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.
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!
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
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.
happens after we complete an application?
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.
long does it take?
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.
do we get to meet the children?
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
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.
keep hearing about "the waiting children. Who are they?
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.
are these children? Can we see them?
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.
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.
the children are in foster homes now, won It it be hard for them to
move to a new adoptive home?
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.
we adopt more than one child?
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.
we have problems after we get the child, will the agency help us?
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.
I need help with my child after the adoption is finalized can the
agency help me?
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.
if we meet a child, have a few visits, and then decide he/she just
isn't the one for us?
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.
we get a child who doesn't have problems?
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.
did these children have to leave their parents in the first place?
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.
have some children had to wait so long for an adoptive home?
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.
it cause problems if we adopt a child who remembers his/her parents?
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.
are Adoptive parents?
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:
be single, married, or divorced.
or may not have birth children.
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.
have room for another child, but you do not have to own a home.
have no criminal history that would prevent licensure to adopt.
much does it cost to adopt?
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.
a child's birth parents ever try to get him/her back?
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.
if we adopt a child and when he/she is older he/she wants to find
his/her original parents?
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.
can I get information on adoption?
your nearest office of the Department of Children and Family Services
or call the Adoption Information Center of Illinois at 1-800-572-2390.