Helping Your Family Grow

There are many types of adoption. No matter which one is right for your family, the attorneys at Mitchell Highlander, LLC are here to guide you through the adoption process.

Whether you are looking to adopt your stepchild, foster child or unrelated infant, we are ready to ensure the necessary pre-adoption requirements are met and that the paperwork is drafted precisely as directed by the Illinois Adoption Act.

We look forward to helping you grow your family.

Adoption Basics

Adoption is the legal process by which a legal parent’s rights as a parent are terminated and a new parental relationship is formed between the adoptive parent/s and the person being adopted. Once an adoption is finalized, the adoptive parents have the same rights and responsibilities to the child as if they were the parents at the time of the child’s birth. A new birth certificate will also be issued upon the finalization of the adoption.

Adoptions in Illinois are governed by the Illinois Adoption Act Illinois Act (750 ILCS 50). If an adoption involves parties in different states, the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (“ICPC”) will also apply.

If the child being adopted is fourteen years old, they will have to consent to the adoption.

Types of Adoption

Related Adoption

  • One of the most common forms of adoption is by related parties, which include, stepparents, co-parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, and others related to the child by blood or marriage.
  • Unlike agency adoptions, these adoptions do not require home studies or matching with a birth parent. You are already a part of the child’s life!
  • Since no home study is needed, a related adoption starts with filing documents directly with the Court. Once the appropriate forms are filed and consent has been given by the legal parents, the child with meet with a Guardian ad Litem (“GAL”). With the GAL’s recommendation, the adoption can be finalized.

Foster Care Adoption

  • Many children were not lucky enough to be born into a home that can love and support them the way they need and deserve. If you are interested in opening up your home to a foster child, it may be the first step to adopting a child.
  • If you are a foster parent who is ready to adopt your foster child, the attorneys at Mitchell Highlander, LLC can help review your Illinois Adoption Assistance Subsidy and draft all of the necessary paperwork to finalize your adoption.
  • We can work with the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) to ensure that the subsidy is complete and contains the necessary information to ensure you and your adoptive child are getting all the support and wraparound services you need.

Adult Adoption

  • Did you know that adults can be adopted? We did! In Illinois, individuals over the age of 18 can be adopted provided that the adopting parent/s lived with the person being adopted for at least two (2) continuous years preceding the adoption process OR the adoptee and adoptive parents are related.
  • Adult adoption is great option for stepparents or coparents who were and still are an integral part of a child’s life but never had the opportunity to adopt. It also serves as an estate planning tool so that your newly adopted child can inherit from you, as well as help make decisions for you as you age.

Private and Agency Adoptions

  • When most people think of adoption, they picture two parents bringing home an infant, and that is often the scenario with private and agency adoptions. When parents adopt privately or through an agency, they are seeking to adopt child that is unrelated to them.
  • This type of adoption can be an emotional rollercoaster, as there are several requirements that potential adoptive parents must meet. From creating a family profile and matching with a birth parent to background checks and home studies, potential adoptive parents need to be prepared for the journey ahead. Our attorneys outline the options and offer guidance as to how to proceed through this joyous but often complicated process.

Standby Adoption

  • A standby adoption allows a parent to consent to custody and/or the termination of their parental rights upon the occurrence of a future event, such as death, incapacitation, or their choice to invoke the standby adoption.
  • When a parent is facing a life-threatening illness or uncertainty as to his or her ability to parent, a standby adoption can be the answer. Because children are people and not property, their future care cannot be governed by a will. Instead, a parent can arrange for a standby adoption to ensure that they choose the who will parent their child should they be unable.
  • Using the standby adoption process can avoid custody battles between relatives or family friends who all want to step forward to care for a child. The process can also avoid the possibility of the child entering foster care, as an adoptive parent is already identified for your child.


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