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.
a) what's the process for getting to know a kid you're looking at potentially adopting? Are you always supposed to foster them first, see how it goes?
b) How long does adoption normally take? Would the same-sex element mean things take longer?
c) Would they even be considered, given that they have no previous experience dealing with deafness? What would they have to do to get themselves in the running?
c) How much would it effect their chances that Character A's job means he's not at home as much as regular folks?
d) Cost - I can find ballpark figures online, but can anyone break down the costs for me? The adoption agency I was looking at 'fictionalising' is quite useful for this, but since I don't understand every item on their break-down of the fees, it would be great if someone could help me with that!
If any of this is at all feasible:
e) How early is the acquisition of things like lip-reading and sign-language for kids who are born deaf? And how easy is it for an adult to pick up?
f) What sort of support would there be available for them as a (potential) family? What kind of support classes could my characters attend?
g) MAIN QUESTION: in what ways would parenting be different for a deaf child? Some of them I can imagine, but whilst there are some really great websites out there for the basics, this is not something I have any personal experience with, so if anyone can help me out with this, that'd be great.
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!)