Contrary to popular belief and rumor, there are children available for adoption in the United States. While the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) does not usually have healthy Caucasian infants available for adoption, DCFS does have healthy Black and Bi-racial infants available for adoption. There are private agencies in Illinois that have active placement programs for healthy Caucasian, Black and Bi-racial infants. Federal and Illinois law prohibits discrimination in placement based on race. The majority of healthy Caucasian infants are not placed by agencies, but are, instead, private adoptions. If you are considering adopting a domestic child of a different race, you should consider your abilities and attitudes as well as the acceptance the child will find in your family, with your friends and in your neighborhood. An agency social worker can assist you in making effective parenting plans for a transracial adoption.
Children with Special Needs
Many children with special needs are available for adoption (both domestically and internationally). These children may be older (grade school through teens); have emotional, physical, or mental disabilities; or be sibling groups who desire to be adopted together. Usually, these children are in the custody of the DCFS. Both DCFS and private agencies place children with special needs. In many cases, financial assistance in the form of an adoption subsidy is available to help parents with the legal, medical, and living costs associated with caring for a child with special needs. If you are considering adopting a special needs child, you should consult with medical providers and/or counselors specialized in the area of the child’s needs. If possible you should find someone who is parenting a child with the same special needs so that you can learn as much as possible about the reality of parenting a child with this type of special needs. Please remember that not all “special needs” children are identical. It is important that you fully understand the child’s individual needs before you adopt.
Native American Children
Adopting a child with American Indian heritage is always a complicated matter. If a child has American Indian heritage, both Federal and Tribal law applies to the adoption. The Tribe actually has more of a say in who adopts an American Indian child than the biological parents of that child. Basically, without the Tribe’s permission, there will be no adoption. If you are not an American Indian, it is unwise to intentionally seek to adopt an American Indian child. If an adoption plan has been made, either through and agency or privately, and the child happens to have an American Indian heritage, it is essential that legal assistance be immediately obtained so that the Tribe’s rights and position on the proposed adoption can be determined as swiftly as possible.
Many children from other countries are available for adoption by American families. There are strict immigration requirements for adopting children from other countries, as well as substantial agency fees, transportation, legal and medical costs. Many private agencies place children from foreign countries. It is important that anyone seeking to adopt a foreign child work with a licensed, knowledgeable organization. The international adoption process is lengthy, complex and expensive.
State Ward Children
There are many children who are legally free for adoption who are wards of their State’s Department of Children’s Services. While many of these children have special needs, not all of them do.