Illinois Post-Adoption Records Access, Illinois Adoption Registry and Medical Information Exchange, and Confidential Intermediary Service
The Illinois Adoption Act dictates the records and information allowed to adoptees, birth parents, adoptive parents, and other family members.
1) Original birth certificate [OBC]: under present statute, this is released to the adult adoptee. If a birth parent has filed a redaction request, their identifying information will be removed from the certificate before it is released.
A birth parent can also request an original birth certificate if they appear on it.
Adult children or spouses of a deceased adopted or surrendered person may request the OBC if they have completed adoption registry paperwork and required forms.
Order an OBC, self, or that of a deceased spouse or parent.
Order an OBC, birth parent request.
2) Illinois law allows adoptees to request non-identifying information from the agency that facilitated the adoption. In the case of a private adoption, check with the agency that did the home study on the adoptive family. This was sometimes a court support services office. Agencies often charge for non-identifying information reports. The items allowed in a non-ID report are specified by statute.
3) The IDPH maintains the Illinois Adoption Registry and Medical Information Exchange. Check it for current original birth certificate request forms and adoption registry forms.
Adoption Registry and Medical Information Exchange Application.
Registration Forms Instructions.
Adoption Registry Information Exchange Authorization Form.
Adoption Registry Medical Information Exchange Questionnaire Form.
Surviving Relatives of Deceased or Surrendered Person Registration Identification.
Surviving Relatives of Deceased Birth Parent Registration Identification.
4) A Confidential Intermediary program exists. For more information see: http://www.ci-illinois.org/.
5) A search program exists for closed Illinois DCFS cases.
6) Illinois Adoption Act changes for 1 January 2015. Beginning 1 January 2015, there will be changes to the Illinois Adoption Act. One change allows the birth parent to obtain the OBC. Birth parent OBC order form.
7) Illinois Department of Public Health: Adoption information
Non-Identifying Information and Orphanage Records — Illinois
Angel Guardian Orphanage, Chicago, Illinois
- Angel Guardian Orphanage Alumni Website [Chicago]
- “Your A.G.O. Records,” Angel Guardian Orphanage Alumni Website [Chicago]
Catholic Charities, Catholic Home Bureau, or St. Vincent’s
Chicago Foundlings Home
Children’s Home and Aid Society, Chicago, Illinois
- “Post-Adoption Services,” Children’s Home and Aid
- “Children’s Home and Aid Society of Illinois records, MSCGAS75: An inventory of the collection at the University of Illinois at Chicago,” University of Illinois at Chicago, Richard H. Daley Library Special Collections and University Archives
The Cradle, Evanston, Illinois
- “Background Reports,” The Cradle
- “Post-Adoption Support,” The Cradle
- “Private Agency Files: Easter House,” Midwest Adoption Center
Illinois DCFS Closed Files
- “Illinois DCFS Closed File Information and Search Service,” Midwest Adoption Center
Jewish Children’s Bureau, Chicago
- “Jewish Adoption Support/Project Esther,” Jewish Child & Family Services
Lutheran Child Welfare Association, River Forest
- “Search Assistance,” Lutheran Child and Family Services
Lutheran Social Services of Illinois
- “Post-Adoption Services,” Lutheran Social Services of Illinois
Private Adoptions, Cook County
- Adoption and Family Supportive Services, Cook County
Roman Catholic Orphanages, Chicago Archdiocese
- “Archdiocese of Chicago, Archives and Records Center,” see “Request a Record” to request sacramental records, student records, and orphanage records.
Methodist Deaconess Orphanage (aka Lake Bluff Orphanage), Lake Bluff, Illinois
- Kids Above All (formerly Childserv)
Rockford Children’s Home
- “Private Agency Files: Rockford Children’s Home,” Midwest Adoption Center
Other Resources — Illinois
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin
- Introducing Historic Chicago Legal Periodicals Advancing Genealogist, blog post.
- “Historic Chicago Legal Periodicals,” Advancing Genealogist, online law library.
Before 1963 the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin sometimes printed an adoptive child’s birth name and a birth mother’s surname in the court dockets section. This was reduced to the adoptive parents’ names in 1964. They ceased publishing those in 1971.
Includes links to some digitized copies of the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin from 1873 to 1882.
Illinois Adoption History
NOTE: The original White Oak Foundation link no longer works (3.15.23), but I hesitate to remove it in case the site returns. The site has been down for some time. You can access archived pages of The White Oak Foundation Website at the Wayback Machine if you click here. The link below no longer works.
Im trying to find my brother , I was told the agency name was Rosenblume (Jewish ?) agency back in 1969 approx. Can you all help or point me in the right direction ???? 217-832-3496
Hi Chris. Was the agency in Illinois? I am not familiar with the Rosenblume agency. I would do several things if you have not already done them. 1) If your common parent is living, they can request the child’s original birth certificate. That will provide an exact date and place of birth. 2) Check with the Jewish Children’s Bureau to see if there is any chance they handled this case. 3) If your common birth parent is deceased you are eligible to register with the Illinois Adoption Registry and Medical Information Exchange as a surviving relative of a deceased birth parent. 4) You might also be eligible for a free Confidential Intermediary.
