There are more than 15,000 children in the Illinois foster care system, with more than 2,000 of those in Cook County alone. Of those in care, many children could benefit from placement with a adoptive family.
There’s a monumental need for loving Illinois families to provide permanency for these waiting children. If you are considering adoption in Illinois, you could be one of those families. Foster care adoption, also called foster to adopt, is a beautiful family-building option. You could decide to foster to adopt in Illinois to either start or grow your family, and we can help you make it happen.
We are passionate about adoption. Through our work, Gillespie Law Group, LLC (formerly Genie Miller Gillespie, Attorney at Law) has supported families during the process and post-placement for more than 25 years. This is more than work for us. We believe in the beauty of adoption and we want to see you fulfill your dream of becoming parents. Contact us at any time to find out how we can be of service during your adoption.
There are a few things anyone considering foster care adoption in Illinois should know. In this guide, we’ll cover the most important steps of the process and provide you with practical steps to take toward a successful foster care adoption placement.
What is Foster Care Adoption?
There are several different ways for hopeful parents in the U.S. to adopt, and foster care adoption is one of the most common.
Foster care adoption can happen when a child who is in the foster care system becomes eligible for adoption. A family who is interested in adoption will typically work with the state’s Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to become a licensed foster care family. From this point, your process can go several ways. If you have identified a waiting child whose biological parents’ rights have already been terminated, you may complete a foster-to-adopt process where you are placed directly with this child. Or, a family will be placed with a child who could potentially need adoption later on. While there are many more steps to the DCFS Illinois adoption process, this is the general gist of it.
One potential drawback of foster care adoption is that there is no guarantee how long this placement will last. While it’s true that any type of adoption is subject to potential disruptions, foster care adoption can be especially prone to these. The system is somewhat unpredictable. This can happen after an emotional connection has been made, which makes it extremely difficult.
However, despite some of the cons of foster care adoption such as this, there are many more pros. Adopting a foster child is a way for you to fulfill your dreams of becoming a parent while also meeting the serious needs of a waiting child.
Why Aren’t All Children Available for Adoption?
The primary goal for nearly all children placed in foster care is reunification with their family of origin. A social worker will help the biological parent(s) create parameters for reunification — things like securing housing, gaining employment or completing rehab. If these are met, the child may leave the system and be reunited with family.
However, some parents fail to comply with the social worker’s requests or prove themselves unsafe guardians in other ways. When this happens, a judge may terminate the biological parents’ rights. A child becomes eligible for adoption — known as a “waiting child” — when this happens.
Signs Foster Care Adoption Could be Right for You
We’ve noticed that people drawn to foster care adoption tend to be generous, loving souls. While all types of adoption are important and provide loving homes to children, there is something unique to foster care adoption in the way it meets a pre-existing need. While there are many more families attempting to complete a domestic infant adoption than there are birth mothers choosing adoption, the opposite is true of waiting children and families in foster care. There are thousands more waiting children than there are families who are pursuing foster care adoption. Even if there is not a situation in the Illinois foster care system that works for your family, there are waiting children in many other state systems, and you could choose to pursue foster care adoption in those states.
If this tugs at your heart, and your dream of starting a family, then foster care adoption could be a perfect fit for you.
Additionally, many families are drawn to foster care adoption because it has a much lower cost than other types of adoption. Agency adoptions can cost tens of thousands of dollars. The only usual costs associated with foster care adoption are some attorney and home study fees and the typical expenditures of becoming a parent.
Legal Aspects of Foster Care Adoption
Foster care adoption is a legal process. From start to finish, there are requirements you need to meet, deadlines that must be adhered to and legal paperwork to be filed. If everything is not done by the book, it could come up at the finalization hearing and cause problems.
An adoption attorney is a safeguard against any disruptions. More than that, an experienced adoption attorney is the best way to secure peace of mind and confidence throughout the process.
We’ve been helping families complete their adoptions for more than 25 years. We know this process better than anyone, especially in our home state of Illinois. We have great relationships with the social workers and judges who will oversee your case. Additionally, we are well-versed in the Illinois adoption assistance subsidy. Gillespie Law Group, LLC has helped many clients negotiate and receive important financial assistance during foster care adoption in Illinois.
We’re prepared to advocate on your behalf. If anything unexpected should come up, it’s probably something we’ve seen before. Our experience puts you in a position to succeed.
We’re passionate about adoption, and we’d love to help you create a family through foster care adoption.
Contact Us Today
Are you interested in foster care adoption in Illinois? Do you have more questions before you are ready to commit? Either way, we’d love to talk. Give us a call today at 312-332-6339 to schedule a completely free consultation. Let’s work together to find the best way for you to fulfill your dreams of becoming parents.