Adoption Law

For those seeking to establish a new family relationship through a formal adoption process, Stern Perkoski Mendez offers thorough, sensitive legal adoption services in Evanston, Chicago, Lake Forest, Oak Brook and the surrounding suburbs.

We work with our clients to ensure that all adoption procedures are carefully followed, to ensure the best and swiftest possible outcome in your adoption case. Whether a straightforward adoption or one requiring litigation, we always prioritize the well-being and emotional health of the child or children—and strive to find the solutions that work best for your entire family.

Stern Perkoski Mendez’s adoption law practice is led by Evan Compton, Esq. Evan’s career in family law was inspired by a unique, personal history with adoption and through his work with adoptive families. This passion makes him a fierce yet sympathetic ally, guide and advocate—one who works diligently to ensure every family has the information, resources and attention to detail they need to navigate this process.

What happens during an adoption?

Adoptions in Illinois are regulated by the Illinois Adoption Act. This legislation outlines the procedures that must be followed, and the rights of all of the people involved in the adoption.

Following the law is the key to a successful adoption. As soon as would-be parents decide that they wish to adopt, they should consult with a lawyer—who will prepare the necessary legal papers and represent the adoptive parents in the court proceedings. Stern Perkoski Mendez is well-versed in these procedures and will guide you through every stage of the process.

Once all parties—including any children age 14 or older—agree to an official adoption agreement, the newly formed family will appear before a judge at least once. This is usually when the Petition for Adoption is filed. In most well-prepared cases, a judge will then enter a temporary order of custody so that the new family can live together while the process is finalized.

A Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) will be appointed by the court to serve as an impartial adult who advocates for the child’s best interests. The GAL is an attorney exclusively for the child, and collects facts from all sides to ensure that the child is placed in an appropriate home that can meet all of their needs. The GAL may complete a home inspection, perform a background check and speak with the adults involved in the adoption case.

When all the adoption paperwork, interviews and investigations are complete, the lawyer will present all the relevant documents to the judge. These can include letters of recommendation, medical records and financial statements. The judge will then enter a judgment of adoption. A new birth certificate will be issued for the child, showing the adoptive parent or parents.

Married, single or divorced people can adopt a child. While a single or divorced person can adopt a child on their own, a married couple seeking to adopt must both join in the petition, unless they have been separated for more than a year.

What kinds of adoption are there?

Stern Perkoski Mendez supports our clients through several different types of adoption:

  • Agency adoptions: These are adoptions in which agencies licensed by Illinois place children for adoption with foster or adoptive parents. The agency interviews and examines the homes of these prospective parents before placing a child with them, in order to ensure that the child’s physical, emotional and financial needs are met. If a birth parent decides to place their child for adoption with an agency, they must sign a document surrendering their child to the agency and allowing them to be placed with adoptive parents.
  • Private adoptions: Also known as “independent,” “direct” or “unrelated non-agency adoptions,” private adoptions enable the adoption of a child without the involvement of an Illinois-licenced agency. In such cases, a birth parent or parents will coordinate the placement of their child with an adopting family through the services of an attorney. Private adoptions are also commonly used for step-parent adoptions.
  • Foreign adoptions: In these increasingly common adoptions, the child is adopted in his or her country of birth, usually arranged through a specialized agency. The family will travel to finalize proceedings and arrange transportation back to the United States with the child. Once they return, there will be another adoption process under Illinois law.
  • Adult adoptions: In the state of Illinois, adults can be adopted with their consent, by a relative or by a person they have lived with for a minimum of two years.

Contact Our Adoption Law Firm in Evanston, Chicago, Lake Forest and Oak Brook

If you are looking to adopt a child in Illinois, contact Stern Perkoski Mendez by requesting a free consultation online or calling us at (847) 868-9584. We can meet with you in our offices in Evanston, Chicago, Lake Forest and Oak Brook or at another location.

Our boutique family law firm is based in Evanston, Chicago, Lake Forest and Oak Brook. We serve clients across Cook County and the North Shore, as well as Lake, DuPage and Will Counties.


“Josh was trustworthy and ethical, which most attorneys are not. He managed to help me reconcile with my wife and truly is an exceptional man.”

Michael, Evanston
For a free consultation, call Stern Perkoski Mendez at (847) 868-9584 or contact us.