Each year in the United States, more than 120,000 children are adopted into loving and stable homes that they may not have had otherwise. Adopting a child is a joyous and meaningful endeavor, but it can also be a complicated and, at times, frustrating experience.
Illinois law states that any reputable person age 21 or older can adopt a child if they have been a resident for at least six months. The residency requirement may be waived in the adoption of a relative, and the age requirement can also be waived in certain circumstances.
Tips for a successful adoption strategy
Adoption is a lifelong commitment that will change your family structure forever. While weighing the rewards as well as the challenges, here are a few ideas and misconceptions to consider:
- Don’t take the decision lightly: Learn about the process and the impact on your life. Ask yourself why you want to adopt, how will a new member affect others in the family, and is my home emotionally and financially stable to support a new child?
- Adoption isn’t just for traditional families: The notion that a family must include both a husband and a wife are gone. A Pew Research Center study shows the structure of the American family is changing as fewer than half of all children in the U.S. are in traditional families.
- Understand the cost: Private and international adoptions can run several thousand dollars up to $40,000 while adopting a child through foster care can cost little or nothing, and adoptions can happen within months of becoming foster parents.
- Not every biological parent who gives up a child is unfit: Birth mothers have many reasons for placing the care of their child in someone else’s hands. Some are too young for the responsibility while others live in difficult situations and decide to put their child up for adoption out of love.
- Be patient and persevere: The adoption process can be complicated and lengthy depending upon whether you adopt a child domestically, internationally or through the foster care system. Be prepared for a roller coaster of emotions.
Seek knowledgeable legal advice when considering adoption
Adopting a child brings life-changing joy to thousands of children and families each year. However, the process can be stressful and confusing at times. An experienced family law attorney here in Illinois will work with you in a compassionate and caring way to deal with all of the legal issues and complications that can occur.