- 1 Adoption Laws
- 1.1 Consent to Adoption
- 1.2 Criminal Background Checks for Prospective Foster and Adoptive Parents
- 1.3 Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights
- 1.4 Home Study Requirements for Prospective Parents in Domestic Adoption
- 1.5 Infant Safe Haven Laws
- 1.6 Regulation of Private Domestic Adoption Expenses
- 1.7 The Rights of Unmarried Fathers
- 1.8 Use of Advertising and Facilitators in Adoptive Placements
- 1.9 Who May Adopt, Be Adopted, or Place a Child for Adoption?
- 2 Post-Adoption Laws
- 3 Laws Related to Intercountry Adoption
Notice: The information contained on this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice. Always seek the advice of a licensed and qualified professional. While the content of this website is frequently updated, information changes rapidly and therefore, some information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies, omissions or typographical errors.
Consent to Adoption
Who Must Consent to an Adoption Citation: Cons. Stat. Ch. 750, § 50/8(b)
Consent is required of the following persons:
- The mother
- The father if the father:
- Was married to the mother on the date of birth of the child or within 300 days before the birth of the child
- Is the father by adoption, an order of parentage, or an acknowledgment of parentage or paternity
- Openly lived with the child, the child’s birth mother, or both, and held himself out to be the child’s birth father during the first 30 days following the birth of the child
- Made a good-faith effort to pay a reasonable amount of the expenses related to the birth of the child and to provide a reasonable amount for the financial support of the child
- Has maintained substantial and continuous or repeated contact with the child
- Has registered in a timely manner with the Putative Father Registry
- The legal guardian of the person of the child if there is no surviving parent
- An agency if the child has been surrendered for adoption to such agency
- Any person or agency having legal custody of a child by court order if the parental rights of the parents have been terminated
Consent of Child Being Adopted Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 750, § 50/12
A child age 14 or older must consent. The court may waive consent if the child is in need of mental treatment or is intellectually disabled.
When Parental Consent Is Not Needed Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 750, § 50/8(a)
Consent is not required when the person whose consent or surrender would otherwise be required shall be found by the court:
- To be an unfit person
- Not to be the birth or adoptive father of the child
- To have waived his or her parental rights to the child
- To be the parent of an adult sought to be adopted
- To be the father of the child as a result of criminal sexual abuse or assault
- To be the father of a child who:
- Is a family member of the mother of the child, and the mother is under age of 18 at the time of the child’s conception
- Is at least 5 years older than the child’s mother, and the mother was under age 17 at the time of the child’s conception, unless the mother and father voluntarily acknowledge the father’s paternity of the child by marrying or by establishing the father’s paternity
When Consent Can Be Executed Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 750, § 50/9
The mother’s consent shall not be taken less than 72 hours after the child’s birth. A father may consent before or after the birth of the child.
Consent may be given to a standby adoption by a terminally ill parent, to become effective when the parent dies or requests finalization.
How Consent Must Be Executed Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 750, §§ 50/8; 50/10
The execution and verification of the petition by any petitioner who is also a parent of the child sought to be adopted shall be sufficient evidence of that parent’s consent to the adoption.
Consent to an agency may be taken by an agency representative. In a direct placement, consent is acknowledged in court unless the court waives the appearance.
If the person signing a consent is in the military service of the United States, the consent may be acknowledged before a commissioned officer, and the signature of that officer on the certificate shall be verified or acknowledged before a notary public.
Forms to be used are contained in the statute.
Revocation of Consent Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 750, §§ 50/11; 50/9
A consent to adoption by a parent, including a minor, shall be irrevocable unless it was obtained by fraud or duress. No action to void or revoke a consent, including an action based on fraud or duress, may be commenced after 12 months from the date the consent was executed.
The consent or surrender of a parent who is a minor shall not be voidable because of such minority.
If the father consents before the birth of the child, that consent may be revoked within 72 hours after the birth.
Criminal Background Checks for Prospective Foster and Adoptive Parents
A fingerprint-based FBI and State criminal background check is required for foster care licensure. A check of the Central Register is required to ascertain if the applicant has been determined to be a perpetrator in an indicated report of child abuse or neglect.
In regulation:A background check includes a check of the Illinois Sex Offender Registry and the National Sex Offenders Registry, as appropriate. Persons who have a conviction shall not be automatically rejected as foster parents unless the offense is one listed below.
If the applicant or any adult member of the household has been declared a sexually dangerous person or convicted of committing or attempting to commit one or more serious criminal offenses, this will serve as a bar to receiving a foster home license. The offenses may include:
- Murder or voluntary manslaughter
- Sex offenses, including sexual exploitation of a child, child pornography, or prostitution
- Offenses resulting in bodily harm
If the applicant or any adult member of the household has been convicted of a serious criminal offense, he or she will be barred from receiving a foster home license unless all of the following requirements are met:
- The relevant criminal offense occurred more than 10 years ago.
- The applicant had previously disclosed the conviction to the department.
