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Understanding Illinois’ LGBTQ+ Adoption Laws

Since 1995, the state of Illinois has recognized the right of LGBTQ+ singles and same-sex couples to adopt just like all other Illinois residents. Under Illinois law, adoption decisions are based primarily on whether the adoption is within the “best interests of the child”. Illinois has been a leader in providing fair and equal rights to the LGBTQ+ community, and its laws on adoption are no different. In fact, Illinois not only allows single LGBTQ+ individuals, as well as same-sex couples, to adopt, the state also allows same-sex partners to engage in second-parent adoptions.

The Different Types of Adoption

The adoption of a child can be carried out via four different paths:

  • First, both domestic and international adoptions can be facilitated by an adoption agency located within Illinois or another U.S. state.
  • Second, you can work with an LGBTQ+ attorney like JRQ & Associates, in order to commence a closed, private adoption.
  • Third, you can first become a licensed foster parent, and subsequently have this placement converted into adoption after providing long-term foster care to a child who was removed from their parent(s) care due to dependence, abuse, or neglect.
  • Fourth, as is often the case with same-sex couples, a second parent adoption can be performed wherein the biological offspring of one of the same-sex partners is subsequently legally adopted by the other same-sex partner who is not the adopted child’s biological parent.

Understanding the Adoption Process

Though the length of the adoption process varies, it generally takes at least 6 months from the beginning of the process to receive an interim order granting initial custody. Under Illinois law, official consent to adoption or official surrender of the child must be given by the birth parent and signed in front of either an Illinois Department of Children and Family Services representative, an official child welfare agency, a judge or a representative with judicial authorization to acknowledge the consent to adoption. The birth mother cannot provide consent until at least 72 hours following the birth of the child, while the father has the option to provide consent to the adoption or surrender before the birth. However, the father’s consent can be revoked within 72 hours of the child’s birth. Consent to surrender an adoption is irrevocable and final unless it is proven that duress or fraud was employed to obtain the consent.

The Benefits of Consulting With An Adoption Attorney

The adoption of a child requires the execution of a wide assortment of legally binding documents. Even when adopting through an agency, a consultation with an attorney is a great idea because it will allow you to fully understand your legal rights and obligations under the adoption agreement. Furthermore, if you’re thinking about private adoption, a licensed attorney must be engaged at every step of the adoption process. Lastly, though you have the same adoption rights as all other Illinois residents, legal consultation and support may be required if you face any form of discrimination during the adoption process due to your status as an LGBTQ+ single or same-sex couple. Contact the experienced LGBTQ+ attorneys here at JRQ & Associates today, to discuss the legal services and solutions that we can provide for your adoption.

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