Adoption can provide many benefits for families, and it can also allow parents to care for a new child or enable stepparents to have legal care of their stepchildren. This process should be a joyful one for parents and children. Unfortunately, it can also be very complex and stressful. Working with a Bloomington adoption attorney can help you focus on the joys of expanding your family while giving you the legal support and confidence you need during the process.

It can be helpful to understand the state’s requirements for adoption and how those requirements change when you are a stepparent.

What Is Required to Adopt in Bloomington?

If you are looking to adopt in Illinois, you must meet the following requirements:

  1. You have a good reputation within your community.
  2. You are of age, or the court has found good cause for you to adopt despite being under 18.
  3. You have no legal disability unless that disability is legal blindness. Then, you cannot be prevented from adopting solely because of your blindness.
  4. You have lived in the state for at least six months prior to beginning the adoption process or at least 90 days as a member of the armed forces on active duty in the state. This requirement does not apply when you are a legal or biological relative of the child being adopted.

If you are married or are in a civil legal union, your spouse or partner must also be a part of this petition and meet the same requirements. A spouse or partner is not required to be part of the petition if you and your spouse or partner have been living separately for 12 months or longer. They are also not required to join the petition if an adult is being adopted and the petitioner used to be a stepparent of the adult being adopted.

Single individuals can also adopt. The individual or couple adopting a child must live in the home that the child will also be living in. The foster care system has parental training requirements, background checks, and other expectations for parents who are adopting. Private agencies have varying requirements. Public and private agencies want to ensure that all adoptions are in the interest of the children involved.

Who Can Be Adopted?

Any child can be adopted regardless of their age, although children 14 years or older must consent to the adoption for it to be completed. Adults can also be adopted if they are related to the person adopting them or have lived with the individual planning to adopt them for more than two years prior to the filing for adoption. Adopted individuals can have one biological and one adoptive parent or two adoptive parents.

Types of Adoption

Adoptions are categorized by several factors, including whether the adoption is managed through an agency or not and whether the child and adopting individual are related or not. Some types of adoption include:

  1. Related Adoptions: Also called stepparent adoptions, these usually involve stepparents and stepchildren. They may also include adoptions by a child’s grandparents, aunts, or uncles.
  2. Agency Adoptions: These include both private agency and governmental agency adoptions. Private agencies handle both domestic and international adoptions in some cases. Children in these agencies may have been placed there for adoption, or the state terminated their biological parent’s parental rights.
  3. Non-Agency Adoptions: These independent adoptions can occur through agreements between biological parents and the adopting parties.
  4. Adult Adoptions: An adult can adopt another adult in certain circumstances, such as when they are related or have lived together for a period of time. They always require the consent of the adopted individual.

It can be easier to navigate any adoption process with the aid of a skilled family law attorney.


Q: What Are the Rules for Adoption in Illinois?

A: To adopt in Illinois, an individual must have lived in the state for six months, have a good reputation, and not have a legal disability. In most cases, the individual must also be 18 or older, although the court may allow exceptions. Unmarried individuals can adopt, and married couples can adopt. Any child can be adopted, and adults can be adopted in some circumstances.

Adoptions can take place in the foster system or through a private agency. Private agencies may have their own unique rules for adoption.

Q: How Much Does It Cost to Adopt a Child in Illinois?

A: The cost of adopting a child in Illinois depends on the agency or other method that you use to adopt. Adopting a child from foster care is free, although there are, of course, significant expenses involved with raising a child. Private adoption agencies have much higher costs of adoption, which may cover various expenses, from travel fees to medical bills. Each private agency is likely to have its own range of costs.

Different types of adoption have different costs as well. International adoptions are much more expensive than domestic adoptions.

Q: What Will Disqualify You From Adopting a Child in Illinois?

A: You could be disqualified from adopting a child in Illinois for many reasons, although your unique circumstances are important. If you are adopting through foster care, the state conducts background checks and residency inspections. Grounds for potential disqualification could include violent, drug, or domestic abuse felonies, along with any conviction of a crime against children. The more recent a conviction is, the more likely it will affect a petition for adoption.

Private adoption agencies have their own unique requirements, and they may disqualify you from adoption for any reason they state.

Q: Is It Hard to Adopt in Illinois?

A: There are several requirements to adopt a child, including classes, background checks, and home inspections, and it can be hard to meet these. It is even harder for single individuals looking to adopt. The exact requirement depends on your adoption method. Foster care adoption requires mandatory parenting training, which can take six to 12 weeks. The entire adoption process can take several months to a year or longer, depending on the type of adoption.

Supporting Your Family During an Adoption

An attorney can provide essential support during the adoption process, including helping you determine the right method of adoption, explaining the legal requirements of adoption, helping you prepare your application, and protecting your rights. If any complications arise during the adoption process, your attorney can aid you. At Stange Law Firm, we understand that this process can be stressful, and we want to help you focus on the joys of adoption. Contact our team today to learn how we can assist you with your adoption needs.