- After the disclosure, the department either placed a child in the home or the foster family home license was issued.
- During the background check, the department had assessed and waived the conviction in compliance with the existing statutes and rules in effect at the time.
- The applicant meets all other requirements and qualifications to be licensed as a foster family home.
- The applicant has a history of providing a safe, stable, home environment and appears able to continue to do so.
Requirements for Adoptive Parents Comp. Stat. Ch. 750, § 50/6; Admin. Code Tit. 89, § 402.28
A fingerprint-based FBI and State criminal background check is required for a prospective adoptive parent as part of the adoption investigation.
The results of the criminal background check shall be provided to the court for its review. The court may, in its discretion, weigh the significance of the results of the criminal background check against the entirety of the background of the petitioners.
In regulation:An adoptive home shall be licensed as a foster family home before placement of an unrelated child for adoption.
Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights
Circumstances That Are Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights Comp. Stat. Ch. 705, § 405/1-2; Ch 750, § 50/1
Provided that a ground for unfitness under Ch. 750, § 50/1 can be met, it may be appropriate to expedite termination of parental rights:
- When reasonable efforts are inappropriate, or have been provided and were unsuccessful, and there are aggravating circumstances including, but not limited to, those cases in which:
- The child or another child of that child’s parent was abandoned, tortured, or chronically abused.
- The parent is criminally convicted of first- or second-degree murder of any child, attempt or conspiracy to commit first- of second-degree murder of any child, solicitation to commit murder of any child, aggravated assault, or aggravated criminal sexual assault.
- When the parental rights of a parent with respect to another child have been involuntarily terminated
- When the parent’s incapacity to care for the child, combined with an extremely poor prognosis for treatment or rehabilitation, justifies expedited termination of parental rights
The grounds of unfitness are any one or more of the following:
- The parent has abandoned the child.
- The parent is unable to discharge his or her parental duties due to:
- Mental illness, mental deficiency, or intellectual disability
- A conviction and incarceration for a felony
- The parent has substantially and continuously or repeatedly neglected the child.
- The parent has been found, two or more times, to have physically abused any child, or to have caused the death of any child by physical abuse.
- The child was born exposed to controlled substances, and a substance-exposed child was previously born to the same mother.
- The parent has repeatedly and continuously failed to provide the child with adequate food, clothing, and shelter, although financially able to do so.
- The parent has failed to maintain regular visitation, contact, or communication with the child for a period of 12 months.
- A putative father has failed to establish paternity.
- The child has been in foster care for 15 of the most recent 22 months.
Circumstances That Are Exceptions to Termination of Parental Rights Comp. Stat. Ch. 750, § 50/1
A petition will be filed when the child has been in foster care for 15 of the most recent 22 months unless the parent can prove by a preponderance of evidence that it is more likely than not that the child will be returned to the parent within 6 months.
A petition to terminate parental rights will be filed when there are grounds unless:
- The child is being cared for by a relative.
- The Department of Children and Family Services has documented a compelling reason that filing such petition will not be in the best interests of the child.
- The court has found that the department has failed to make reasonable efforts to reunify the child and family.
Circumstances Allowing Reinstatement of Parental Rights Comp. Stat. Ch. 705, § 405/2-34
A motion to reinstate parental rights may be filed only by the department regarding any child who is presently a ward of the court when all the following conditions are met:
- The child’s parent consented to the child’s adoption or the parent’s rights were terminated pursuant to a finding of unfitness.
- Subsequent to that, the child has remained a ward of the court.
- The child is not currently in a placement likely to achieve permanency.
- It is in the child’s best interests that parental rights be reinstated.
- The parent named in the motion wishes parental rights to be reinstated and is currently appropriate to have rights reinstated.
- More than 3 years have lapsed since the parent’s parental rights have been terminated.
- The child is age 13 or older, or the younger sibling of a child who is age 13 or older for whom reinstatement of parental rights is being sought, and the younger sibling independently meets the above criteria.
- If the court has previously denied a motion to reinstate parental rights, there has been a substantial change in circumstances following the denial of the earlier motion.
Any party may file a motion to dismiss the motion with prejudice on the basis that, after parental rights were terminated, the parent has intentionally acted to prevent the child from being adopted or intentionally acted to disrupt the child’s adoption.
The court shall not grant a motion for reinstatement of parental rights unless the court finds that the motion is supported by clear and convincing evidence. The court shall consider the reasons why the child was initially brought to the attention of the court, the history of the child’s case as it relates to the parent seeking reinstatement, and the current circumstances of the parent for whom reinstatement of rights is sought.
Home Study Requirements for Prospective Parents in Domestic Adoption
Who Must Be Studied Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 89, § 402.4
Each applicant and adult member of the applicant’s household shall be included in the investigation. In addition, members of the household ages 13 through 17 must authorize a check of child abuse and neglect registry and the child sex offender registry.
