In 2001, The Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act was passed in Illinois. This Act protects parents of infants 30 days old and younger from prosecution for child abandonment by giving them the option to leave their babies with the staff of any police station, hospital, staffed fire station, or emergency care center without having to answer any questions or provide their identities. The parents can simply leave, knowing that their infants are safe and will be made available for adoption by a loving family. Any parent who surrenders an infant may leave anonymous medical information with the infant, but is not obligated to do so.
What Happens to Infants Left Under the Act?
When an infant is relinquished under Illinois’ Safe Haven law, the facility that receives the child is required to provide any needed medical care. A representative from the facility must also notify the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to arrange for the child’s care. If the child’s birth parent does not return for him or her within 60 days, the parent relinquishes his or her parental rights and the child may be adopted through an agency.
The Adoption Process
If you are interested in adopting one of these children or any of the thousands of others waiting for permanent, loving homes, you should contact a family attorney to discuss the legal aspects of adopting a child and develop an adoption plan. You have a multitude of options, including adopting a child from another country or privately arranging an adoption with somebody you know. If you choose to adopt through an adoption agency, you will need to locate a state-approved adoption agency and begin the process of having your home approved.
There is no minimum income requirement for prospective adoptive parents in Illinois, nor are prospective parents required to be married. They must, however, meet the following requirements to be approved to adopt a child:
- Be at least 21 years old;
- Prove that they can financially provide for a child; and
- Not have a criminal record that may preclude him or her from becoming a parent. Any individual with a criminal record, regardless of the nature of his or her crime, should discuss it with an attorney before beginning contact with an adoption agency to determine how the criminal record may affect his or her eligibility to adopt.
The next step is to complete a home study. This can take up to six months and involves a caseworker from the agency visiting the prospective parent’s home and determining whether it is suitable for a child. The caseworker generally looks for any health or safety hazards and whether the home has enough space. During the home study, the caseworker also investigates the parent’s lifestyle and fitness to be a parent. If you are approved after your home study, you may be matched with a child and begin the process of adoption.
Family Attorneys in Illinois
If you are considering adopting a child, call 630-377-7770 to schedule your free consultation with a dedicated Kane County family law attorney at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C.. We can answer any questions you have about the adoption process and Illinois’ Safe Haven law. We proudly advocate for parents and families throughout the Northern Illinois region.