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Illinois Adoption Laws

The adoption process, including rules for who may adopt, is governed by state laws. Illinois adoption laws state that any child, any adult residing in the adoptive home for two years, and any relative may be adopted. In order to adopt in Illinois, the adoptive parent must establish residency in the state for at least six months unless waived by the court.

In 2010 a new law was passed that made it easier for adoptees to get easier access to birth certificates and thus find out the identities of their biological parents.

Before the change, adoptees often would have to get a court order to view their birth certificate that provides such information as the time and place a person was born.

Under the new statute, anyone adopted before 1946 can gain immediate access to their birth certificates by filing a written request with the vital records division of the Illinois Department of Public Health via the state's adoption registry.

While the law allows access to birth records, it does not guarantee that those adopted will find out who their biological parents are. That's because a privacy provision allows parents to decide if they want their identity to remain secret. If one parent opts out and the other does not, the adoptee would still be able to find out the name of one of their birth parents. If both parents opt out, the adoptee may still get a redacted version of their birth record, without any parent names.

Learn more about Illinois adoption laws in the table below. See FindLaw's extensive Adoption section for more articles and resources.

Code Section 750 ILCS 50/1 to 50/24; No
Who May Be Adopted Any child; any adult residing in home 2 years, or a relative.
Age that Child's Consent Needed 14 years and older
Who May Adopt Any reputable person of legal age who has resided continually in Illinois for at least 6 months. Residency requirement waived in adoption of relative. If petitioner is married, spouse must join in petition. Minor may also petition by leave of court upon good cause shown.
Home Residency Required Prior to Finalization of Adoption? 6 months unless waived by court
State Agency/Court Department of Children and Family Services/Circuit Court
Statute of Limitations to Challenge 1 year after entry of order

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact an Illinois adoption attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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