Agency or Person Conducting the Study Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 750, § 50/6
The court shall appoint a child welfare agency approved by the Department of Children and Family Services or a person deemed competent by the court to conduct the investigation. In Cook County, the Court Services Division of the Cook County Department of Public Aid or the Department of Children and Family Services may be appointed if the court determines that no child welfare agency is available or that the petitioner is financially unable to pay for the investigation.
Qualifications for Adoptive Parents Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 89, § 309.105
A person seeking to adopt must:
- Have resided in the State of Illinois continuously for a period of at least 6 months immediately preceding the commencement of an adoption proceeding, or be a member of the armed forces of the United States who has been domiciled in the State for 90 days
- Be a reputable person of legal age and of either sex
Elements of a Home Study Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 750, § 50/6; Admin. Code Tit. 89, § 402.28
The study shall investigate accurately, fully, and promptly the allegations contained in the petition; the character, reputation, health and general standing in the community of the petitioners; the religious faith of the petitioners and, if ascertainable, of the child sought to be adopted; and whether the petitioners are proper persons to adopt the child and whether the child is a proper subject of adoption. The investigation required shall include a fingerprint-based criminal background check with a review of fingerprints by the Illinois State Police and the FBI. The criminal background check shall not be more than 2 years old.
In regulation: An adoptive home shall be licensed as a foster family home before placement of an unrelated child for adoption.
Grounds for Withholding Approval Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 89, § 402, Appx. A
Final approval for licensure shall not be granted if the record check reveals a felony conviction for child abuse or neglect, for spousal abuse, for a crime against children, or for a crime involving violence, including rape, sexual assault or homicide, but not including other physical assault or battery, or if there is a felony conviction for physical assault, battery, or a drug-related offense committed within the past 5 years.
When Studies Must Be Completed Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 750, § 50/6
The court will order an investigation within 10 days after the filing of a petition for the adoption of a child other than a related child.
Postplacement Study Requirements Citation: Admin. Code Tit. 89, § 309.160
Postplacement services are provided to the child and adoptive family from the date of placement of the child in the adoptive home to the date of finalization of the adoption for the purpose of:
- Continuing the activities around the preparation of the child for adoption
- Ensuring the health and safety of the child
- Ensuring successful integration of the child in the adoptive home
- Providing continuing support and placement stabilization in order to minimize the risk of placement disruption
- Facilitating adoption finalization
The department or adoption agency will continue to assess the child and family after placement has occurred to ensure that all existing and potential needs have been identified and appropriate support services are in place prior to finalization. The services provided by the department or adoption agency will be related to the needs of the adoptive family and the special needs of the adopted child, particularly if the child is older; has medical conditions; has physical, mental, or emotional disabilities; or is of a different ethnic, racial, or cultural background than the adoptive family. The assessment will explore the level of attachment occurring within the adoptive family and will utilize specific activities designed to promote and enhance attachment.
Information relating to the finalization of the adoption is provided to the family, and efforts are directed toward completing all necessary reports required prior to finalization. The department or adoption agency will schedule regular in-person contacts with the family and child following placement until the adoption is finalized.
Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 750, § 50/6; Admin. Code Tit. 89, § 309.105
An investigation of an adoption petition shall not be made when the petition seeks to adopt a related child or an adult unless the court, in its discretion, shall so order. In such an event, the court may appoint a person deemed competent by the court.
In regulation: The residence requirement shall not apply to an adoption of a related child or to an adoption of a child placed by an agency.
Requirements for Interjurisdictional Placements Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 45, § 15/1
Any out-of-home placement of a child outside the State is subject to the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.
The child shall not be sent into the receiving State until the appropriate public authorities in the receiving State notify the sending agency, in writing, that the proposed placement does not appear to be contrary to the interests of the child.
Foster to Adopt Placements Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 750, § 50/15.1
Any person age 18 or older who has cared for a child for a continuous period of 1 year or more as a foster parent may apply to the child’s guardian for the guardian’s consent to adopt the child. The guardian shall give preference and first consideration to that application over all other applications for adoption of the child, but the guardian’s final decision shall be based on the welfare and best interests of the child. In arriving at this decision, the guardian shall consider all relevant factors, including, but not limited to:
- The wishes of the child
- The interaction and interrelationship of the child with the applicant to adopt the child
- The child’s need for stability and continuity of relationship with parent figures
- The wishes of the child’s parent as expressed in writing prior to that parent’s execution of a consent to adoption
- The child’s adjustment to his or her present home, school, and community
- The mental and physical health of all individuals involved
- The family ties between the child and the applicant and the value of preserving family ties between the child and the child’s relatives, including siblings
- The background, age, and living arrangements of the applicant
- The criminal background check report presented to the court as part of the required investigation
The final determination of the propriety of the adoption shall be within the sole discretion of the court.
Infant Safe Haven Laws
Infant’s Age Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 325, § 2/10
A newborn infant may be relinquished under this act. The term ‘newborn infant’ means a child who a licensed physician reasonably believes is 30 days old or younger at the time the child is initially relinquished and who is not an abused or a neglected child.
