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Springfield IL 62701-1498
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Your decision to adopt a child will be one of the most important you will ever make. The decision to add a child to your family - whether by birth or adoption - is one you will live with the rest of your life. The responsibilities of being a parent are awesome, and mean a new life for you and the child.

Bringing a child that has been a part of the child welfare system into your family may be the most satisfying experience of your life. There is a special joy in making a difference in these children's lives. It is a "high" you can't get anywhere else!

However, the Department's primary adoption goal is not to find a child for a family but, rather, to find just the right family to meet the particular needs of each of our adoptable children. A family and family life are important to all of us, but even more so for children in the child welfare system.

With that focus in mind, we hope the following information will help you make the important decision about whether to open your home to a child (or children) who need a permanent home and a chance to benefit from the unique qualities your family has to offer.

What happens after we complete an application?

You will be asked to complete the licensing process, which includes a background check, fingerprinting, a medical exam, training, and several visits to your home by a worker to complete a h@me study. We'll also have several group and/or individual opportunities to share information. The agency will give you as many "tools" as possible to help prepare you for adoptive parenthood. The social worker wilt want to get to know you well, so a good "match" can be made between a child's special needs and your family's special strengths. Together, you and the social worker will decide whether there is a waiting child who could benefit from becoming a part of your family.

How long does it take?

If you are interested in a waiting child, the time it takes us to get to know you will vary. Three months, on the average, should be adequate to determine what kind of child you are best suited to parent. Then we work to match you with a child.

When do we get to meet the children?

Once you are ready for a child to be placed with you, we will work with you to find a child who would benefit from being a part of your family. We will tell you about the child and you will see a photograph of the child.

We'll tell you about the child's background, his/her personality, and his/her strengths and weaknesses. Then, we'll ask you to decide whether you are seriously interested in him/her before you meet him/her. If you think this sounds like a child who would be a good in match for your family or a child you believe you could parent, we'll arrange for you to meet ... perhaps casualty at first. If it appears this is a good match for your family and the child, we will begin pre-placement visits, including overnight visits. These visits give you a chance to get to know each other. They go on for as long as necessary, from a week to several months. Then comes the great day when your new child comes to stay.

We keep hearing about "the waiting children. Who are they?

Waiting children are children who are under the supervision of DCFS. They are of all ages and race, and both mate and female. The majority of the children are over 6 years old. The majority are African-American, and there are more boys than girls. We are especially looking for homes for sibling groups, which may be 2 or 3 children, and occasionally more. Some of the children have medical or other special needs.

Where are these children? Can we see them?

Most children waiting to be adopted are living in foster homes. Some will be adopted by their foster parents, while others need new families. A few are in residential facilities. There is a listing book with pictures and descriptions of many of Illinois' waiting children.

The Adoption Information Center of Illinois oversees the updating of the listing book. The Adoption Information Center of Illinois is located at 188 West Randolph Street, Suite 600, Chicago, IL 60601. Their phone number is 800/572-2390. After the initial screening, you are welcome to look through the book to get a better idea of who these youngsters are. We can't promise you a specific child from the book because another home may be ready before yours. But once you're prepared for adoption, if the child who caught your eye is still waiting and we all agree that yours would be a good home, we will make the contact for you.

If the children are in foster homes now, won It it be hard for them to move to a new adoptive home?

Yes, it will. It is always hard on a child to leave a place that has been home. Careful work must be done with the child to prepare for the move. While pre-placement visits will help, it is reasonable to expect that you and your new child will have some adjustments to make. We will try to help you understand some of the reasons for these problems, and find the solutions before you encounter them. Your love, attention, patience and understanding will be necessary to help your child during these periods. We strongly believe the benefits of a permanent home will soon outweigh the temporary problems.

Can we adopt more than one child?

Yes, indeed! There are many brothers and sisters waiting to be adopted and we especially welcome families able to take siblings. We have many families who adopt a child and decide later that they want to adopt more children.

If we have problems after we get the child, will the agency help us?

Yes. We will give you all the help we can. During the waiting period of at least six months before you go to court to finalize the adoption, we will have regular visits with you and will be on call to help with problems that arise. You should call us right away, rather than wait until a problem escalates. Even after the child is legally a part of your family, there are adoption preservation programs statewide to assist you.

