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Wheaton, IL family law attorney for Safe Haven Law adoptionBeing a parent is one of the greatest responsibilities in the world. Parents who worry about their ability to take on this tremendous responsibility may make the decision to relinquish their parental rights and place their children for adoption. Many parents choose to do this because they realize that financial problems, addictions, or other concerns will prevent them from giving their child the life he or she deserves. However, some parents are not in a position to go through the traditional methods of adoption, and they may choose to take advantage of Illinois’ “Safe Haven Law.” If you are considering adopting a child in Illinois, you may want to learn about this law and how it can affect your adoption.  

The Illinois Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act

Making the decision to give up an infant is one of the hardest things a person can do. Parents may not only mourn the loss of their child, they may also fear retribution for giving the infant up for adoption. Sometimes, a mother chooses to relinquish her parental rights at the hospital immediately after the infant is born. Other times, a mother cannot or will not place the baby for adoption in the usual manner. 

In order to allow parents to relinquish infants safely and without fear of prosecution, Illinois passed the Illinois Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act, which is nicknamed the “Safe Haven Law.” This law allows parents to relinquish their babies at police stations, fire departments, and emergency medical facilities. The purpose of the law is to prevent infants from being dangerously abandoned in unsafe places. It allows parents to relinquish infants anonymously, without facing criminal charges for child abandonment.

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DuPage County private adoption attorneyChoosing to adopt a child can be a wonderful, life-changing decision. However, the adoption process can be full of legal complications and potential pitfalls. If you are considering adoption, it is important to educate yourself about the obstacles that you may encounter. It is also important to work with an adoption attorney who has experience successfully addressing these issues.

Relative Adoptions

One of the most common types of adoption in Illinois is relative adoption. Adopting a stepchild or other relative is often more straightforward than other types of adoption, but it can also involve many legal challenges. A child can only have two parents, so in some cases, the child’s biological parent or parents may need to relinquish their parental rights before the adoption can occur. However, many parents are unwilling to do so, or they may choose to contest the adoption in court. If parents do not voluntarily relinquish their parental rights, they may lose their parental rights after being deemed “unfit” by the court. Neglect, abuse, abandonment, severe drug addiction, and other issues that may lead a court to terminate a parent’s parental rights.

Private Adoptions

In a private adoption, the adoptive parents adopt a child directly from the biological parents. In most cases, no adoption agencies or outside organizations are involved. Unfortunately, private adoption scams and fraud are not uncommon. Birth mothers may misrepresent themselves, take money from adoptive parents with no intention of ever following through with the adoption, or even pretend to be pregnant for financial gain. Birth mothers may also change their minds about the adoption after giving birth. It is absolutely essential to work with an adoption attorney if you plan to pursue a private adoption.

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Naperville adoption attorney

Choosing to adopt a child is a wonderful opportunity and a chance to give a child in need a loving and healthy home. If you are considering adoption, you need to know that the process can be lengthy and complicated. It is important to find a qualified adoption lawyer to help you meet your legal requirements and ensure that nothing will stop you from providing a loving home to an adoptive child.

Naturally, there are differences between raising an adopted child and a biological child. You will likely want to discuss the adoption with your child, and the way you approach these conversations can be different, depending on the child’s age, the circumstances of the adoption, and your relationship with them. While conversations about adoption can be tricky, and they are likely to provoke a variety of questions from a child, planning for how to address these issues can ensure that you approach the subject in the right way, strengthening your relationship with your child. Here are a few tips to make the conversation easier:  

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Naperville adoption attorneyThose who are looking to adopt a child may give an orphan the opportunity to have a future family and home, and this can be very beneficial for everyone involved. There are children all over the world who need homes, and international adoption allows parents to provide these children with the family life they need. However, the adoption process can be lengthy and difficult, and if you are considering adopting a child from another country, the legal steps to follow can be even more complicated and stressful. In recent years, countries like Ethiopia, South Korea, Romania, Guatemala, China, Kazakhstan, and Russia have all reduced the number of international adoptions allowed. In fact, between 2005 and 2015, international adoptions dropped by 72 percent, decreasing from 46,000 to 12,000, with only 5,500 children being adopted by U.S. parents.

Claims Regarding the Safety of Children

When reducing the number of international adoptions, some countries have stated that these decisions were made to ensure the safety of adoptive children. When banning or curtailing international adoptions to the U.S., Russia and Ethiopia both cited cases of negligence from American parents which resulted in a child’s death. However, research has shown that in the past two decades, only 19 children who were adopted from Russia by U.S. parents died because of abuse or neglect, out of a total of 60,000 adoptive children. This statistic has led some to believe that these bans are not motivated by a desire for child safety, but are in fact related to international politics.

Politics and International Adoption

International relations heavily impact whether or not a country will allow its children to be adopted by parents from another country. For example, Russia stopped adoptions to the United States two weeks after the U.S passed the Magnitsky Act in 2012. This law imposed sanctions on some Russian officials who had been accused of corruption, and the adoption ban was apparently implemented in response. This is far from the only instance of adoption bans being motivated by politics; South Korea temporarily banned international adoptions after a bad year at the 1988 Olympics, and it was believed that they no longer wanted to “export their greatest commodity.”

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Wheaton adoption attorney safe haven lawWhenever children are involved in a legal matter, the law tries to be extra sensitive. If a mother feels she can not properly take care of her infant, she can give it up for adoption. However, in situations in which a mother believes she cannot follow the usual adoption process, she has options under the Illinois Safe Haven Law. For those who are considering adopting a child, it is important to understand how this law may affect their situation.

Origins of the Illinois Safe Haven Law

The Illinois Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act (commonly known as the Safe Haven Law) allows a mother to surrender a child anonymously without fear of criminal prosecution or civil liability. Texas was the first state in the U.S. to pass a version of this law in 1999, and Illinois followed two years later. By 2008, all 50 states had a version of the Safe Haven Law, which is often nicknamed the “Baby Moses Law.”

In Illinois, the law initially covered babies three days old or younger. In 2009, the cut-off date was extended to 30 days.

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