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Naperville adoption lawyerAs soon as you have made the decision that you want to adopt a child, you are then tasked with determining which type of adoption you want to pursue. There are many types of adoptions, but the first decision you must make is whether you want to adopt a child domestically or internationally. There are certain unique aspects that come along with each type of adoption, creating benefits and drawbacks to each. Deciding between a domestic and international adoption dictates how you begin the adoption process and will determine the steps taken throughout your adoption journey. Here are a few considerations that you should keep in mind when deciding between an international and domestic adoption:

Communication With the Birth Family

In the United States, very few adoptions are "closed" nowadays. There is usually some degree of "openness" in domestic adoptions, and adoptive children will typically have some form of contact with one or both of their birth parents. In some cases, the birth mother may receive periodic updates on the child and their life. In others, the birth mother may spend holidays or other special occasions with the adoptive family.

In international adoptions, birth mothers are rarely in contact with their biological children once they have been adopted. Though it is not impossible to keep in touch, contact with the birth parents typically ends once the adoption process is finalized.

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Naperville open and closed adoption attorney

Adoption is defined as the act of legally taking on the responsibility of another person’s child and bringing the child up as your own. It can be a wonderful way to achieve your dream of becoming a parent if you are unable to have biological children. Increasing the size of your family comes with a long list of decision-making, and choosing to adopt is only the first step in the process. The prospective parents must then decide if they would like to conduct an independent adoption or find their child through an agency. Once this is decided, the prospective parents must consider the terms of each adoption, otherwise known as open or closed adoption.

Leave Things Open or Close Them Altogether?

Regardless of the means of adoption that you choose, you will have to consider the degree of “openness” that you would like your future child to have with his or her birth parents. Open adoptions allow some form of contact between the adopted child and his or her biological parents. This can include the simple exchange of information, direct contact before the finalization of the adoption, and/or the creation of post-placement contact agreements. Closed adoptions eliminate all forms of contact, keeping the biological parents' identities unknown to the child and the adoptive parents.

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Wheaton adoption lawyerIn the state of Illinois, all types of adoptions require that a home study be done at some point during the adoption process. It does not matter whether you adopt a child from a private agency or through the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) -- everyone who is a prospective adoptive parent must complete a home study. The home study process can be rather long, but it allows agencies to evaluate the prospective family’s capabilities and to determine whether they are suitable to adopt a child. The home study process also allows families time to become educated and prepare for adoption.

Home Study Components

While some people may think a home study is simply just a visit to their home from a social worker, it is actually much more involved. In fact, the home study process consists of a series of steps and requirements.

Background Check

One of the first steps in the home study process is completing and passing a background check. All adult members of the household are required to consent to a background check and must pass it for you to be eligible to adopt. If there are children between the ages of 13 and 17 living in the household, they must allow a check of the child abuse and neglect registry as well as the child sex offender registry.

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Naperville step-parent adoption lawyerThe most common form of adoption in Illinois is a related adoption, meaning the adoptive parent is related in some way to the child. Specifically, step-parent adoption is very common in the United States and in Illinois. Step-parent adoptions take place when either the child’s biological mother or father marries someone other than the child’s other biological parent and that person wants to assume legal rights and responsibility of the child. Often, step-parent adoptions take place because they allow for the formal declaration of a parent-child relationship between the step-parent and the child. In addition, the step-parent may pursue an adoption of the child because the child’s other biological parent is not involved in the child’s life.

Things You Should Know Before You Pursue Step-Parent Adoption

In certain ways, it can be a lot easier to adopt a child that is related to you than a child who is unrelated. Related adoptions go through a different process than unrelated adoptions, but related adoptions can still be difficult. 

Before you adopt a step-child, you should consider the following factors:

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