Who May Relinquish the Infant Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 325, § 2/10
The term ‘relinquish’ means to bring a newborn infant to a designated facility and to leave the infant with personnel of the facility, if the person leaving the infant does not express an intent to return for the infant or states that he or she will not return for the infant.
In the case of a mother who gives birth to an infant in a hospital, the mother’s act of leaving that newborn infant at the hospital without expressing an intent to return for the infant or stating that she will not return for the infant is not a relinquishment under this act.
Who May Receive the Infant Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 325, § 2/10
A newborn infant may be relinquished to a hospital; police station, including a municipal police station, a county sheriff’s office, a campus police department located on any college or university, or any of the district headquarters of the Illinois State Police; fire station; or emergency medical facility.
Responsibilities of the Safe Haven Provider Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 325, §§ 2/20; 2/25; 2/40
Every hospital must accept and provide all necessary emergency services and care to a relinquished infant, including tests that evaluate whether the infant was abused or neglected.
If the infant is relinquished to a police station, fire station, or emergency medical facility, the personnel must arrange for the transportation of the infant to the nearest hospital as soon as possible. If the parent returns to reclaim the child within 72 hours, he or she must be informed of the name and location of the hospital to which the infant was transported.
Before the relinquishing person leaves the hospital, police station, fire station, or emergency medical facility, the personnel shall:
- Verbally inform the relinquishing person that by relinquishing the child anonymously, he or she will have to petition the court if he or she desires to prevent the termination of parental rights and regain custody of the child
- Offer the relinquishing person the information packet described in § 2/35
Within 12 hours after accepting a newborn infant, a hospital must report to the State Central Registry for the purpose of transferring physical custody of the infant from the hospital to either a child-placing agency or the Department of Children and Family Services.
Within 24 hours after receiving a report, the department must request assistance from law enforcement officials to investigate the matter using the National Crime Information Center to ensure that the relinquished newborn infant is not a missing child.
If a relinquished child is not a newborn infant as defined in this act, the hospital and the department must proceed as if the child is an abused or neglected child.
Immunity for the Provider Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 325, § 2/27
A hospital, police station, fire station, or emergency medical facility, and any personnel of a hospital, police station, fire station, or emergency medical facility, are immune from criminal or civil liability for acting in good faith in accordance with this act. Nothing in this act limits liability for negligence for care and medical treatment.
Protection for Relinquishing Parent Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 325, §§ 2/25; 2/30
The act of relinquishing a newborn infant to a hospital, police station, fire station, or emergency medical facility in accordance with this act does not, by itself, constitute a basis for a finding of abuse, neglect, or abandonment of the infant pursuant to the laws of this State nor does it, by itself, constitute a violation of §§ 720 ILCS 5/12C-5 [endangering the life or health of a child] or 720 ILCS 5/12C-10 [child abandonment] of the Criminal Code.
If there is suspected child abuse or neglect that is not based solely on the newborn infant’s relinquishment, the personnel of the hospital, police station, fire station, or emergency medical facility who are mandated reporters must report the abuse or neglect.
Neither a child protective investigation nor a criminal investigation may be initiated solely because a newborn infant is relinquished pursuant to this act.
If there is no evidence of abuse or neglect of a relinquished newborn infant, the relinquishing person has the right to remain anonymous and to leave the hospital, police station, fire station, or emergency medical facility at any time and not be pursued or followed. However, nothing in this act shall be construed as precluding the relinquishing person from providing his or her identity or completing the application forms for the Illinois Adoption Registry and Medical Information Exchange and requesting that the hospital, police station, fire station, or emergency medical facility forward those forms to the Illinois Adoption Registry and Medical information Exchange.
Effect on Parental Rights Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 325, §§ 2/15; 2/50; 2/55
There is a presumption that by relinquishing a newborn infant in accordance with this act, the infant’s parent consents to the termination of his or her parental rights with respect to the infant.
Upon notice from the department that a newborn infant has been relinquished, a child-placing agency must accept the infant if the agency has the accommodations to do so. When possible, the child-placing agency must place a relinquished infant in a prospective adoptive home.
The department or child-placing agency must initiate proceedings to terminate the parental rights of the relinquished infant’s known or unknown parents, appoint a guardian for the infant, and obtain consent to the infant’s adoption no sooner than 60 days following the date of the initial relinquishment of the infant. Before filing the petition, the department or child-placing agency must search its Putative Father Registry for the purpose of determining the identity and location of the putative father in order to provide notice.
A parent of a relinquished infant may petition for the return of the infant before the termination of parental rights. The court may hold the proceeding for the termination of parental rights in abeyance up to 60 days. During that period:
- The court shall order genetic testing to establish maternity or paternity, or both.
- The department shall conduct a child protective investigation and home study.
Failure to file a petition for the return of the infant before the termination of parental rights bars any future action asserting legal rights to the infant unless the parent’s act of relinquishment involved fraud perpetrated against the parent. No action to void or revoke the termination of parental rights of a parent of a relinquished infant, including an action based on fraud, may be commenced after 12 months after the date that the newborn infant was initially relinquished.