If I need help with my child after the adoption is finalized can the agency help me?

Yes. When you are having problems call us right away. We will refer you to an adoption preservation program even after the child is legally a part of your family. The adoption preservation service provider will do an assessment of your family, provide therapy when indicated, advocate on your behalf for other beneficial services and initiate help in finding support groups and services for you and your children.

What if we meet a child, have a few visits, and then decide he/she just isn't the one for us?

That is one purpose of the "get acquainted" period. We want you to be sure this is a child you can love and care for. If you feel it just won't work, you don't have to feel guilty. We will talk about what went wrong and try to get a better idea of the right kind of child for your family. You may have to wait a while until we can better match you and a child to your family or until the kind of child you really want needs a home.

Can we get a child who doesn't have problems?

No children, whether they are biological or adopted, are "problem free." The kinds and degrees of problems will vary. Some children react in many different ways. Some want to see if you mean what you say about loving them and being a family forever. Your family is the chance these children need. Your family, love, attention and understanding, will help the child adjust as quickly as possible. Many adoptive children need help at different times in the adoption process. Their past experiences may mean that you will need to acquire support services at various developmental stages. Those services are available.

Why did these children have to leave their parents in the first place?

There are almost as many reasons as there are children. Some children are given up for adoption because their parents realize they cannot adequately care for them. Other children come to us through the courts because they have been abused or neglected by their parents. When families cannot be reunited, we must look for new permanent homes for the children.

Why have some children had to wait so long for an adoptive home?

The process of terminating both parents' legal rights is very thorough, sometimes complicated and lengthy. However, recent changes in the state's adoption law and practice make it simpler to free children for adoption and prevent them from spending needless years in foster care. We have a renewed focus on finding permanent homes for children.

Does it cause problems if we adopt a child who remembers his/her parents?

It is a different situation from adopting an infant who has never known any other parents. It means we must work with the children to prepare them for adoption, making sure they understand why they can't return to their birth parents. That kind of preparation is our job. Then you take over and help them adjust by talking freely about other places they have lived and by respecting their need to think well of their birth parents and foster parents. Sometimes older children keep in touch with various relatives including birth parents or former foster parents, and that does not mean they do not love their adoptive family.

Who are Adoptive parents?

There is not a list of specific requirements; most of the time a person who is interested in adopting one of the waiting children and who can give a child loving care is eligible to adopt. Adoptive parents:

  • Can be single, married, or divorced.
  • May or may not have birth children.
  • Must be able to financially manage the addition of a child to your family, although there are no specific income requirements. There is a program available to help families with expenses, including medical expenses and ongoing financial expenses for waiting children who are eligible.
  • Must have room for another child, but you do not have to own a home.
  • Must have no criminal history that would prevent licensure to adopt.

How much does it cost to adopt?

Our agency charges nothing. You pay only the lawyer and court fee. If you adopt an eligible waiting child, we can pay the legal and court costs of the adoption, and provide you with a monthly subsidy to help pay the child(ren)'s expenses.

Do a child's birth parents ever try to get him/her back?

This is a common concern of adoptive parents. Recent, highly publicized court battles for children have made everyone realize how important it is that all legal procedures are completed before the adoption. One advantage of adopting through a licensed agency is that you can be confident every legal safeguard has been taken to protect you and your adopted child. The parents of all children that are available to be adopted by us have either had their parental rights legally terminated or have legally surrendered their children for adoption.

What if we adopt a child and when he/she is older he/she wants to find his/her original parents?

Some adopted people are curious about their original family. This sometimes happens, particularly during adolescence, when young people are trying to sort out who they are. Often, we can give you enough information about your child's original family to satisfy their curiosity. It is not always easy for an adopted person to find out about his/her past. If your child feels it necessary to try, it's best if you relax and help in any way you can. Keep in mind that curiosity is natural and does not mean that your child wants to return to their original family. Your child will love you all the more if you can understand his/her need to know about early years. The Department of Children and Family Services contracts with an agency to assist with this process.

How can I get information on adoption?

Call your nearest office of the Department of Children and Family Services or call the Adoption Information Center of Illinois at 1-800-572-2390.


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