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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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Illinois Courts Cannot Discriminate Against Parents for Legal Marijuana UseA child’s safety with a parent is one of the factors that a family court will consider when allocating parental responsibilities during a divorce or separation. The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services will also consider this when determining whether to let someone adopt a child or become their legal guardian. Illegal drug use in the home is a red flag that a parent may be irresponsible and creating a dangerous environment for a child. However, some of the assumptions on drug use will change starting in 2020, when Illinois officially legalizes the recreational use of marijuana.

No Discrimination Against Legal Users

The "Illinois Cannabis and Tax Act" includes a section that is titled “Discrimination prohibited.” The section states that the lawful use of marijuana under this act cannot be the “sole or primary basis or supporting basis” for limiting someone’s rights as a parent or right to adopt or become a guardian of a child. This means a court cannot reduce your parenting time or decision making responsibilities based on your co-parent complaining that you use recreational marijuana, as long as you use it in a legal and responsible manner. Likewise, the Illinois DCFS cannot cite your legal marijuana use as a reason for denying your adoption request.

Irresponsible Use

As with other legal drugs, marijuana use will still impact your parental fitness if you are irresponsible with it. A court may decide that your marijuana use is a danger to your children if:

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Adoption Preferred When Voluntarily Terminating Parental RightsTerminating a parent’s rights is not a decision that Illinois courts reach easily or without a compelling reason. A court may restrict a parent’s right to see a child if that parent is unfit or a threat. A disinterested parent can waive his or her right to parenting time and decision-making. However, it is rare for a court to grant a request to voluntarily terminate parental rights – even if both parents agree to it – unless there is another adult willing to adopt the child.

Why Voluntary Termination Is Rarely Granted

The legal parents of a child have both rights and responsibilities that cannot be surrendered or taken away without court approval. Child support is a vital financial responsibility that a court cannot eliminate unless it is terminating someone’s legal status as a parent. If it was easy for parents to voluntarily terminate their rights, some would do so in order to avoid continued child support payments. Instead, Illinois believes that it is in the best interest of a child to have two parents to financially support him or her.

Adoption

A court is more likely to grant a request to terminate parental rights in cases of adoption. The adoptive parent, such as a new spouse, agrees to take on the financial responsibility for the child, which satisfies one of the court’s largest concerns about terminating parental rights. However, the court will not terminate a parent’s rights against his or her wishes. Either the parent must willingly surrender his or her parental rights or the state can petition to terminate a parent’s rights by proving that he or she is unfit in ways such as:

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Reactions to Infertility Can Lead to DivorceLearning that you or your partner is infertile can be one of the most difficult challenges a marriage will face. Your feelings may be similar to how you would react to a death: grief, denial, anger, depression and acceptance. In a way, you are mourning the loss of a biological child you and your partner will never share. Amid the grief and seeking alternative means to have children, it is easy to miss signs that your marriage is in trouble. Infertility can bring a couple closer together but can also cause a division that leads to divorce.

Emotional Reaction

Both people in a marriage may feel shock and sadness at the news that one of them is infertile. The infertile spouse often feels guilty and inadequate, especially in the case of women. The other spouse may feel disappointed and uncertain of the future if having children is one of his or her goals in life. Negative emotions can cause couples to react in unhealthy ways, such as:

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Planning for Standby Adoption After DeathThe most common adoption cases typically involve an adult becoming the legal parent of a child after the biological parents consent to giving up their parental rights. Illinois is one of the few states to include standby adoption as a legal option. Standby adoption allows parents to decide who the adoptive parents of their children will be in case of their deaths. The rights and responsibilities of parents in a standby adoption are the same as those in other forms of adoption in Illinois, but the process must be planned in advance.

How It Works

Standby adoption may be established as part of an estate plan or when a parent has a terminal illness. The parents must fill out a consent form that:

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