Services for
Adoptive and Guardianship Parents

How we can help
Knowing as much as possible about your child's history can help your child. You may have been given information about your child and his/her/their experiences before he/she/they came into your home. However many parents find that there is a lot they don't know and wish they did.

Your child may be asking questions to which you have no answers. Or perhaps your son or daughter is beginning to talk about memories of things that happened, or that might have happened in the past. Sometimes it's hard to know how to respond, or if these things really happened. 

Multi-ethnic family members at home sharing a hug.  African descent single mother at right.  Adopted child center.
Obtaining “non-identifying information” about your child's birth family and the adoption

Midwest Adoption Center provides “non-identifying information” regarding adoptions that were handled through the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

The Illinois Adoption Act specifies that certain “non-identifying information’ be given to adoptive/guardianship parents of minor adoptees. Depending on what is found in the DCFS files, you may receive:

  • Parents’ general appearance, age at the time of the birth of the child; race, religion and ethnic background; education, occupation, hobbies, interests and talents; existence of any other children born to the biological parent(s)
  • Information about biological grandparents, including reason for immigrating to the U.S. and country of origin
  • Relationship between the biological parents
  • Detailed medical and mental health history of the child, the biological parents and their immediate relatives
  • Actual date and place of birth of the adopted person
  • A description of the circumstances leading to the child coming into the care of the Department
  • Record of placements prior to adoption

The "non-identifying" information you receive could also be useful as you consider making an outreach to the birth family at this time or in the future. Knowing even a little bit about the birth family could help you make a more informed decision about whether to consider initiating some type of communication with a birth family member. 

 

Connection with your child's birth relatives

Adoptive/Guardianship parents decide to make an outreach to a birth relative of their child for a variety of reasons. Your child may have a strong desire to contact siblings or other birth family members. You may need information to facilitate medical care or other professional services or to respond to questions the child is asking. In some situations, adoptive/guardianship parents need information that was not found in the agency files, therefore, attempting to locate and contact a birth family member to obtain the needed information may be a good option. 

If your child was adopted through IDCFS, MAC can attempt to search for birth relatives and try to facilitate any communication you both desire. Anonymous communication by letter through MAC or direct contact with a birth relative are options to connect. Your caseworker can explain both options in detail and help you pick the right one for your family. 

If your child was adopted in Illinois but NOT through IDCFS, the Confidential Intermediary (CI) service is a good option for search for you. In this program, you petition the court for the appointment of a trained, certified Confidential Intermediary. That intermediary is given the sealed Court adoption file, the original birth certificate and a Court order to attempt to locate your child's birth relative. For more information, please visit http://www.ci-illinois.org

Additional Information

If your adoption was not through the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services

Frequently Asked Questions
The following are Frequently Asked Questions about the DCFS Closed File Information and Search program.

This service is only available to adopted persons, those who were in foster care but never adopted, birth relatives and adoptive parents of minors connected to placement through DCFS. If you are an adopted person, adoptive parent or birth relative and the adoption was through a private adoption agency, doctor or attorney, please visit: ci-illinois.org

When can I request service through this program?

According to Illinois law, you are entitled to receive "non-identifying" information about your child's placement and birth family. You can request that information at any time, as long as your child is less than 21 years of age. 

Once your child is 21, he/she/they must request the search. 

Note: Once your child is 18, he/she/they can request both "non-identifying" information and search service on his/her/their own. If he/she/they do so, we will not notify you of his/her/their request for service. 

Will you contact my child at any time during the process?

We understand that in some situations, you may want to request information or search service without your child being involved. If you are eligible to request service on your child's behalf, we will not contact your child at any time unless you ask us to do so. Furthermore, we will not confirm that you are a client in this program or discuss your request or any aspect of service with anyone without your permission. 

What information can I get from the closed DCFS file?

The Illinois Adoption Act specifies that certain “non-identifying information’ be given to adult adoptees (18 years of age and older) and to adoptive/guardianship parents of a child under 18. If it is found in the closed files, you will receive:

  • Data about biological relatives, including:
    • Parents’ general appearance
    • Parents’ age at the time of the birth of the child
    • Parents’ race, religion and ethnic background
    • Parents’ education, occupation, hobbies, interests and talents
    • Existence of any other children born to the biological parents
    • Information about biological grandparents, including reason for immigrating to the U.S. and country of origin
    • Relationship between the biological parents
  • Detailed medical and mental health history of the child, the biological parents and their immediate relatives
  • Actual date and place of birth of the adopted person
  • A description of the circumstances leading to the child coming into the care of the Department
  • Record of placements prior to adoption

DCFS policy is that guardianship parents receive the same information as adoptive parents. For some clients, we receive files that are very large and contain a lot of detailed information. However, that is not always the case. Until we receive the files pertaining to your child and the birth family, we will not know exactly what information is available. 

What is a "redacted copy"?

If the file contains detailed information about a complex medical condition, we will include redacted copies of those documents. "Redacted" means that certain information is removed from the original document so that the words that are "redacted" are not visible on the copy that is sent to you. Illinois law does not allow us to include identifying information about any birth family members. Therefore, such information must be removed from copies of reports or evaluations that are sent to you.

How is the "non-identifying information" from my child's file prepared?

First we locate your child's closed DCFS file and have it sent to our office. Sometimes the file is not found in DCFS Central Storage and we have to contact DCFS field offices or a POS (Purchase of Service) Agency to find out if they have the files. We also attempt to obtain files established for birth siblings or the birth parents, since they might include medical information that would affect your child. It may only take a few weeks to obtain the files, but sometimes much longer. Once the file is received, we make sure it is the correct file; when a caseworker is available, your case is assigned.

Your caseworker will carefully examine all of the files we have received. All of the  information that the law specifies be given to you is taken out of the files and put on a special form developed for this purpose called a CFI Report (Closed File Information Report).

How long does it take to get the information?

You will be notified when we are able to assign your request to a caseworker. Once she can begin work on your case, she will estimate how long it will take to complete the report depending upon the size of the files and the complexity of the information found in them.

Is there any way to get the file information request expedited?

If you have a doctor, therapist or attorney  write a letter explaining the urgent need for the information, we can consider giving your request priority status.

Can I get my child's birth certificate or social security card, etc from the file?

We cannot provide originals or copies of any vital records such as birth or death certificates or social security information. As the parent of an adopted minor, you can request a copy of your child's amended Illinois birth certificate from the Division of Vital Records, 925 E. Ridgely Avenue, Springfield, Illinois 62702-5097. You can also call them at (877)323-5299 or at (217)782-6554. The amended birth certificate will show you as your child's parent(s) and will not include your child's birth parent's names. 

Is there a fee for this service?

There is no fee for this service.