Many people choose adoption for various reasons, such as a desire to expand their family, especially if they cannot have children of their own. However, adoption is a significant undertaking under any circumstances, and the process of adoption can be intimidating due to the emotional complications and legal intricacies involved. For many families, classes and support groups are great resources to help prepare the parents and the child for the transition. It is also helpful to talk to a law firm that has experience in adoptions to make sure you complete all the necessary legal steps.
Pre-Service Training Classes
Adoption establishes the adoptive parent as a child’s legal parent with all the rights and responsibilities of a child born to him or her. Sometimes, parents may choose to serve as foster parents first and eventually adopt the foster children at a later date. According to Illinois adoption laws, any child or any adult residing in an adoptive home for two years may be adopted, and family members are allowed to adopt any relative. The adoptive parent must be a resident of the state for at least six months; however, this requirement can sometimes be waived by the court, depending on the situation.
The required classes to become a foster parent or adopt are often called “pre-service training.” These classes typically are taken right before or in conjunction with a prospective parent’s application to foster or adopt. If two people are co-parenting, both of them are required to attend.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) requires families to take six hours of education and training before it will issue a Foster Family Home License (FFHL). Each licensed foster parent is required to take a total of 16 hours of training throughout the four-year duration of the license.
Pre-service training programs provide prospective parents with a great deal of important and useful information. They can help give the new parents an understanding of what their adopted child has been through leading up to the adoption, as well as advice on how to integrate the child into their new family. These types of programs are also a great opportunity to meet with other adoptive families and share information about becoming a foster parent or adopting a child.
Adoptive parents are in a unique parenting situation compared to parents who are raising biological children. Finding a support group with other adoptive parents who are experiencing the same feelings and challenges can be beneficial for not only the parents but the adopted child as well. They can exchange ideas on how to communicate with their new child and tips for bonding with him or her, as well as guidelines for discipline. No two adoptions stories are exactly the same, but many adoptive parents can relate to the journey of becoming a family this way.
Adoption support groups are usually open to both the adopted children and birth parents. Some groups welcome anyone impacted by adoption, including siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. A few groups are open exclusively to adoptees or birth parents. Other groups may be specifically targeted to single parents or same-sex couples.
One of the largest adoption support groups in the Midwest, the Chicago Area Families For Adoption (CAFFA) provides information and support to all members of the adoption triad in the Chicagoland area. Adoption triad is a term used to describe the three-sided relationship between birth parents, adoptive parents, and the adoptee. In addition to helping helps people affected by adoption connect with support groups, CAFFA holds annual events to promote adoption.
Contact an Oak Park Adoption Lawyer
Adoption can be a wonderful way to expand your family, but it can also be a challenging transition. Regardless of the age of the adoptee, adoption classes and support groups can provide valuable information and assistance. You should also contact an experienced Cook County family law attorney to learn how to navigate the adoption process legally. Call 708-480-9651 today to schedule a free consultation and learn how Wakenight and Associates, P.C. can help you.