More than 110,000 adoptions took place in the United States in 2014, according to the National Council for Adoption. Making additions to your family is an exciting time, and many Americans are choosing to make those additions through adoption. The adoption process can be overwhelming, stressful and emotionally draining, with long waiting periods and mountains of paperwork. However, the process can be broken down into simple steps, all of which an experienced attorney can guide you through.
1. Choose an Adoption Provider
There are many different outlets through which you can adopt a child in the United States. The most common outlets are:
- Public agency adoptions: In these cases, children are usually adopted through the state foster care system. These children are often removed from their families due to a variety of reasons, including abuse or neglect. Public agencies generally arrange adoption matches through meetings with social workers, basing the match off of the needs of the child and the ability of the adopting family to meet those needs.
- Private agency adoptions: In this type of adoption, the child’s birth parents relinquish their parental rights to an adoption agency, and the adoptive parents work with the agency to adopt the child. Most adoptive parents that work with a private agency are looking to adopt an infant, which can be a lengthy process.
- Independent adoptions: Generally, independent adoptions occur when adoptive parents find the expectant mother on their own and go through the adoption process without the use of an agency, but often with the assistance of an adoption attorney.
2. Do a Home Study
No matter what type of adoption you choose, you will have to complete a home study, which involves a gathering of information about the parents and their home environment. The process can take months to complete, depending on the agency. Illinois state law requires parents to have lived in Illinois for at least six months prior to the adoption, and a social worker at a child welfare agency will look at the character, reputation, and general standing of the adoptive parents.
3. Complete the Placement Process
The placement process commences when the adoptive parents have completed the home study and begin to select the child they wish to adopt. This step in the adoption process will differ depending on which type of adoption provider you have chosen. For example, in public agency adoptions, you will probably look over information of multiple children available for adoption or attend adoption events or pre-placement visits.
4. File Legal Documents
All adoptions have to be finalized in court, and the appropriate forms must be properly filled out and filed. Usually, the child will have lived with the adoptive family before the adoption is finalized. The first form you will have to complete is the petition to adopt, which includes the adoptive parents’ names, their place of residence, the child’s name, date, and place of birth, and the person or agency who is relinquishing parental rights.
Seek Guidance from a DuPage County Adoption Lawyer
Growing your family through adoption is an exciting time, but it can also be stressful and emotionally demanding. With the help of a knowledgeable Wheaton adoption attorney, you can focus on what is important: the new addition to your family. Anderson & Associates, P.C. can help guide you through this process. Call 630-653-9400 to schedule a free consultation.