Adding a child to your family is always an exciting endeavor, and adopting a child is no exception.  For some families going through the adoption process, they may decide to do private adoption with a biological parent they know, versus going through an adoption agency.  Others decide to do a “related adoption” proceeding, which means they are adopting a child that is related to them.  In Illinois, there are 5 general types of adoption:

  1. Related Adoption  occurs when at least one of the adopting parents is related to the person being adopted.  When a step-parent wants to adopt his or her spouse’s biological child, this is considered “related adoption.”  In this case, the biological parent would be listed on the adoption petition in addition to the step-parent.  Related adoptions can also be used by grandparents, aunts/uncles, or other family members
  2. Agency Adoption  occurs when a licensed agency is given the authority to place a child with adopting parents.  This occurs when the biological parents either voluntarily give the child to the agency, or when a court terminates the biological parents’ parental rights.
  3. Private Adoption  occurs when the child is not placed with an agency, and neither of the adopting parents are related to the child.  The biological parents’ rights are terminated, either by consent or Court Order.  Typically, in these situations, the adoptive parents know at least one of the biological parents.
  4. Adoption of an Adult  occurs when a child aged 18 years or older is adopted.
  5. Standby Adoption  occurs when a legal parent who is terminally ill agrees in advance to have the child adopted by a specific person, either when the legal parent becomes too ill to care for the child, or when the legal parent passes. 

Adoption laws are very specific and often result in legally complex proceedings.  So, it is always strongly advised to seek the help of an experienced attorney or adoption agency to handle your adoption, versus trying to do it yourself.   If you’re interested in adoption, contact Strieker Law Firm, LLC today.  Kristen C. Strieker focuses her adoption practice mainly on related and private adoptions, but she is also happy to refer you to trusted sources if you have an interest in a different type of adoption proceeding.