Adoption Research — Illinois

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:

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

Catholic Charities, Catholic Home Bureau, or St. Vincent’s

Chicago Foundlings Home

Children’s Home and Aid Society, Chicago, Illinois

The Cradle, Evanston, Illinois

Easter House

Illinois DCFS Closed Files

Jewish Children’s Bureau, Chicago

Lutheran Child Welfare Association, River Forest

Lutheran Social Services of Illinois

Private Adoptions, Cook County

Roman Catholic Orphanages, Chicago Archdiocese

Methodist Deaconess Orphanage (aka Lake Bluff Orphanage), Lake Bluff, Illinois

Rockford Children’s Home

Other Resources — Illinois

Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

30 Responses to Adoption Research — Illinois

  1. Chris Wash says:

    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

    • debbiemieszala says:

      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.

  2. Everett Sheldon says:

    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.

  3. jeannie says:

    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

  4. Dara pfeiffer says:

    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

    • debbiemieszala says:

      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

      • Dara pfeiffer says:

        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

        • Dara pfeiffer says:

          All of my grandmother’s children are deceased including my father. So there is nobody left on my paternal side.

          • debbiemieszala says:

            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. I also recommend you consider DNA testing in an effort to identify your grandmother’s biological family.

        • debbiemieszala says:

          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.

  5. Elisa Slee says:

    Hi there,
    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.

    • debbiemieszala says:

      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.

  6. MB Hickok says:

    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.

    • debbiemieszala says:

      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.

  7. Mary Chant says:


    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.

  8. Ellyn Lem says:

    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

  9. Julie says:

    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.

    • debbiemieszala says:

      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.

  10. Jenny Rollins says:

    Hoping for some help to get adoption information on my paternal grandmother who was adopted in Chicago IL. She’s deceased and I’m attempting to find and trace our family roots. There are so many unanswered questions this may help to resolve. Any insight is greatly appreciated.

    • debbiemieszala says:

      Hi Jenny,
      If your father or any of his siblings are alive they can request their mother’s original birth certificate from Springfield if she was born in Illinois. Hopefully this will give the name of at least her birth mother. DNA testing is another way to discover genetic heritage and genetic relatives.
      Good luck with your search.

  11. Leonard says:

    I was adopted in Chicago, 1969. An Ancestry DNA test revealed my birth parents were from Ohio. How can I find the hospital where I was born? I’m also curious if she was in a facility for unwed soon-to-be mothers. Birth mother is deceased, birth father is alive and did not know I was born. Thank you!

    • debbiemieszala says:

      If you’re were born in Illinois, order your original birth certificate from Springfield. There are links on my site under Illinois adoption. That will give the place where you were born. If it was an agency adoption they might have non-identifying information. Some agencies charge for those reports. They give social, medical, and ethnic background information as they were told in interviews with the birth mother they were working with.

  12. Kim Allen says:

    Approximately how long does it take to receive the OBC after request is received?

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