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St. Charles IL adoption lawyerChoosing to adopt a child is a truly life-changing decision for all involved, and in order to ensure it goes successfully, it is important that you have an attorney who understands what is at stake. The adoption process can be very complex, even for legal professionals, and there are certain questions that you should ask in order to ensure you get a knowledgeable attorney who is equipped to handle it.

#1: What Is Your Background in Adoption Law

This is perhaps the most important question to ask. The process can be complicated for anyone, even those with experience, especially for certain types of adoption that may require you and your attorney to work with an international agency or biological parents who seek to contest the adoption. These challenges can be significant roadblocks for an inexperienced attorney.

#2: What Types of Adoption Do You Handle?

There are multiple types of adoptions, including related, private, open, agency-assisted, and others. Some attorneys prefer not to work with adoption agencies, and others may not handle adoptions from specific countries. It is important to ask about this upfront, so that you know whether the attorney will be able to handle your case..

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St. Charles Adoption LawyerIn recent years, the number of Americans who have gotten remarried after getting divorced has increased quite dramatically. The Pew Research Center reports that 40 percent of new marriages in 2013 included at least one spouse who had previously been married before. Having children from a previous marriage is not out of the ordinary, and blended families have become common in American society. In some blended families, the non-biological parent may want to legally adopt their spouse’s children. This is called a related adoption or, more specifically, a stepparent adoption.

Understanding a Stepparent Adoption

There are many reasons why a person might want to adopt their spouse’s child. For some families, the bond between the stepparent and the children is so strong, the idea of legalizing the relationship is almost a given. In other cases, a stepparent adoption is motivated by affording the children inheritance rights and other benefits.

Regardless of your reasons, there are a few things you should understand about stepparent adoptions before you start the process:

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Is an Open Adoption the Right Choice for Me and My Family?Adoption is a great option for many people who are thinking about a new addition to the family. There are many different types of adoption, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. In many cases, when a child is adopted from an agency or directly from another person, the parents can choose whether the adoption will be open or closed. According to the Donaldson Adoption Institute, most (around 95 percent) adoptions in the U.S. now involve some degree of openness. The choice to pursue an open adoption is a personal one, but it can provide benefits to both the child and the birth parents.

What Is an Open Adoption?

There are actually a couple of different meanings to the term “open adoption,” depending on who you ask, and there are varying degrees to open adoption. Some adoptions are fully disclosed, meaning the birth parents will have direct contact with the adoptive family and child both before and after the child’s birth. Other adoptions are mediated, meaning the adoptive parents and the birth parents have contact through a caseworker or another third party by sending letters and pictures.

In an open adoption, the birth mother typically takes part in the selection process, helping choose the adoptive parents who will raise the child. Children also typically know that they are adopted when open adoptions are conducted. Following the completion of the adoption, the child may continue to have contact or an ongoing relationship with one or both of the birth parents. The parties may create an adoption agreement defining how often the child will see the birth mother, what forms of communication will be used, and other important considerations.

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What You Need to Know About Adoption in IllinoisMany Illinois couples choose adoption for a variety of reasons: growing a family, infertility, giving a permanent home for a child in need, providing a sibling for an existing child, etc.  Familiarizing prospective parents with the Illinois Adoption Act is a wonderful way to communicate the adoption process and outlines the various laws that protect adoptive families and children. These laws also outline the adoption types available.

Basic Requirements for Adoptive Parents

There are certain requirements in place that all prospective parents must meet before adopting a child. These are put into effect for the child’s safety. The requirements include:

  • Being 21 years old or older
  • Having the financial ability to support the child
  • Having no criminal history (especially violence involving children)

Talk with an attorney if a criminal history may affect your adoption application because having a history may not immediately disqualify you.

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Answering Common Questions About an Adoption Home StudyOne of the requirements for anyone in the U.S. who wishes to adopt a child is to participate in a home study. The purpose of a home study is to evaluate the home environment that the adopted child would be joining and to educate the prospective parents about raising an adopted child. If you are adopting by using a public child welfare agency, the study helps the agency match you with a child. You may have questions about how a home study is conducted and whether it will be a major obstacle to your plans to adopt. The following answers can help you prepare for a home study:

  1. What Happens During a Home Study?: Most home studies include multiple interviews with a social worker, a visit to your home, a background check, and orientation to prepare you for adoption. How your home study is conducted depends on the service you use and the type of adoption you are pursuing. For instance, additional training may be required if you are adopting a child from a foreign country.
  2. What Are They Looking for in the Home Study?: The study is evaluating whether you will be able to provide a good home for the child you wish to adopt. Much of the evaluation will be about your capability as parents, such as your income, health, beliefs, social life, and parenting style if you already have a child. They will also consider your home environment, support system, and neighborhood you are living in.
  3. How Long Does a Home Study Take?: On average, a home study takes three-to-six months, but there are many variables that will determine how long your study takes. One of the variables that you can control is how quickly you are able to provide the personal records that the study requires.
  4. How Much Does a Home Study Cost?: Once again, the cost of your home study will depend upon the service you use and the type of adoption you are pursuing. If you are using a public adoption service, the study could be free or cost a minimal fee. If you are using a private adoption agency, the study could cost thousands of dollars.

Contact a St. Charles, Illinois, Adoption Lawyer

Adoption is a long process that involves a lot of paperwork that may seem confusing or overwhelming. You need to work with a Kane County adoption attorney at Goostree Law Group, who has the experience to guide you through the process. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-584-4800.

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