For children placed in foster care, there can be an intense desire to be placed in a stable home with a loving family. Over the past decade, programs sponsored by the State of Illinois have helped place over 15,000 children into permanent homes. The decision to bring a child into the home is a life-changing decision for a family and the adopted child. Illinois allows for two processes to take place in order to place a child permanently in a home – adoption and guardianship.
Adoption is a legal process through which an adoptive parent assumes all rights and responsibilities of a child in foster care, including the care, supervision, and custody of the child, as if the adoptive parent actually gave birth to the child. Adoption terminates the rights of the birth parent. Adoption can occur through one of four avenues:
- Agency assisted adoption – an adoptive parent works with a licensed adoption agency to adopt a child within the United States;
- International adoption – an adoptive parent works with a licensed adoption agency to adopt a child outside of the United States;
- Private adoption – an adoptive parent works with an adoption attorney to adopt a child within the United States; or
- Foster care – an adoptive parent becomes a licensed foster parent and provides long term care for a foster child. If the child is not able to return to the birth parent, a foster parent can convert to an adoption.
What Is Guardianship?...