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Can same-sex couples adopt in Illinois?

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Families of all types desire to take part in the beautiful tradition of adoption, but may face certain roadblocks depending on the makeup of their family unit and the specific adoption laws of the state where they live. Some states do not recognize the right for LGBT individuals or couples to adopt, which may make for a stressful adoption process for prospective parents, depending on where they are residing. Fortunately for same-sex couples in Illinois, the law is generally in their favor.

The good news for LGBT individuals and same-sex couples in Illinois is that the state has been a leader in recognizing their rights to be adoptive parents since 1995. While this is welcome news for many hopeful parents, there are still a number of laws that may present roadblocks to growing a family. The state requires, among other things, that all prospective adoptive parents be at least 18 years of age. Also, for any individual who is attempting to adopt while in a marriage or civil union, his or her partner must also adopt simultaneously.

Same-sex couples are subject to the same state-specific adoption laws as anyone else. Illinois law stipulates that mothers giving a child up for adoption are granted the right to name a child, as well make various medical decisions for the child. Adoption is finalized under an adoption order which is generally granted six months after the child is placed in the adoptive home, at which time a new birth certificate is issued with the adoptive parents' names. This preliminary placement period is the same for all couples, and is not seen as a "trial period" in which the birthparent may reverse one's decision and request the return of the child.

Same-sex couples in Illinois are fortunate that the state has their interests in mind, but adoption is still a lengthy and difficult process. Any couple wishing to adopt, especially a same-sex couple who may experience unfair difficulty in the process, may find that some guidance and representation by an experienced attorney can help to ensure that their rights are protected as they seek to grow their family.

Source: equalityillinois.us, "Adoption," accessed Aug. 19, 2016

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