Illinois Adoption Act Changes for 2015

Changes are coming to the Illinois Adoption Act. The changes go into effect on 1 January 2015. Several changes impact those who were party to an adoption, or their family members. 

The Illinois Adoption Act directs more than adoptions. The act directs the type of adoption-related records and information that are potentially available to specific parties.

A link to the upcoming changes in the adoption act is here. Read the act, because I have only summarized portions of select changes. An overstrike indicates language that will be removed. Underlined language is being added.

This is my interpretive summary and not necessarily actual statutory language. Because it is an interpretation, there is potential for error. Read the statutory changes to come to your own conclusions. Again, the changes go into effect on 1 January 2015.

• An adult grandchild (21 or over) of a deceased adopted or surrendered person will be eligible for the Illinois Adoption Registry and Medical Information Exchange. See 750 ILCS 50/18.1(g).

• An adult grandchild of a deceased adopted or surrendered person born prior to 1 January 1946 may request an unaltered, non-certified copy of the adopted grandparent’s original birth certificate. The adult grandchild must be in the adoption registry. See 750 ULCS 50/18.1a(e)(1).

• An adult grandchild of a deceased adopted or surrendered person born on or after 1 January 1946 may request an unaltered, non-certified copy of the adopted grandparent’s original birth certificate. The adult grandchild must be in the adoption registry. Identifying information might be redacted if a birth parent filed a denial. See 750 ULCS 50/18.1a(e)(2).

• Any birth parent named on the original birth certificate of an adult adopted person may request a non-certified copy of the original birth certificate. The file number will not be on the certificate. See 750 ILCS 50/18.2(m).

• Parties eligible to petition the court for a Confidential Intermediary expand to include the following relatives of a deceased adopted or surrendered person: an adult child or adult grandchild; adoptive parent or surviving spouse; adult birth sibling, unless the birth parent has filed a denial or requested no contact and is not deceased. Also eligible: the adult adopted birth sibling of adult adopted or surrendered person; adult birth sibling of the birth parents if the birth parent is deceased. Petitioners must be in the adoption registry. See 750 ILCS 50/18.3a(a)(4–8).

• If the original birth certificate is missing or lost, the confidential intermediary may disclose information to petitioners. See 750 ILCS 50/18.3a(h).

  • If the petitioner is adult adopted or surrendered person, or adult child, adult grandchild, or surviving spouse of a deceased adopted or surrendered person, the confidential intermediary shall disclose: See 750 ILCS 50/18.3a(h)(1)
    • identifying information about the birth parents that would have been reflected on the original birth certificate as of the date of birth only if: See 750 ILCS 50/18.3a(h)(1)(A)
      • the adopted person was born before 1 January 1946 and the original birth certificate was not found, or a birth parent’s name was omitted from it; See 750 ILCS 50/18.3a(h)(1)(A)(i)
      • the adopted person was born on or after 1 January 1946: if the original birth certificate was not found; See 750 ILCS 50/18.3a(h)(1)(A)(ii)
      • The confidential intermediary can check for the missing information in the court adoption file. Accuracy of found information is not guaranteed.

Note that there is no provision for the intermediary to provide missing identifying information from any source but the court adoption file.

I see no provision for people born on or after 1 January 1946 to receive information which was legally withheld on an original birth certificate. The provision seems to apply to those born on or after 1 January 1946 only if the original birth certificate is missing.

• All Confidential Intermediary search services will be free.

© 2014, Debbie Mieszala. All rights reserved.

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5 Responses to Illinois Adoption Act Changes for 2015

  1. Jana Last says:

    Debbie,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today’s Fab Finds post at http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/2014/12/follow-friday-fab-finds-for-december-5.html

    Have a great weekend!

  2. Pingback: Original Birth Certificates in Illinois Open to Birth Parents | The Advancing Genealogist

  3. BJ says:

    I have questions about adoptions too. My paternal great-grandmother was left on the doorstep of a home due to the Chicago Fire. I have no idea if there was any sort of ‘note’ left with her. She was an infant.
    Shelton Lawrence Smith and his family brought her into their home and raised her. Would there have been a document? Would they have had to get a delayed birth certificate for her? Is there a way to determine her identity, name and real parents through other records?
    Thank you!

    • debbiemieszala says:

      Hi BJ. The Great Chicago Fire was in October of 1871. Does that fit with the time frame of when your great-grandmother might have been born? Illinois did not require birth certificates to be recorded on a statewide basis until 1916. That is unfortunate. Some counties were recording vital records locally much earlier. But the fire wiped out Cook County’s early vital records, so those begin in 1872. You can check the Cook County Clerk’s Office’s genealogy page to see if you can find a birth record for her. But many people did not record births at that early time. Maybe you can locate a church record of baptism for her from her Smith parents. If they had information on her identity, it might be mentioned there. A good number of adoptions were not formalized in court back then, but were unofficial in nature. The real key to finding her biological identity might be through DNA testing. For best results test the generations closest to her generation. For example, her child or grandchildren. Multiple test-takers will probably be needed, including some from her husband’s side of the family. They will help sort out matches on her husband’s side from her own. There are several links to DNA testing sites on this website. Many adoptees start by testing with Ancestry DNA, and then upload those results to GEDMatch and Family Tree DNA. I hope that you are able to locate something on her heritage.

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