Birth parents can choose to involve an agency in the adoption process or handle the selection of the adoptive parents for themselves. In cases where a relative adopts the child from the birth parents, the law does not require an agency to oversee the adoption. Both parents must sign over their parental rights as part of the process unless a judge rules one unfit based on that parent's level of interest and responsibility in the child's welfare.
If the parents select an unrelated person or couple to adopt their child, an authorized adoption agency must investigate the home to ensure that it is fit for the child after the parents file the adoption petition with the court. Adoptive parents cannot receive payment in return for signing an agreement to adopt the child, but the adoptive parents can pay reasonable living expenses for the duration of the pregnancy and one month after the birth if they have a court order allowing them to do so.
If the parents use an adoption agency to help place the child, they can choose whether they would like to approve of the adoptive parents as part of the process or not. In either case, they sign a document surrendering their parental rights to the child. The agency will only place the child with a licensed foster parent for adoption and will inspect the home and interview the adoptive parents to ensure that it is a good fit for the child.
As part of the adoption process, the judge will usually issue a temporary order to place the child with the family for about six months before finalizing the adoption. Normally an attorney will handle the finalization, so the parents and child will not need to appear in court after the initial order.
Source: Illinois State Bar Association , "Your Guide to Adoption", , October 11, 2014