Susan Brazas

Attorney at Law


Although many adoption cases have happy endings, where a child is adopted by loving and caring parents, in some cases the adoption is hotly contested by one parent. This type of situation can arise when one parent has remarried and hopes to have the stepparent legally adopt the child, after showing that the other parent has abandoned the child or is otherwise unfit to be the child’s parent. If the parent does not consent to the child being adopted, then the other parent (together with the stepparent) must prove unfitness, which means termination of parental rights. The trial will likely be a lengthy and difficult one, and the stakes high.

Adoptions which are not contested can nonetheless be complex and multi-faceted, especially when the child to be adopted is coming from another country. The investigation and recommendations of the Guardian ad Litem as to the child’s best interests will be critical to the court’s decision of whether adoption is in the best interests of the child, and if so, whether the prospective adoptive parents are appropriate to serve as parents.

Adoptions can often have painful outcomes, especially where the birth parent contends that he or she was not given proper notice of the adoption, or that procedures were not followed correctly, so that the adoption should be considered void. Susan fought for a birth mother who opposed the adoption of her young daughter by an out-of-state couple, arguing that Illinois was her daughter’s home state and that the out-of-state court’s rulings should not prevail. Susan doggedly pursued the case in the trial court and the appellate court, and even petitioned the Illinois Supreme Court to hear the case.