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What adoption records are available in Illinois and who can access that information?

At the time of an adoption, the original birth certificate of the child and all the documents pertaining to the legal process of adoption are "impounded" by the Court. The legal documents are held by the Court and the original birth certificate is held by the Department of Vital Records. Court records are not available except by order of the Court. Recent changes in the Illinois Adoption Act provide for certain circumstances in which the original birth certificate may be released upon mutual consent of the parties named.
The Court adoption files do not usually contain any social or medical information pertaining to the child or to the birth family. A copy of the original birth certificate is only rarely included.

Some adoptions in Illinois were facilitated by a licensed child welfare agency, often referred to as the "adoption agency". These agencies must maintain adoption records, which may include social and medical information concerning the birth family collected at the time of the placement, birth information, details of the circumstances of the placement and information about the adopting family. Copies of legal documents may also be included. In some instances, the files may contain correspondence received after the adoption from the birth family, the adoptive parents or the adoptee.

If the adoption was not handled by a licensed child welfare agency, it is known as a "private placement". These were often arranged by physicians, attorneys, relatives or other individuals connected in some way to the birth or adoptive family. Beginning in the 1960's, the Courts ordered that social and medical information pertaining to the birth family be collected prior to the adoption. Since the method varied from county to county, the Circuit Court in which the adoption was finalized should be able to provide information as to whether this information is available and how it may be accessed.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services only maintains records pertaining to adoptions in which the child was a ward of DCFS at the time of the adoption. Since the Department was not formed until the mid-1960's, there are few files from before 1964. No information pertaining to adoptions which were not handled by DCFS is available from the Department.

How can "non-identifying" or medical information be obtained?

Illinois law mandates that certain “non-identifying information” be given, upon request, to adult adoptees and to adoptive parents of minors.  This is descriptive information such as physical characteristics, education, heath, nationality, etc. but does not include any information that could identify the person such as names, address, date of birth, etc.
This information, if it is available, is usually held by the agency involved in the adoption.

"Non-identifying information" is usually not found in the court adoption file.  Therefore, this information will probably not be found by requesting that a Judge order the file opened.
The law in Illinois does not mandate that any information be given to birth parents or other birth relatives after the adoption has been legally completed.

If the adoption was completed through the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services:

DCFS offers service to adoptees, adoptive parents and birth family members seeking non-identifying information from their files. Birth parents and other birth relatives are not eligible to receive information from closed IDCFS files pertaining to adoption or foster care. This program is only available to individuals party to an adoption in which the child was a ward of DCFS at the time of the adoption.

Midwest Adoption Center provides this service on behalf of DCFS. There is no fee for service through this program. If you believe the adoption was handled by DCFS, request a service request form by contacting:
Midwest Adoption Center
IDCFS Post-adoption Program
2860 South River Road, Suite 450
DesPlaines, Illinois 60018
847-298-9096
Or by email at mac@macadopt.org

If the adoption was completed through a private adoption agency:

According to the Illinois Adoption Act, 'non-identifying information' must be provided, if available, to adult adoptees and to adoptive parents of minors upon request.  Contact the private agency directly to request this information.   There may be a fee for this service.