To Chris or Debbie,
I’m hoping you can assist me in trying to help my wife locate her birth mother. She was given up for adoption shortly after her birth in 1961. All she wants to know is who her true birth mother so maybe she might in the near future be able to communicate or reach out to her. We think that we have located her, but we are not 100% percent sure. This has troubled my wife for many years even though she was adopted shortly after being given up for adoption by her birth mother. Would she be able to submit a Confidential Intermediary or is there a way we can view the records of “Catholic Charities of Chicago” used for the adoption? Any help from either of you would be greatly appreciated.
She can order a copy of her original birth certificate from Illinois. Illinois Original Birth Certificate Order Form
If your wife was born in Illinois, she might be eligible for a Confidential Intermediary. Catholic Charities might offer a non-identifying information report, likely for a fee, but they will not let you see their private paperwork. Catholic Charities might also offer a search service for a fee. I suggest she order her original birth certificate, which will potentially list a birth mother’s name. DNA testing is also popular for identifying biological relatives. Illinois Original Birth Certificate Request Form
I just did a 23andme test that revealed that my father was probably adopted. He is now deceased. His birthcertificate gives no names of parents. I need to know for sure that he was adopted before I start the long journey to get his OBC. Is there a way to know? Is there anyone who can help me. I live in Europe and so many websites are closed to me from here. Both my father and I were born in Chicago (Cook county )Illinois
Some people use DNA testing to identify biological relatives. However, you are eligible to order a copy of your father’s original birth certificate from Illinois. Illinois Original Birth Certificate Order Form
My grandmother’s given name by birth mom was Isabella Thomas at st vincents infant asylum in chicago. Her adopted name was Mary isabel mcnerny. How do I go about finding her bio parents names. Anything helps as I do not know where I come from. God bless
Some people are using DNA testing to identify biological family. You might have another option. If your grandmother has any children who are living, they can request a copy of her original birth certificate from Illinois. Here is a link to the order form. Request for Illinois Original Birth Certificate
I got in touch with Catholic charities because she was adopted from st. Vincents infant asylum chicago. They’re telling me to contact springfield clerk of courts. I’m confused because she was born in Chicago is it in the same county? Goid grief this is super frustrating I don’t know what to do
All of my grandmother’s children are deceased including my father. So there is nobody left on my paternal side.
If that is the case, you may be eligible for free Confidential Intermediary service as the grandchild of a deceased adoptee. See the CI Illinois website for information and forms. http://www.ci-illinois.org/ I also recommend you consider DNA testing in an effort to identify your grandmother’s biological family.
Hi Dara. What Catholic Charities is trying to tell you is that you have to obtain the original birth certificate from the Illinois Department of Health in Springfield. The form I linked to is the correct one to use, and there is a mailing address on it. The law that covers obtaining an original birth certificate specifies that only the state health department can issue it. The state office checks to see if a birth parent has asked to have their identifying information redacted from the original birth certificate before they issue one.
My mom was adopted from St. Ann’s Orphanage. She was born August 7, 1933 and adopted when she was seven years old. We did do the Ancestry DNA test but we would love to find a birth mom or dad’s name. Is there a way to do this? My mom is still alive and she is 84.
You can order the original birth certificate from the state. See the Order an OBC link on 1) Original birth certificate: Original Birth Certificate You could also petition for a Confidential Intermediary search, which is 3 on the list on the same page.
Have you heard of The Little Lamb Adoption Services. They were in Chicago in January of 1979. I am trying to help my Mom find a daughter she put up for adoption. I have not been able to find records of its existence.
I have not heard of that agency, and it is not in the 1981 set Adoption Agencies, Orphanages and Maternity Homes by Reg Niles. Your mother is eligible to get the original birth certificate, and to register with the Illinois Adoption Registry and Medical Information Exchange in Springfield. There could be a match waiting there. Many people are using DNA testing in hopes of matching with a sought biological relative. Best of luck.
My mom gave up a baby boy for adoption in Chicago in 1951, I believe. She went through a Catholic maternity home organization. She passed away in 2017 and I am wanting to be available for him or his children/grandchildren to get information about his birthmother.
Mary, you are eligible to submit paperwork to the Illinois Adoption Registry. If he has registered there you might get connected. For more information see: https://dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/birth-death-other-records/adoption/iarmie.html
Hello and thank you for this helpful site.
My mom was adopted in the 1930s and spent some in the Chicago home for Jewish orphans, I believe, as did her birth mother and her birth mother’s sisters when they were younger.
My sister and I are trying to get information on my mom’s birth family at that Chicago Home for Jewish Orphans. Any idea where we could get some records? We have some census data. Does anyone have those records in their archives that you know of?
Thanks so much. Ellyn
Hi Ellyn. The Chicago Home for Jewish Orphans was affiliated with (or turned into?) the Chicago Industrial Training School for Jewish Girls. I do not know what became of their records, but you might ask JCFS if they have them: https://www.jcfs.org/our-services/jewish-community-programs/adoption-support
If you mother is alive she can request a copy of her original birth certificate. If she has passed you and your sister are eligible to get a copy of it. To find the needed forms to order the original birth certificate from Springfield, visit this page: https://dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/birth-death-other-records/adoption.html
The birth certificate request form is confusing on line 1
I__________________ am requesting a no certified copy
What name goes in the blank space? My birth name, adopted name or my current name.
Put your current name on that line. There is a place later for your adopted name. Many people do not know their birth name, and the Registry understands that when they get the form. They will look it up under the adoptive name and birth date to locate the OBC.