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Wheaton open adoption attorneyMany people may not have heard the term “open adoption” before. The concept of an open adoption is a relatively new one--it started gaining popularity in the United States in the 1980s and 90s. Now, it is estimated that the vast majority of domestic adoptions (nearly 95 percent) involve some degree of openness. Open adoptions are gaining popularity due to the benefits they provide for birth parents and the children themselves.

What Is an Open Adoption?

In a traditional or closed adoption, the identities of the birth parents are kept confidential, and they have no contact with the adoptive family before or after the child is adopted. In these cases, the thought process tended to be that if the birth parents knew where the child was, they might attempt to take the child back at some point. However, this would be against the law, because once a child is adopted, the adoptive family is considered the child’s legal family.

In an open adoption, one or both of the birth parents are involved in the child’s life to varying degrees or have some form of contact with the adoptive family. There are no set types of open adoptions; rather, each open adoption is structured to meet the families’ needs. The adoption could be fully open, where the child, adoptive family, and birth parents have regular contact with each other and form relationships, or the adoption could be semi-open or mediated, meaning the families communicate indirectly with each other through an adoption agency.

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Winfield international adoption lawyerAdoption has been in the news more than usual of late. The reason: politics. Surprisingly, the issue of adoption is at the center of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of possible obstruction of justice on the part of the current U.S. presidential administration. While some people believe that members of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign met with Russian officials with the purpose of influencing the 2016 presidential election, the administration contends that its members met with a prominent Russian attorney to discuss the issue of the adoption of Russian children. 

Beyond its political dimension, this news highlights the increased complexity of situations in which adoptive parents and children are of different nationalities. In these cases, it is important to secure the services of an attorney who understands the laws surrounding international adoption. 

The Hague Convention Applies to Intercountry Adoption

For a strictly domestic adoption of a child by an Illinois resident or family, the Illinois Adoption Act is applicable. However, in the case of intercountry adoption, in which a citizen of one country adopts a child from another country, one must look to both the laws of the country of which the child is a citizen and the Hague Convention. 

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