December 29, 2016

Considering Adoption? The Legal Journey to Extend Your Family


Today’s society has become a virtual melting pot for different family nuclei. The traditional two-parent, Dad, Mom, two kids and a family pet has transformed into a blend of forms and combinations of family members. A common thread is the desire to bring children into a family. The same applies to the traditional family who may be facing great difficulty in conceiving a child on their own. Clearly, medical opportunities to seek treatment to enhance a couple’s ability exist, but can be physically demanding, painful, lengthy and costly. One alternative to natural born children is adoption.

Common forms of adoptions can occur inter-family but also within the state, around the country, or even internationally. Children waiting to be adopted from foster care situations, in the United States, as of on September  2015 was almost 112,000.

If you approach the idea of adoption, a crucial part of the process is the legal aspect of bringing a child into your family permanently. For this, a family law attorney skilled in the adoption process is advisable.

The Adoption Process

The long arduous process of adoption in clearly outweighed by the gift a new family member can bring. The joy and fulfillment are immeasurable. But, what do you need to know before going forward with an adoption? What is the process usually like and what can it involve?

Your experienced attorney can walk you through the specifics of what is typically involved, but a generalized summary of the legal steps can be outlined as follows:

  • Firstly, the birth parents rights must be legally terminated. It can be voluntary or involuntary and in some cases can be challenged. The latter is usually done by way of a court hearing.
  • Illinois state law will also determine whether a child can be placed with an adopted family prior to the birth parent rights being terminated.
  • You may have to work in conjunction with a court approved special advocate and/or a lawyer both representing the child’s best interests.
  • Next, formal consent to adopt must be obtained.
  • Then, custody is given to the adopted parents and certain legal documents, such as the final decree, are issued to allow for the child’s birth certificate to be amended and a social security number be obtained.

Also part of the process is an investigation – a home study, or assessment of your home life to determine overall fitness and well-being of the family unit to best serve the best interest of the child.

Compassionate Legal Advice and Guidance

Family matters can be extremely sensitive and a big milestone for loved ones. To ensure the legal process proceeds smoothly, contact an experienced DuPage County family law lawyer to assist your adoption petition. Based in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, the attorneys at Mulyk Laho Law, LLC, offer a full-service law firm with a team fully experienced in adoption matters.