Adoption - Where to Begin?

Updated on July 15, 2014
M.P. asks from Chicago, IL
7 answers


My husband and I have two beautiful children but would like to expand our family with one more. We would like to consider adoption this time. I know just about nothing about it and have no idea where to start. We are more interested in a child that is between 1 and 3 years of age as opposed to an infant or newborn. Domestic or international? Public or private? I have read some things online but a lot of it seems like generic information - I am looking more for people's personal experiences. Any information that would point us in the right directions would be helpful. (We live in Illinois).


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answers from New York on

I think a lot depends on you and what you feel is right for your family. I was scared to put myself and my family through fostering or trying to adopt a child and then not being successful after bonding with the child, so we adopted internationally, when the baby or child comes home the adoption is totally final. Important books to read include; Eyes Wide Open and Toddler Adoption:The Weavers Craft. Good luck and keep us updated!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dayton on

M., Have you considered becoming a foster parent first? I know nothing about the process in Illinois but in Ohio, at least around here, you'd be able to specify interest in foster-to-adoption.

It is a very in-depth process of attending classes, in-home interviews & inspections, a detailed application process which includes fingerprinting and back-ground checks. In the application process you can specify the age and sex of the child that you want to welcome into your family. The application process starts with the Dept of Job & Family Services. Possibly give them a call in your area & they may be able to answer some of your questions & lead you in the right direction.

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

Contact your state family services division and ask them about their process. I am sure they will have something posted online as well.

Our county/state is begging us to foster children right now. I guess the numbers are high.

My cousin fostered 2 children from our county. Eventually, there was a hearing and the mother lost her parental rights. My cousin then adopted both children. They are now 9 and 13, brother and sister. They have other siblings, however the others live with their fathers and were not a part of the case.

She has fostered a few other children, two which are in college and now two baby twin girls, which she will adopt soon.

I would say the private, public, domestic, international question, depends on where your heart is at.



answers from Pittsburgh on

I would suggest you call your local department of children and youth. They can refer you to your local public adoption agency. Even if you decide not to go with local public adoption in the end, they will give you a wealth of information about the joys and challenges of adoption, as well as information about the process.



answers from Chicago on

Adopting from the state foster system is a relatively easy and quick process. You can either get licensed through Dcfs or a private agency who has a contract with Dcfs. In Illinois, you must have a foster care license even if you will only be accepting an adoption placement because the child will be considered a foster child until finalization. The agency will do one or two home visits to make sure your house meets the minimum standards as well as to discuss your family and background for the homestudy. They will also discuss with you the type of child you best feel prepared to parent. You will need to take PRIDE classes which provide you a lot of information about the process and the children in the system. You will also need to be fingerprinted. Once you are approved and licensed you can actively begin looking for your child. You may receive phone calls about different children. Once you have been identified as a good home for a specific child a transition plan will be put in place. It basically outlines the visits needed for the child to move into your home. Once the child is living with you, there will be a six month wait before finalizing the adoption. Your worker will visit a few times during this time to help with any issues you may be having. Then, you go to court. Adopting a child over age one qualifies the child for adoption assistance. You will negotiate what this will include before finalization, but it basically provides you with ongoing monthly payments to help provide for the child. The entire process took me about 3 months. Feel free to pm me if you would like any more specific information.



answers from Milwaukee on

Have you considered adopting a special needs child from another country? For example, a friend with a downs child said that kids with Downs Syndrome are institutionalized at birth in Russia. Her girlfriend adopted one of these children and is so happy. What a horrible life for children with such potential.
Good luck and bless you!


answers from Washington DC on

Based on the ages you're interested in, I recommend foster-to-adopt. We are foster to adopt parents and have fostered our two (now adopted children). One was placed at 5 weeks (now 3.5 yo), while the other was placed at 3 months (now 14 mos tomorrow). It took our oldest's birth mother 18 mos to realize she couldn't parent, and that time was filled with traumatic visitations for both she and the child. Our youngest's birth mother has 9 other children that she doesn't have custody of anymore and reached her decision rather quickly (like within 3 weeks quick with no visits) because another local jurisdiction was headed to court to terminate her rights involuntarily. Fostering is not for the faint of heart, but it is rewarding.

I went back through some of my old answers and found these questions related to adoption for you. The questions and answers may help you with your decisions ...

I also highly recommend the Adoptive Families on-line forums. They are free and you do not have to be a adopting with them or a subscriber to their magazine to have access, though I do recommend the magazine. There are also lots of books about adoption. Once you make a decision on how to adopt, spend that waiting time reading all you can about the kind of child you're hoping to bring home .... Domestic, foster, international ....

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