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Are All Adoptions Final?

Posted on in Adoption

adoption disruption, Illinois adoption lawyer, Illinois family law attorneyA recent report discussed whether adoptions can be dissolved and why some adoptive parents might want to relinquish responsibility for their adopted child. This is a sensitive issue, and while an Illinois adoption can be vacated under limited circumstances, these situations are unique to the individuals involved and generally should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

For example, a recent case in New York involves a couple that adopted two Russian-born children. The couple claims that the children were described as “healthy and socially well-adjusted” when they were adopted, but that the children have since threatened to kill their adoptive parents. The children are now being housed in state mental-health facilities, and the couple is asking the local court to vacate the adoption.

Wrongful Adoption Torts

Adoptive parents have also filed civil suits seeking financial remuneration against adoption agencies for withholding information or knowingly giving false or misleading information. The report cites two Illinois examples. The first involved three sets of adoptive parents who were defrauded by the Catholic Charities of Springfield. The second was a wrongful adoption tort case that arose in Evanston, Illinois, when the adoptive parents were unaware of the birth mother’s mental health history. Their adopted daughter required special needs care, and they sued the agency because they did not know the mother’s history when they signed the adoption papers. (The case was resolved in a settlement agreement.)

When prospective parents adopt through an agency, Illinois law requires the agency to disclose the known medical and mental health histories of the child and his birth parents (but they generally cannot identify who the birth parents are). The history must include information regarding:

  • Hereditary conditions and diseases;
  • Drugs or medications taken by the child’s birth mother during the pregnancy;
  • Psychological and psychiatric information; and
  • Any other information that may affect the child’s present or future health.

Vacating an Adoption or Adoption Disruption

It is uncommon for a court to vacate an adoption unless it determines that this is in the child’s best interests. If the parents are simply tired of caring for the child, a court will typically not grant a petition for adoption reversal. There must be extraordinary circumstances involved. Illinois law strives to avoid adopted parents making such requests in the first place. The state would rather deny an adoption initially than to uproot an adopted child.

In fact, the state would rather disrupt a placement with prospective adoptive parents if the situation is not in the child’s best interests. Sometimes a child is placed with prospective parents before the adoption has been finalized. If this placement is not successful, the child will be removed and the adoption will not go through. This is called adoption disruption. While not ideal, it is better than finalizing the adoption if the placement is not in the child’s best interests.

If you are a prospective adoptive parent, we recommend contacting one our experienced St. Charles family law attorneys. Adoption is often a long and complicated process that you do not have to handle alone. Contact us today for a free consultation.
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