Section 750 of the Illinois Adoption Act allows for parents of a minor child to voluntarily terminate parental rights for the purpose of adoption. In most cases, only written consent and an affidavit filed with the court is all that is required. However, when prospective adoptive parents are not available, a hearing can be set and testimony given to determine what is in the best interests of the child.
The state of Illinois requires, where possible, the father of a child to be notified before the child can be adopted. However, in many cases the father is either not listed on the birth certificate, or can not be located. The Putative Father Registry (PFR) gives men who may be the father of a child the opportunity to be notified should a petition for adoption be filed. If the individual is registered with the PFR and a motion for adoption is filed, the father will be sent a notice to the address on record. Attached to the notice will be a response form. If you wish to consent to the adoption, simply fill in the form and return it within 30 days. An individual may receive a consent to adoption form even if he is not listed with the PFR. If the mother has listed the individual as the father and he can be located, he will receive the same form.
Surrendering the Child
When parents are no longer able to care for a child, the state of Illinois allows the parent to voluntarily surrender and remand the child to state custody for the purpose of adoption. In order to accomplish this, the parents must complete form CFS 435- "Final and Irrevocable Surrender to an Agency for Purposes of Adoption of a Born Child." The name, age and address of the consenting parent, as well as the name, gender, date and place of birth must be supplied. The form must be signed and notarized, and presented to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
When the primary custodian of the child remarries and a relationship is established between the child and stepparent, the custodial parent may petition the court for a stepparent adoption. In order for a stepparent adoption to be granted, the parental rights of the non custodial parent must be terminated. A consensual termination of rights requires a signed affidavit filed with the court handling the adoption stating that you are the biological parent of the child, you acknowledge the child is being considered for adoption, and you consent to the adoption.
Reversal of Voluntary Termination
According to Section 11 of the Illinois Adoption Act, once a parent has consented to terminate parental rights for the purpose of adoption, it cannot be undone unless the consent was given under fraud or duress. However, Section 2-34 of the Illinois Juvenile Court Act of 1987 states that The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) can file a motion to reinstate parental rights of a child who is a ward of the state when one of the following conditions are met:
The minor child was placed in the guardianship of another individual and the child is found by the court to be abused or neglected, the child was adopted and the court finds the child to be abused or neglected, the parental rights of the adoptive parents are either voluntarily or involuntarily terminated, or the adoptive parents are deceased, the child is in a placement that is not likely to achieve permanency, it is in the best interest of the child or if the parent requesting the reinstatement is in a position to provide adequately for the child.