Regulation of Private Domestic Adoption Expenses
Birth Parent Expenses Allowed Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 720, § 5/12C-70(c)-(d)
A prospective adoptive parent is permitted to pay the reasonable and actual medical fees or hospital charges for services rendered in connection with the birth of the child to be adopted if such payment is made to the physician or hospital that rendered the services or to the birth mother. The prospective adoptive parent also may give a gift or gifts or other thing or things of value to a birth parent provided that the total value of such gift or gifts or thing or things of value does not exceed $200.
In addition, the prospective adoptive parent shall be permitted to pay the reasonable living expenses of the birth parents. ‘Reasonable living expenses’ refer to those expenses related to activities of daily living and meeting basic needs, including, but not limited to, lodging, food, and clothing for the birth parents during the birth mother’s pregnancy for no more than 120 days prior to the birth mother’s expected date of delivery and for no more than 60 days after the birth of the child.
The prospective adoptive parents are permitted to pay the reasonable living expenses of the birth parents only upon prior order of the court. They may advance a maximum of $1,000 for reasonable birth parent living expenses without prior order of court in circumstances where there is a demonstrated need for such payment to protect the health of the birth parents or the health of the child sought to be adopted.
The prospective adoptive parents shall be permitted to pay the reasonable fees of a birth parent’s attorney in connection with the adoption proceedings if the amount of fees of the attorney is $1,000 or less. If the amount of attorney’s fees of each birth parent exceeds $1,000, the attorney’s fees shall be paid only after a petition seeking leave to pay those fees is filed with the court in which the adoption proceeding is filed or to be filed.
Birth Parent Expenses Not Allowed Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 720, § 5/12C-70(d)(1)
The term ‘reasonable living expenses’ does not include expenses for lost wages, gifts, educational expenses, or other similar expenses of the birth parents.
Allowable Payments for Arranging Adoption Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 720, § 5/12C-70
No person, agency, association, corporation, institution, society, or other organization except a child welfare agency shall request, receive, or accept any compensation or thing of value, directly or indirectly, for providing adoption services.
Allowable Payments for Relinquishing Child Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 720, § 5/12C-70(a), (d)(4)
Compensation for placing out a child to any person or agency, association, corporation, institution, society, or other organization except a child welfare agency as defined by the Child Care Act of 1969 is prohibited.
Payment of their reasonable living expenses shall not obligate the birth parents to place the child for adoption. In the event the birth parents choose not to place the child for adoption, the adopting parents shall have no right to seek reimbursement from the birth parents or from any relative or associate of the birth parents.
Allowable Fees Charged by Department/Agency Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 720, § 5/12C-70(a), (c)(1)
No person shall pay or give any compensation or thing of value, directly or indirectly, for providing adoption services, including the placing out of a child to any person or to any agency, association, corporation, institution, society, or other organization except a child welfare agency.
The provisions of this Act shall not be construed to prevent the payment of salaries or other compensation by a licensed child welfare agency providing adoption services to the officers, employees, agents, contractors, or any other persons acting on behalf of the child welfare agency.
Accounting of Expenses Required by Court Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 720, § 5/12C-70(d)(7); Ch. 750 § 50/14(a)-(b)
Within 14 days after the completion of all payments for reasonable living expenses of the birth parents, the adopting parents shall present a final accounting of all those expenses to the court.
Prior to the entry of the judgment for order of adoption in any case other than an adoption of a related child, each petitioner and each person, agency, association, corporation, institution, society, or organization involved in the adoption of the child except a child welfare agency shall execute an affidavit setting forth the hospital and medical costs, legal fees, counseling fees, and any other fees or expenditures paid in accordance with the Adoption Compensation Prohibition Act.
Each child welfare agency involved in the adoption of the child shall file an affidavit concerning the costs, expenses, contributions, fees, compensation, or other things of value that have been given, promised, or received, including, but not limited to, hospital and medical costs, legal fees, social services, living expenses, or any other expenses related to the adoption.
- If the total amount is $4,500 or more, the affidavit shall contain an itemization of expenditures.
- If the total amount is less than $4,500, the agency may file an unitemized affidavit stating that the total amount paid is less than $4,500 unless the court, in its discretion, requires the agency to file an itemized affidavit.
The Rights of Unmarried Fathers
Legal Definition of Father Comp. Stat. Ch. 750 § 45/2; 45/5
The term ‘parent and child relationship’ means the legal relationship existing between a child and his or her natural or adoptive parents on which the law confers or imposes rights, privileges, duties, and obligations. It includes the mother and child relationship and the father and child relationship.
A man is presumed to be the natural father of a child if:
- He and the child’s mother are or have been married to each other, even though the marriage is or could be declared invalid, and the child is born or conceived during such marriage.
