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Choosing to adopt a child is a truly monumental decision for all involved, and in order to ensure it goes successfully, it is important to have an attorney who understands the stakes. The process is very complex, even for legal professionals, and there are certain questions that should be asked so that you can be certain you are working with a knowledgeable attorney.
- #1. What is your background in adoption law? This is perhaps the most important question that can be asked. The adoption process is quite complex for anyone, even those with experience, especially if you wish to adopt internationally. The most recent available data shows over 260,000 adoptions have been brokered internationally since 1999, with the majority being from countries where procedures were either not conducted in English, were prone to adjustment, or both. This can be a severe roadblock for an inexperienced attorney.
- #2. Do you have preferences about adoption types, or is there a type of adoption you will not handle? There are multiple types of adoptions, including private, open, agency-assisted, and many others. Some attorneys refuse to work with adoption agencies, or may refuse to handle adoptions in specific countries. Such preferences are legal as long as this information is communicated up front, but it is not always presented openly.
- #3. What do you charge, on average, to handle an adoption? While there is no specific fee that is appropriate or inappropriate, it is important to have a sense of what will the entire process will cost. A flat fee may be preferable for your situation, but it is possible for an ethical attorney to still charge an hourly rate. As long as your attorney is honest with you about fees, no red flags should be evident.
- #4. Do you require a retainer fee? While there is some debate about the appropriateness of retainer fees, some adoption attorneys in Illinois do charge retainers while others do not. Many feel that paying a retainer is a gamble, especially since in Illinois, the birth mother is granted 72 hours after the birth of a child to decide whether she truly wishes to place that child up for adoption, leaving the adoptive parents with virtually nothing if she elects to keep the baby.
- #5. Will I be kept informed? While this is hopefully a given for any competent attorney, it should still be asked. If your attorney is the only knowledgeable adoption practitioner in the firm, you may go weeks without contact while he or she is busy on other matters. It is important to get a clear picture of your potential attorney’s availability.
Contact a Knowledgeable Adoption Lawyer
Ensuring your adoption attorney is a good fit for you can be critical to the success of your adoption. If you are in need of experienced, compassionate Kane County adoption attorney, contact Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. for help. Call 630-377-7770 today to set up a free initial consultation.
Approximately 5,370 children were adopted from other countries and brought to the United States in 2016. The majority of international adoptions involved children from China, Ethiopia, and Russia. Choosing to adopt a child from a foreign country comes with its own unique hurdles and benefits. One of the questions many parents of internationally adopted children face is how to incorporate the child’s heritage in his or her life. A new scientific study suggests that this task might be easier than prospective parents may think. The study shows that babies who are adopted before they learn to talk still retain some of the ability to speak their home country’s language.
Study Shows Language Acquisition Begins Very Early in Life
The study, led by Dr. Jiyoun Choi of Hanyang University in South Korea examined adults who had been adopted as babies from South Korea by Dutch-speaking parents. The participants were tested on their ability to pronounce Korean consonants correctly compared to participants who were not born in Korea. The research team found that individuals who were adopted out of Korea before they learned to speak could pronounce the Korean consonants better than other individuals. In fact, there was no difference between the speaking ability of those people adopted under the age of 6 months and those adopted after they were 17 months old. Dr. Choi explains, “This finding indicates that useful language knowledge is laid down in [the] very early months of life, which can be retained without further input of the language and revealed via re-learning.” The results of the test were profound because Dutch and Korean are vastly different languages with very different sounding consonants.
Choosing to adopt a child can be one of the most rewarding experiences of a person’s life. It is estimated that about 135,000 children are placed with adoptive families every year. Some families adopt infants while others adopt older children. Many adoptions are domestic and others are international. Parents choose to adopt for many reasons. Some couples cannot have children of their own due to fertility issues. Others are older and can no longer have children biologically. Same-sex couples often look to adoption to complete their family. Some single people choose to adopt a child rather than waiting to find a suitable partner with whom they can have children. In short, people adopt because they believe it is simply the right thing to do for themselves and their family. Regardless of the reason, adopting a child into a loving “forever” home is one of the most selfless things anyone can do.
Deciding to adopt is a major decision and only those individuals or couples considering it can know if it is right for them or not. Many who do end up adopting cite similar reasons for their choice, including:
A good parent wants the best for their children, and sometimes, that may include allowing someone else to take care of them. Illinois courts, however, are generally not disposed to allow a person to surrender their parental rights voluntarily unless there is another person ready and willing to step into the role. Illinois public policy places a high value on a child having two parents if at all possible. This means that unless your child’s other parent has a new partner willing to assume a parental role, you cannot renounce your parental obligations.
The “Best Interest of the Child”
Research has long supported the idea that children tend to fare better with two active parents in their lives, regardless of the relationship between the adults. As a result, Illinois courts nearly always hold that having two parents is in the best interests of the child involved—even in cases where a parent has committed a crime. When making determinations regarding parental responsibilities and parenting time, the courts consider an extensive list of factors in order to determine the outcome that serves the best interests of the child. These factors include the ability of the parents to work together, the level of participation by both parents in making parenting decisions in the past, and whether or not any abuse has occurred.
Adoption can be a wonderful, happy event for everyone involved. However, there are times when the process becomes quite complex, especially when an adoption involves a parent who still ostensibly can assert parental rights, yet is nowhere to be found. There is a very specific process to go through before a child with an absentee parent—or both absentee parent—may be adopted into a family where he or she will receive the kind of attention he or she deserves.
Abandonment and Desertion
In most situations, a child is presumed to have two parents, but this is not necessarily true in every case. Illinois provides four ways for paternity be legally established following the birth of a child, including: