive parent acting on his or her own behalf, and a licensed adoption attorney may also distribute adoption-related advertising. Only child welfare agencies are permitted to provide adoption services, including the facilitation of adoption.

Laws, Rules and Qualifications for Placing a Baby for Adoption in Illinois

As an expectant mother considering adoption in Illinois, you may have questions about the rules and regulations of placing a child for adoption in your state. This section provides information about the laws that protect your rights throughout the adoption process.

When and how can birth parents consent to the adoption?

In Illinois, a birth mother cannot consent to an adoption less than 72 hours after the child’s birth. The birth father may give his consent at any time. Consent will be executed in writing. Consent may be taken by an agency representative; in a direct placement, it must be acknowledged in court unless the court waived the requirement. If the consenting party is in the military service, then consent may be executed before a commissioned officer.

Who must consent to the adoption?

The following parties must consent to adoption when applicable:
  • The mother
  • The child, if over the age of 14
  • The father, if:
    • He was married to the mother within 300 days before the birth of the child
    • He is the father by adoption, an order of parentage, or acknowledgement of paternity
    • He lived with the child, the mother, or both and upheld parental responsibilities during the first 30 days of the child’s life
    • He made an effort to pay a reasonable amount of birth-related expenses or other financial support
    • He has maintained contact with the child
    • He has registered in a timely fashion with the Putative Father Registry
  • The legal guardian of a child with no surviving parents
  • Any agency or person having legal custody of the child
When does the birth parents’ consent become irrevocable? If a birth parent revokes consent, is the child automatically returned to the birth parent? An action to revoke consent may be made within 12 months of the date it was given. Consent will only be revoked if it was obtained under fraud or duress. If a father consents before the birth, he may revoke consent within 72 hours of the birth.

What rights does the father of the baby have in Illinois adoptions?

A man is presumed to be the natural father of a child if:
  • He and the child’s mother are married or were married at the time of the child’s conception
  • The father and the mother married each other after the baby was born and he consented to be named the child’s father on the birth certificate
  • He and the mother have signed an acknowledgment of paternity
The Department of Children and Family Services has a Putative Father Registry in order to notify a putative father of an adoption plan. A putative father may register no later than 30 days after the birth of the child. If a man is not registered, he will not retain parental rights unless:
  • It was not possible for him to register in the correct timeframe
  • His failure to register was not his fault
  • He registered within 10 days after it became possible to file
Speak to your adoption professional about any specific questions you have regarding the birth father.

Home Study and Post-Placement Requirements in Illinois

Before an adoption or foster care placement can be made in Arkansas, the prospective parents must complete an approved home study. The home study assesses parents’ ability to provide a stable, nurturing home to a child. Below, find more information about what to expect throughout the Illinois home study process.

What is included in the Illinois home study process?

In the Illinois, the home study provider will assess the following qualities:
  • The character, reputation, health, and standing of the parents
  • Religious affiliation
  • Whether the parents are fit to adopt
The process will also include a fingerprint-based criminal background check no more than 2 years old.

Who is included in the home study process?

The adoptive parents and any adult members of the household will be studied. Household members between the ages of 13 and 17 must also receive a child abuse background check.

Who will conduct the home study?

In Illinois, home studies may be conducted by agencies approved by the Department of Children and Family Services or a licensed individual.

On what grounds will the home study not be approved in Illinois?

Approval may be withheld if a background check reveals a felony conviction for child abuse or neglect, spousal abuse, a crime against children, or a violent crime. A felony conviction for physical assault, battery, or drug-related offense within 5 years is also grounds for approval.

When should the home study be completed? When must the home study be renewed?

A home study must be completed within 10 days after the filing of a petition for adoption. Illinois law does not state when a home study must be renewed.

What is a post-placement study in the adoption process? What are the post-placement study requirements for Illinois?

A post-placement study is a series of assessments conducted after placement to ensure that the family and the baby are adjusting well. In Illinois, the post-placement study is conducted for the purpose of:
  • Continuing the activities around the preparation of the child for adoption
  • Ensuring the wellbeing of the child
  • Ensuring the child adapts well to the home
  • Providing support for the adoptive family
  • Facilitating the adoption finalization
Your post-placement study provider will also provide you with the information you need to finalize your adoption.

What are the home study requirements for stepparent or relative adoptions in Illinois?

A home study will not be required if the parent is seeking to adopt a relative. The residence requirement will also be waived.

What are the home study requirements to adopt a child from another state?

All out-of-state adoptions are subject to the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC). The child will not be able to travel to or from Illinois until public officials have notified the sending agency that the placement is not contrary to the best interests of the child.

What are the requirements to adopt a child that is currently in my care?

Any adult who has cared for a child for one whole year may apply to adopt the child. The final decision will be determined based on:
  • The wishes of the child
  • The relationship between the applicant and the child
  • The child’s individual needs
  • The wishes of the child’s parent expressed in writing
  • The child’s adjustment to his or her present living circumstances
  • The mental and physical health of all parties
  • The background information of the applicant
  • Family relationships between the child and relatives
  • Criminal background check reports
The decision to place a child with a foster parent will be made at the discretion of the court. To get started on your home study, contact one of your state-licensed home study providers:
  • ABC Counseling and Family Services 309-451-9495 ext. 108 A licensed, not-for-profit agency, ABC Counseling and Family services offers home study services as well as counseling for adoptive parents anywhere in the state.
  • Mary’s Services 847-870-8181 With over 100 years of experience, St. Mary’s has helped countless couples complete their home studies and post-placement assessments.
  • Madison Adoption Associates 1-302-475-8977 MAA is licensed in several states to complete home studies, and you do not have to be working with their agency to use their home study services.
Visit 1800HomeStudy.com to learn more about Illinois home study providers.

Illinois Adoption Professionals

Your adoption professional will provide you with the services you need to complete your adoption. The type of adoption professional you choose will depend on your needs. Here, you can find a list of state-licensed adoption agencies:

Things to do in Illinois

Whether you’re in Illinois to visit a birth mother or wait for ICPC clearance, there are many attractions to see while you are in the state. Here are just a few of the places to stop by during your trip:
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