July 5, 2011: State Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), the sponsor of the 2009 child adoption law, explains its impetus.
A mother who had nine of her children taken away from her years ago has adopted four of them back and is on the path to getting custody of the five others.
Yolanda Miller is the first Illinois parent to take advantage of a 2009 law which restores parental rights after they've been revoked by the state. The Department of Children and Family Services removed 10 of Miller's 11 children from her care more than 14 years ago because of her addiction to crack cocaine, placing them for adoption with relatives.
After overcoming her drug addiction, Miller sought to legally reclaim her children, but Illinois law lacked a process for her to reunite the family. The law, PA 96-601, fills that gap.
"These parents have done exactly what we asked them to, and now we have a process to help them regain their rights," said Rep. Sara Feigenholtz (D-Chicago), the law's sponsor.
Rights to four of Miller's children -- two minors and two who are now adults -- were restored late last month. A court date is pending for the restoration of Miller's rights to five of her other children.
"It's been an amazing journey, and one I am very proud of," said Miller. "I've always been strong-minded, had faith in God, and had the strong belief I could do anything. I always had a strong belief I would get my kids back after I got my life together."