Illinois has enacted progressive adoption laws that protect the rights of birth parents (as well as adoptive parents) throughout the adoption process. This post will focus on Rights of Birth Parents In Illinois Adoptions.
The document Birth Parents' Rights and Responsibilities in Illinois defines the specific entitlements of birth parents and what they can expect in adoption proceedings. Some key points are highlighted here, but it's important to read the actual document for a full understanding of your rights.
Rights of Birth Parents In Illinois Adoptions: BASIC BIRTH PARENT RIGHTS
Birth parents in Illinois have a number of basic rights. These include confidentiality, being treated with respect, not being pressured into decisions and the ability to work with a social service agency if needed during the adoption process.
Be aware that that your “non-identifying social, medical and mental health information” is always shared for an agency-assisted adoption and “may be shared with adopting parents in private adoptions.”
Rights of Birth Parents In Illinois Adoptions: PARENTAL RIGHTS IN AGENCY-ASSISTED ADOPTIONS
When working with an Illinois adoption agency, birth parents have the right to request “after-placement communication” with the child's adoptive family. However, these agreements are not enforceable under current Illinois law.
You are also entitled to know everything about the agency you're working with, including success rates and any complaints made against the agency.
Finally, you can ask to work with an attorney at no cost to you or you can retain one at your own expense. This is not a requirement for agency adoptions, but it can be helpful and prevent time-consuming errors.
Rights of Birth Parents In Illinois Adoptions: RIGHTS OF BIRTH PARENTS IN PRIVATE ADOPTIONS
Probably the most important privilege in this situation is the option to choose an attorney to assist you during the process. When choosing your own adoption attorney, you have a right to:
Verify the attorney's law license is active.
Ensure the attorney is not representing both you and the adoptive parents simultaneously.
Give or withhold permission to share your private information.
Consult with more than one lawyer before making a decision and be charged reasonable legal fees for services related to the adoption. As stated in the Rights and Responsibilities document, “Illinois laws do not permit an attorney to be paid to provide adoption services.”
As an experienced Illinois adoption lawyer, I successfully guide clients through the legal requirements to complete the adoption in a time efficient manner and help them navigate the emotional issues involved.
Contact me to learn more about the Illinois adoption law services I offer and to learn about your Rights of Birth Parents In Illinois Adoptions.