Learn More about Adoption in Illinois

Over the last decade, more than 15,000 children got the chance they deserve to love and be loved, and to reach their fullest potential thanks to families across our state that chose to adopt through the Department of Children and Family Services. By providing a child with a loving and permanent home, adoptive families have discovered the unique joy of making a life-changing difference to a child. It’s a feeling you can’t get any other way. At the same time, the decision to add a child to your family is serious and life changing. We want to help you make sure that opening your heart and your life to a child is the right decision for the child and your family. If you choose to adopt, DCFS and their non-profit partners are committed to providing your new family with the help you need.

What is Adoption?

Adoption establishes you as the child’s legal parent with all the rights and responsibilities of a child born to you. Once a child is adopted, DCFS is no longer involved in or responsible for the care, supervision, or custody of the child. As the adoptive parent, you assume all rights and responsibilities to make important decisions for your child, including the right to consent to major medical care and treatment, to marriage, to enlistment in the armed services. Adoption is permanent and lifelong, and is only possible when the birth parents have voluntarily given up their parental rights or their rights are terminated by the court.

If you are interested in finding more information about becoming a foster parent in Illinois to open your home to children in need of a safe haven, find more information online here.

What is Guardianship?

Guardianship is another permanency option for children when it has been determined that both returning home and adoption have been ruled out. Guardianship is frequently used by relative caregivers who wish to provide a permanent home for a child in his or her care, and can be considered for children who have been living in the home of licensed relatives for a period of six consecutive months. Guardianship means that the court appoints you as the child’s legal guardian. It differs from adoption because the birth parents’ rights do not have to be terminated in order to appoint a guardian. When you are appointed guardian of the child, DCFS will not be involved in the care, supervision or legal custody of the child. Guardianship lasts until the child reaches the age of 18. Families becoming guardians of children in the care of DCFS may receive financial and non-financial assistance and resources.

Who are the Children Waiting to be Adopted?

They come from all across the state, from all ages and backgrounds. Many are in need of a loving home not only for themselves, but also a little brother or sister. DCFS offers special supports to help families offer a loving home to children with medical difficulties or other special needs.

Most children waiting to be adopted are living temporarily with relatives or other foster families. Some live in larger, professionally-staffed group settings. DCFS maintains an online listing with pictures and descriptions of children in need of a loving family, which can be found here.

Become an Adoptive Parent

You can submit your interest in becoming an adoptive parent in the State of Illinois online here. You will need an attorney to represent you if you adopt a child from foster care who is under the guardianship of DCFS. It is your right as an adoptive parent to choose your own attorney. Find more information on Illinois Adoption Legal Resources online here.

You can also find Illinois Licenses Adoption Agencies online here. If you have questions about whether an agency is licensed to provide services in Illinois, contact the Adoption Support Line at 1-877-746-0829.

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