Proposed Law Would Speed up International Adoptions


While all adoptions involve no small amount of legal requirements and bureaucracy, international adoptions can add some extra difficulties because of the many different government entities involved. This is especially true in Illinois. Illinois is the last state in the country to have a position known as an Intercountry Adoption Coordinator. The Intercountry Adoption Coordinator is an additional state office official that needs to approve an international adoption on top of the usual offices that need to approve it in other states. This creates problems because it slows down the process, and lets adoptions rest on the unpredictable judgment of one person.

In recognition of this concerns created by the office, a bill has been introduced in the Illinois House to remove the Intercountry Adoption Coordinators position, allowing the international adoption process to move more predictably and more swiftly. Currently, the bill is awaiting debate in the Illinois Senate before it can potentially be voted on.

The Intercountry Adoption Coordinator

The Intercountry Adoption Coordinator is a position within the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services who is responsible for approving international adoptions in Illinois. The Intercountry Adoption Coordinator enters the process following the home study, a written report performed by a social worker who investigates and interviews the potential parents. That home study then goes to the adoption coordinator who must approve the findings in it before the adoption is allowed to proceed.

The New Bill

The new bill eliminates the Intercountry Adoption Coordinator based on two concerns about how the position hinders the international adoption process. First, the extra layer naturally slows down the process. This is especially true because there is only one person who can make the approval, which forms a bureaucratic bottleneck. It comes after a licensed social worker has already studied and approved the adoption. However, the Intercountry Adoption Coordinator can request extra documentation beyond that study, which can slow the process down even more.

Beyond the issues with speed, the bottleneck created by the Intercountry Adoption Coordinator also creates concerns about predictability. Leaving the decision up to one person introduces their own views and feelings into the mix. While the Intercountry Adoption Coordinator has the best interests of the child at heart, they are still only one person and there are many issues with adoptions that reasonable people could disagree about. Having only one person act as a gatekeeper makes it difficult to determine which side of those issues they will come down on.

Importantly, the bill still needs to make its way through the Illinois State Legislature before it becomes law. Regardless, dealing with the legal complexities surrounding international or domestic adoptions can be difficult. If you are considering adoption and want to learn more about the process, contact an experienced Naperville family law attorney today.

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