Parents are responsible for meeting children’s needs, including food, clothing, housing, education, health care and dental care. The children also need to be cared for, protected and reasonably disciplined. When parents cannot meet the children’s needs and there is no prospect of them being able to do so in the near future, their parental rights may be terminated and adoption allowed.
There are several different scenarios for adoption.
The one most people think of when they think of adoption is Infant Adoption. The County Division Judge needs to make sure the requirements of the law have been followed and that the birth-parent(s) have agreed to terminate their parental rights. Different procedures will be followed depending on whether it is a private placement, a related adoption, an unrelated adoption, or an agency placement.
Adoption of Older Children
Parents who adopt internationally need to re-adopt in this country if they want to have a U.S. birth certificate.
The procedures for adopting older children differ based on whether they are related to the child or not. Once a child is 14, they cannot be adopted without their consent. If the child has been in Foster Care under DCFS, adoptive parents can continue receiving the same financial assistance they received as a foster parent.
Step-Parent Adoption is considered to be a Related Adoption but many of the requirements are the same as for an Unrelated Adoption. A stepparent who is the partner of the biological parent of a child is allowed by law to apply to adopt their partner’s children/child. If the biological parent’s rights have been terminated, their input is not required. If the biological parent consents to the adoption, their parental rights are terminated and they are no longer required to pay support. If the biological parent will not consent to the adoption, the birth parent has to be proven unfit for the adoption to go through, since unfitness will allow their parental rights to be terminated. The law contains requirements that must be met to prove a parent unfit and the burden of proof is on the adopting parent.
Adults can be adopted with less difficulty, but there are still procedures to be followed. The person being adopted must have resided with the adoptive parent for a period of two years and must sign a Consent to Adoption. This kind of adoption usually occurs for the benefit of the one being adopted such as insuring inheritance.
Call us today with your questions at (312) 558-9100.