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Adopting a child is one of the most rewarding things a couple can do. Not only are couples able to experience the joy and wonder of having a child, but they also giving a child in need a loving home. There are many different types of adoption available to Illinois residents. Some choose to adopt internationally while others seek a local adoption. Some choose to use an agency and others seek an independent adoption. Independent adoption, or private adoption, involves a direct arrangement between birth parents and adoptive parents. As with all types of adoption, independent adoption has its own advantages and challenges.
An independent adoption was portrayed in the 2007 movie Juno. In the film, a young girl gets pregnant unexpectedly and realizes that she is not capable of adequately caring for the baby. She finds a couple who is not able to conceive children, and she begins to arrange for them to adopt her child. This type of adoption process puts the control in the hands of the expectant mother and adoptive couple. They have the time to get to know ach other on a personal level.
When families decide to adopt a child, many will find reasons not to adopt those who are disabled or have other challenges, including the high cost of care that may be required for those with specific conditions. However, the state of Illinois, along with many other states, may offer some assistance. Not every case will qualify, but it is possible, especially with a good attorney, to be approved for adoption subsidies.
Federal and State Programs
Both the federal government and the individual states offer subsidies when adopting children with what the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) refers to as “special needs” (not to be confused with the alternate term for “disabled”). In order to qualify for either state or federal programs, a child must have at least one of the following characteristics:
In Illinois, adoptions historically were completed in the traditional “closed” style. However, more and more people are choosing to have “open” adoptions in this day and age—and for a variety of reasons. While the processes for both types are fairly similar in terms of legalities, there are enough differences that it is important to make your choice before going through with the adoption.
Traditional adoptions in Illinois were almost always closed. This means that they were completed with no way for the child or adoptive parents to contact the birth parents at any time. This was once thought to be the most healthy way for a child and a couple to move on with their lives. It also helped cement the adoptive parents in the child’s life without interference from the birth parents.
In an overwhelming majority of cases, an adoption is a celebrated and joyous event that leads to the growth of a family. Sometimes, however, that joy does not last. If the unthinkable happens and the adoption does not work out, there are ways to ensure that everyone’s rights are protected.
It is possible in Illinois to vacate or reverse an adoption, but there is a strict protocol for doing so, and definitive proof of why a reversal is required. Usually, it is the birth parents who attempt to have an adoption vacated, and they usually attempt to do so by claiming that something inappropriate or unconscionable occurred. Some common reasons cited for trying to reverse an adoption include:
Sometimes, adoptions are able to remain in the family. If a parent wants to surrender his or her parental rights, it is becoming more and more common for family members to adopt nieces, nephews or other children of relatives, instead of going through the entire foster process. The process is much the same as it would be in adopting an unrelated child, but there are feelings and relationships that must be considered where such things might not exist in an adoption involving strangers.
The Issue of Parental Rights
What many prospective parents forget is that both parents must consent to abrogation of their parental rights, not just one. Even if the biological mother or father is not involved in their children’s lives, they must voluntarily surrender their parental rights in order for the adoption to go forward, or they must be shown to be unreachable. Illinois law states that a parent abrogates parental rights if they cannot be located after appropriate due diligence, including publication in newspapers and other methods.