- After the child’s birth, he and the child’s mother have married each other, even though the marriage is or could be declared invalid, and he is named, with his written consent, as the child’s father on the child’s birth certificate.
- He and the child’s mother have signed an acknowledgment of paternity.
- He and the child’s mother have signed an acknowledgment of parentage or, if the natural father is someone other than one presumed to be the father, an acknowledgment of parentage and denial of paternity in accordance with chapter 410, § 535/12.
Paternity Registry Comp. Stat. Ch. 750 § 50/12.1
The Department of Children and Family Services shall establish a Putative Father Registry for the purpose of determining the identity and location of a putative father of a minor child who is, or is expected to be, the subject of an adoption proceeding, in order to provide notice of such proceeding to the putative father. A putative father may register with the department before the birth of the child but just register no later than 30 days after the birth of the child. All registrations shall be in writing and signed by the putative father.
Except as provided in chapter 750, § 50/8(b) of (c), a putative father who fails to register with the Putative Father Registry is barred from thereafter bringing or maintaining any action to assert any interest in the child unless he proves by clear and convincing evidence that:
- It was not possible for him to register within the period of time specified above.
- His failure to register was through no fault of his own.
- He registered within 10 days after it became possible for him to file.
Except as provided in chapter 750, § 50/8(b) or (c), failure to register in a timely manner with the Putative Father Registry shall:
- Be deemed to be a waiver and surrender of any right to notice of any hearing in any judicial proceeding for the adoption of the child, and the consent or surrender of that person to the adoption of the child is not required
- Constitute an abandonment of the child and shall be prima facie evidence of sufficient grounds to support termination of that father’s parental rights
Alternate Means to Establish Paternity Comp. Stat. Ch. 750, § 45/7; Ch. 410, § 535/12
An action to determine the existence of the father and child relationship, whether or not such a relationship is already presumed under chapter 750, § 45/5, may be brought by:
- The child
- The mother
- A pregnant woman
- Any person or public agency who has custody of, or is providing or has provided financial support to, the child
- The Illinois Department of Public Aid if it is providing or has provided financial support to the child or if it is assisting with child support collection services
- A man presumed or alleging himself to be the father of the child or expected child
Upon the birth of a child to an unmarried woman, or upon the birth of a child to a woman who was married at the time of conception or birth and whose husband is not the biological father of the child, the institution at the time of birth and the local registrar or county clerk after the birth shall provide:
- An opportunity for the child’s mother and father to sign an acknowledgment of parentage
- If the presumed father is not the biological father, an opportunity for the mother and presumed father to sign a denial of paternity
The signing and witnessing of the acknowledgment of parentage or, if the presumed father of the child is not the biological father, the acknowledgment of parentage and denial of paternity conclusively establishes a parent and child relationship in accordance with sections 5 and 6 of the Illinois Parentage Act of 1984 [chapter 750, §§ 45/5 and 45/6].
Required Information Comp. Stat. Ch. 750 § 50/12.1
The department shall maintain the following information in the registry:
- With respect to the putative father:
- The name, including any other names by which the putative father may be known and that he may provide to the registry
- The address at which he may be served with notice of an adoption petition, including any change of address
- His Social Security number
- His date of birth
- If applicable, a certified copy of an order by a court of this State or of another State or territory of the United States adjudicating the putative father to be the father of the child
- With respect to the mother of the child:
- he name, including all other names known to the putative father by which the mother may be known
- If known to the putative father, her last address, Social Security number, and date of birth
- If known to the putative father, the name, gender, place of birth, and date of birth or anticipated date of birth of the child
- The date that the department received the putative father’s registration
- Other information as the department may by rule determine necessary for the orderly administration of the registry
An acknowledgment of paternity is conclusive unless the acknowledgment of parentage is rescinded, under the process provided in chapter 410, § 535/12, upon the earlier of:
- 60 days after the date the acknowledgment of parentage is signed
- The date of an administrative or judicial proceeding relating to the child, including a proceeding to establish a support order, in which the signatory is a party
If a minor has signed the acknowledgment of paternity, the presumption becomes conclusive 6 months after the minor reaches majority or is otherwise emancipated.
Access to Information Comp. Stat. Ch. 750 § 50/12.1
The following persons may request the department to search the registry to determine whether a putative father is registered in relation to a child who is or may be the subject to an adoption petition:
- An interested party, including persons intending to adopt a child
- A child welfare agency with whom the mother has placed or has given written notice of her intention to place a child for adoption
- The mother of the child
- An attorney representing an interested party
Except as provided above, information contained within the registry is confidential and shall not be published or open to public inspection.
Use of Advertising and Facilitators in Adoptive Placements
Use of Advertisement Citation: Cons. Stat. Tit. 225, § 10/12
‘Advertise’ means communication by any public medium originating or distributed in this State, including, but not limited to, newspapers, periodicals, telephone book listings, outdoor advertising signs, radio, or television.
