Adoption is a notoriously complex and time-intensive process. Adding to the challenges that the adoption process tends to inspire are the nuanced requirements associated with the seven primary kinds of adoption. It is therefore generally important to seek legal guidance as early as you can after deciding that you wish to adopt. A Lake Forest, IL adoption lawyer will be able to advise you of your options, advocate on your behalf, help you to successfully navigate required legal paperwork and generally provide informed support as you and your family move forward.
Before meeting with a Lake Forest, IL adoption lawyer, it can be beneficial to learn something about the various kinds of adoption that may be available to you. Each presents unique challenges and must be researched carefully over time. It is important to note that many adoptions are affected by the requirements of more than one “type” so it is generally a good idea to ask your attorney any questions you may have about how the overlap of specific adoption types may affect your process.
Open and Closed Adoptions
Traditionally, adoptions were closed affairs. Closed adoptions generally involved records that are sealed and no contact between the child that has been adopted and his or her biological parents. However, an increasing number of adoptions are legally considered open. This process allows for limited contact between biological parents and their children who have been adopted. Depending on your family’s needs and preferences, you may generally pursue either an open or closed adoption. It is worth noting that opting for closed adoption options only may somewhat limit your access to children navigating certain kinds of circumstances.
Agency and Independent Adoptions
An independent adoption is navigated without the assistance of an adoption agency. These adoptions are usually heavily regulated and may not be available in all states. In most cases, adoptive parents are required to work with a licensed private or public adoption agency.
Stepparent and Same-Sex Adoptions
Stepparent adoptions involve adopting the biological or adopted child of your spouse. These adoptions tend to be among the most straightforward available. The primary exception to this rule involves cases in which the child’s other biological or adopted parent (not the stepparent’s spouse) is not interested in giving up their parental rights. In these cases, such rights must be successfully contested or voluntarily terminated before a stepparent may proceed with the adoption. If you are interested in adopting a stepchild, please consult a Lake Forest, IL adoption lawyer before making any assumptions (for better or worse) about your situation, as these adoptions can be deceptively complex in some situations and very straightforward in others.
Same-sex adoptions involve parents who were either born into or currently identify as the same sex or gender. While society is increasingly accepting of parents who identify as every possible sex and gender, many state legislatures have yet to embrace diversity in this way. As a result, some same-sex adoptions are made more complicated by various state laws and restrictions. If this kind of adoption applies to your family, seeking an attorney’s guidance about potential obstacles in your path is generally a good idea.
International adoptions involve creating families in which the adopted child or children reside in a country other than the United States. This form of adoption varies greatly depending on the child’s country of origin. Some countries will not allow American parents to adopt their children, so it is important to speak with an attorney before committing to a specific plan of action. Once potential countries of origin have been identified, an attorney can explain how the requirements of those nations’ adoption processes vary.
Adoption Assistance Is Available
If you are interested in pursuing any kind of adoption, please consider scheduling a consultation with a Lake Forest, Illinois adoption lawyer. While some aspects of the adoption process do not necessarily require legal guidance, other steps in the process almost certainly do. Please consider seeking legal counsel with Hurst, Robin, Kay & Allen, LLC as early in your adoption journey as possible so that you can obtain the guidance necessary to make informed decisions and move forward with grounded expectations in mind.