Services for
Adopted Persons


How we can help
If you were adopted through foster care in Illinois and would like to know about your birth family or locate a birth relative, we may be able to help.

You can request information from your DCFS file and/or can request search service to try to locate birth relatives.

If you were adopted in Illinois or born in Illinois and adopted in another state but DCFS was not involved, the Confidential Intermediary Service of Illinois may be able to help you.

Multi-ethnic family members at home sharing a hug.  African descent single mother at right.  Adopted child center.
Obtaining “non-identifying information” about your 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 adult 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

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 files pertaining to your birth family and your placement, we will not know exactly what information is available about you and your time in care. You will receive the information in a written report. Any photos, letters or other personal items found in the file that were intended for you will be included.

Locating a birth relative

The law does not permit DCFS to release identifying information from the files such as the names and addresses of others. However, if you want to locate a relative, search service is available to you. As an adopted adult, you may request a search for a birth parent, siblings or other birth relative.

In most cases, the person being sought is located. Your caseworker will explain the reason for the contact. Every attempt will be made to negotiate an arrangement that is comfortable for everyone. There are several choices for contact: you may want to exchange some information through your MAC caseworker, communicate by letter without revealing your name, or you and your relative may choose to have direct contact.

This program is not intended to provide in-depth counseling, but assistance and support will be offered throughout the process.

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

How old do I have to be to get service through this program?

According to Illinois law, you are entitled to receive ‘non-identifying information’ about your birth family when you are 18 years of age or older. If you want to locate a birth relative, you can also request service when you are 18 years of age or older. If you are under 18, your adoptive or guardianship parent can request service on your behalf.

Will you contact my adoptive parent(s) at any time?

If you are old enough to request service yourself, we will not contact your adoptive parent(s) at any time unless you ask us to do so. 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). 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

For some clients, we receive files that are very large and contain a lot of detailed information. However, that is not always the case. If the file contains detailed information about a complex medical condition, we will include redacted copies of those documents. Until we receive your file, we will not know exactly what information is available about you and your birth family.

What is a "redacted copy"?

"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 file prepared?

First we locate your 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 your file. We also attempt to obtain files established for birth siblings or your birth parents, since they might include medical information that would affect you. It may only take a few weeks to obtain the files, but sometimes it takes much longer. Once we receive the file, 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. This form is called a CFI 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.

How quickly can I receive my medical information?

We will always do our best to complete your file information report as quickly as possible.

Cases are completed in the order in which they are received and assigned to a worker.

If you have a doctor write a letter explaining the urgent need for the information, we can give your request priority.

Can I get my 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. However, an adopted person who is 21 years of age or older and was born in Illinois can request a copy of your own original birth certificate from the Illinois Department of Public Health, Division of Vital Records, 925 E Ridgely Avenue, Springfield, IL 62702 (217) 782-6553.

For more information about requesting your original birth certificate:
Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois Adoption Registry and Medical Information Exchange at 217-782-6553 or 877-323-5299
http://dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/birth-death-other-records/adoption/iarmie

An adult adopted person who was born in Illinois can request a copy of your own, amended, Illinois birth certificate from the Division of Vital Records, 925 E Ridgely Avenue, Springfield, IL 62702  (217) 782-6553. That certificate will show your adoptive parents names, not your birth parent’s names.

Is there a fee for this service?

There is no fee for this service.