A child care facility or child welfare agency licensed or operating under a permit issued by the department may publish advertisements for the services that the facility is specifically licensed or issued a permit to provide. A person, group of persons, agency, association, organization, corporation, institution, center, or group that advertises or publishes any advertisement offering, soliciting, or promising to perform adoption services is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be subject to a fine, unless they are:
- Licensed or operating under a permit issued by the department as a child care facility or child welfare agency
- A birth parent or a prospective adoptive parent acting on his or her own behalf
- A licensed attorney advertising his or her availability to provide legal services relating to adoption, as permitted by law
Use of Intermediaries/Facilitators Citation: Cons. Stat. Tit. 720, § 525/1
No person or agency, association, corporation, institution, society, or other organization except a child welfare agency shall request, receive, or accept any compensation or thing of value, directly or indirectly, for providing adoption services as defined in Tit. 225, § 10/2.24.
Who May Adopt, Be Adopted, or Place a Child for Adoption?
Who May Adopt Citation: Cons. Stat. Ch. 750, § 50/2
Any of the following persons who is under no legal disability and who has been a resident for at least 6 months, or is a member of the armed forces domiciled in the State for 90 days, may institute an adoption proceeding:
- A reputable adult of either sex
- A minor with leave of the court
A husband and wife must petition jointly.
The residency requirement does not apply to a related child or to an agency placement.
Who May Be Adopted Citation: Cons. Stat. Ch. 750, § 50/3
The following persons may be adopted:
- Any child
- Any adult who has resided with the adoptive parent for at least 2 years while the person was a minor or who is related to the adoptive parent
Who May Place a Child for Adoption Citation: Cons. Stat. Ch. 750 §§ 50/4.1; 50/8; Ch. 225 § 10/2.08
A child may be placed for adoption by the birth mother and father who have the right of consent to place the child with a specified person. All other placements must be made by:
- The Department of Children and Family Services
- A licensed child welfare agency
Access to Adoption Records
Who May Access Information Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 750, §§ 50/18.1; 50/18.4
The following persons may apply to the Illinois Adoption Registry:
- Either birth parent
- If the birth parent is deceased, the adopted person’s adult birth sibling or a birth aunt or birth uncle
- Any adult adopted person or any adoptive parent or legal guardian of an adopted person under age 21
- If the adopted person is deceased, any surviving spouse or adult child
- Any adoptive parent or legal guardian of a deceased adult adopted person
Access to Nonidentifying Information Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 750, § 50/18.4
The adoptive parents shall receive in writing the following nonidentifying information, if known, not later than the date of placement of the child:
- The birth parents’ age
- The birth parents’ race, religion, and ethnic background
- The general physical appearance of the birth parents
- The birth parents’ education, occupation, hobbies, interests, and talents
- The existence of any other children born to the birth parents
- Information about birth grandparents, their reason for emigrating into the United States, if applicable, and country of origin
- The relationship between the birth parents
- Detailed medical and mental health histories of the child, the birth parents, and their immediate relatives
- The actual date and place of birth of the adopted person
No information provided under this subsection shall disclose the name or last known address of the birth parents, grandparents, the siblings of the birth parents, the adopted person, or any other relative of the adopted person.
Any adopted person age 18 or older shall be given the information listed above upon request.
The Illinois Adoption Registry shall release any nonidentifying information above that appears on the certified copy of the original birth certificate or the Certificate of Adoption to an adopted person, adoptive parent, or legal guardian who is a registrant of the Illinois Adoption Registry. Mutual Access to Identifying Information Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 750, §§ 50/18.1; 50/18.3a
The Department of Public Health shall establish and maintain a registry for the purpose of allowing mutually consenting members of birth and adoptive families to exchange identifying and medical information. Identifying information shall mean any one or more of the following:
- The name and last known address of the consenting person or persons
- A copy of the Illinois Adoption Registry Application of the consenting person or persons
- A noncertified copy of the original birth certificate of an adult adopted person
Each registrant may indicate whether exchange of information is authorized or denied. Written authorization from all parties must be received prior to disclosure of any identifying information. If information is disclosed, the department shall redact it to remove any identifying information about any party who has not consented to the disclosure of identifying information. Any other disclosure of information requires a court order.
Any adult adopted person, adoptive parent or legal guardian of an adopted minor, or birth parent of an adult adopted person may petition the court for appointment of a confidential intermediary for the purpose of exchanging medical information, obtaining identifying information, or arranging contact with one or more mutually consenting birth relatives.
Beginning January 1, 2006, any adult adopted person, adoptive parent or legal guardian of a minor adopted person, any birth parent, sibling, aunt, or uncle of an adult adopted person, or any surviving child, adoptive parent, or surviving spouse of a deceased adopted person who wishes to petition the court for the appointment of a confidential intermediary shall be required to accompany their petition with proof of registration with the Illinois Adoption Registry and Medical Information Exchange.
