February 26th, 2011

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Illinois adoption process/parenting of a deaf child

Set in Chicago, five-to-ten years in the future, Characters A and B are a same sex couple looking to adopt. Their relationship is stable, and more than five years old, at the least, and the child that they're looking to adopt is mostly deaf.

My problem is, I am basically clueless about adoption - I've Googled 'American adoption process', and then the more specific 'Illinois adoption process', and there are some great websites out there, particularly the State Department website (though that is intercountry adoption, and they're going to be adopting an American child). The Family Resource Centre website was also helpful, but it seems mostly geared towards helping parents find a birth mother, or placing a child for adoption, and to be honest, I'm such a novice, I would really appreciate it if someone could take the time to walk me through it.

The child they're looking to adopt is, in my mind, a four to five year old girl, apparently bright and very engaging, but mostly deaf. (Again, in my mind, she was going to be adopted by another couple, but the adoption fell through when they/the state realised the girl was deaf - is this plausible?) I had a look through the 'adoption' tag here, and came across a great entry here to which someone replied that a deaf child would ideally be placed with foster parents who knew how to cope with his/her deafness; what would my characters have to do to even be considered?

I've googled: American adoption process, Illinois adoption process, adoption agencies, adoption cost, same-sex adoption, adoption of disabled children, parenting deaf children, support systems for the deaf, sign language, and 'acquisition of sign language'. I'd just really appreciate any further information; anecdotal or purely factual are both fantastic.

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I'm sorry if I come across as a bit of a tool; I'm just very ignorant about this, and too wedded to the idea to give it up unless it's totally unfeasible. (And it's my first time posting here, so I hope I haven't grossly offended anyone/made any mistakes!)