Access to Original Birth Certificate Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 750, § 50/18.1b
Beginning November 15, 2011, any adult adopted person who was born in Illinois on or after January 1, 1946, may complete and file with the registry a request for a noncertified copy of an original birth certificate. In cases in which the adopted person is deceased, his or her surviving adult child or spouse who has registered with the registry may request a noncertified copy of the original birth certificate.
If the registry confirms that a requesting adult adopted person, the parent of a requesting adult child of a deceased adopted person, or the husband or wife of a requesting surviving spouse was not the object of a Denial of Information Exchange filed by a birth parent on or before December 31, 2010, and that no birth parent named on the original birth certificate has filed a Birth Parent Preference Form where Option E (prohibit the release of identifying information) was selected prior to the receipt of a request for a noncertified copy of an original birth certificate, the registry shall provide the adult adopted person or his or her surviving adult child or spouse with an unaltered noncertified copy of the adopted person’s original birth certificate.
Where the Information Can Be Located
- Illinois Adoption Registry, Illinois Department of Public Health
- Confidential Intermediary Service of Illinois, Midwest Adoption Center (MAC)
Intestate Inheritance Rights for Adopted Persons
Birth Parents in Relation to Adopted Person Citation: Cons. Stat. Tit. 755, § 5/2-4(b), (d)
The birth parent and lineal and collateral kindred of the birth parent shall inherit from the adopted person and the adopted person’s kindred the property that the adopted person has inherited from or through the birth parent or birth relatives by gift, will, or under intestate laws.
For purposes of inheritance from or through a birth parent, an adopted child is not a child of a birth parent, nor is the child a descendant of a birth parent or of any lineal or collateral kindred of a birth parent, unless one or more of the following conditions apply:
- The child is adopted by a descendant or a spouse of a descendant of a great-grandparent of the child, in which case the adopted child is a child of both birth parents.
- A birth parent of the adopted child died before the child was adopted, in which case the adopted child is a child of that deceased parent and an heir of the lineal and collateral kindred of that deceased parent.
- The contrary intent is demonstrated by the terms of the instrument by clear and convincing evidence.
An adopted child is a descendant of the adopting parent for purposes of inheritance from the adopting parent and from the lineal and collateral kindred of the adopting parent and for the purpose of determining the property rights of any person under any instrument, unless the adopted child is adopted after age 18 and never resided with the adopting parent before age 18, in which case the adopted child is a child of the adopting parent but is not a descendant of the adopting parent for the purposes of inheriting from the lineal or collateral kindred of the adopting parent.
An adopting parent and the lineal and collateral kindred of the adopting parent shall inherit property from an adopted child to the exclusion of the birth parent and the lineal and collateral kindred of the birth parent in the same manner as though the adopted child were a birth child of the adopting parent.
Adopted Persons Who Are Not Included in a Will
This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.
Postadoption Contact Agreements Between Birth and Adoptive Families
These issues are not addressed in the statutes reviewed.
Laws Related to Intercountry Adoption
Effect and Recognition of a Foreign Adoption Decree
750 Ill. Comp. Stat. §§ 50/4.1(c)(8); 50/6(b)
When a child is adopted in a foreign country and a final, complete, and valid order of adoption is issued in that country, as determined by both the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Justice, this State shall not impose any additional preadoption requirements. The adoptive family, however, must comply with applicable requirements of the U.S. Department of Immigration and Naturalization Service*, as provided in § 204.4 (d)(2)(ii) of title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as now or hereafter amended.
In the case of a child born outside the United States or a territory thereof, in addition to the investigation required under § 50/6(A), a postplacement investigation shall be conducted in accordance with the requirements of the Child Care Act of 1969 [225 ILCS 10/1, et seq.], the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children [45 ILCS 15/0.01, et seq.], and regulations of the foreign placing agency and the supervising agency.
The requirements of a postplacement investigation shall be deemed to have been satisfied if a valid final order or judgment of adoption has been entered by a court of competent jurisdiction in a country other than the United States or a territory thereof with respect to such child and the petitioners.
[*As of March 1, 2003, the responsibility for providing immigration-related services was transferred from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a bureau of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The statutes do not yet reflect this change.]
Readoption After an Intercountry Adoption
This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.
Application for a U.S. Birth Certificate
410 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 535/16.1
The State Registrar of Vital Records will issue a record of foreign birth for a foreign-born person who has an IR-3 visa and who was adopted under the laws of a foreign country by a State resident when it receives:
- Evidence as to the child’s birth date and birthplace provided by the original birth certificate, or by a certified copy, extract, or translation of the original certificate, or by other document that is essentially equivalent
- A certified copy, extract, or translation of the adoption decree or by other document that is essentially equivalent
- A copy of the IR-3 visa
- The name and address of the adoption agency that handled the adoption
The record of foreign birth will include:
- The actual place and date of birth
- The child's name and parentage as ordered in the judgment of adoption
- Any other necessary facts
Child Welfare Information Gateway. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families. www.childwelfare.gov/adoption/laws/domestic.cfm#sss
- Ala. Code §§ 38-13-3(2) & (5); 38-13-2(30)