Adopting a Child
- What is the process to adopt: domestically, internationally, if I live in Illinois, if I live outside of Illinois, including outside of the United States?
In general, to adopt through the traditional placement program at Adoption Center of Illinois, an interested person should first register to attend a free Program Introduction session. These are held each month at our offices at 5828 N. Clark Street in Chicago. If you live outside the Chicagoland area, call us at 773- 334-2300 for more information on our programs.
Once you have attended a meeting, asked your questions, and feel comfortable moving forward, you will fill out an application. When we have reviewed your information, we will schedule an initial interview. Following the interview, a home study will be conducted. If it is necessary to be licensed, (this will vary depending upon where a family is adopting from) you will submit licensing materials, and participate in the required training. Once the home study is complete, you are ready to adopt!
The process can be slightly different depending on whether you are adopting domestically or internationally, and depending on the state in which you reside. We reserve the right to discontinue working with a family if the application, interview, home study, or reference and background checks reveal issues that would affect how a family parents an adopted child.
- How long is the wait for a child?This is difficult to answer. We allow our birthparents to choose the family they wish to raise their child. When families have been accepted into our program, and a home study written, they submit a family album including a “Dear Birthparent” letter which describes who they are and their thoughts on adoption, as well as photographs depicting their lifestyle and any other information that they wish to convey to a potential birthmother. When birthparents are ready to choose a family, they are shown all of the albums that match their criteria. Therefore, a family can be selected soon after their album is submitted, months later, years later or never. At Adoption Center of Illinois we never guarantee that a family will be successful in their hopes to adopt, but the more open a family is to types of children and circumstances, the more often their album is likely to be viewed.
- What programs/services do you offer?
Within our domestic programs we have a Traditional Adoption Program where a family is matched with a birthparent that has been receiving services from our agency. We also offer an Agency Assisted Adoption Program for families who come to us with an identified birthparent, or who choose to actively develop their own outreach plan to find a birthmother. We provide home study services to them as well as counseling, training and/or help with marketing as needed.
At Adoption Center of Illinois we believe that people know what is best for them, which is why our motto is “our help, your decisions.” Families are encouraged to pursue as many adoption options as they can financially and emotionally afford, including attempts to become pregnant. We just ask to be kept informed along the way.
- What are Home Study services only?If a family is working with an out-of-state agency or attorney for domestic or international adoption, we are happy to complete the home study and evaluation within the state of Illinois. If a family needs licensing, or wants to participate in our adoption classes, we can arrange for this as well. For more information visit our Home Study Services page.
- What type of children do you work with?
The majority of the children we place are newborn infants. Sometimes we work with parents placing a child that is a few weeks or months old, and occasionally, a pre-school aged child. . The children are of every race, and combination of races. Most often their birthmothers had healthy pregnancies, carried them to full term, and made an adoption plan for them. However we do work with children whose mothers may have used drugs during their pregnancy or did not receive prenatal care.
The children are born to women of all racial and socioeconomic backgrounds. We do not work with children who are wards of the state child welfare system. Families should contact Illinois Department of Children and Family Services for information on how to adopt children within the DCFS system
- What are your fees?Our fees vary depending on the program, your financial situation, and circumstances related to the child. Domestic adoptions range from ??up to $ $30,600 (??) (for our Traditional Adoption Program). Adoption Center of Illinois offers family based financial aid, which may affect the total fees.
- What are the qualifications to be an adoptive parent?At Adoption Center of Illinois we work with a wide range of potential adoptive parents. We do not discriminate based upon age, marital status, race, income, size of existing family, sexual orientation, or pursuit of other family planning options. Some international countries do have restrictions on the types of people who can adopt, and you must be 21 years or older to adopt in the state of Illinois.
- Where is your office located, what is the telephone number, and what are your hours?
Adoption Center of Illinois at Family Resource Center is located on the north side of Chicago at 5828 N. Clark Street, between Peterson and Bryn Mawr. We can be reached by telephone at (773) 334-2300 or (800) 676-2229. Our fax number is (773) 334-8228. You may also contact us by clicking here.
Our regular office hours are Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm, however we have 24 hour emergency availability. Our phones are answered after hours and on weekends by volunteers who are staff, or members of Adoption Center of Illinois’s community. These committed individuals volunteer this additional time by having our phones forwarded to their homes.
- When can I reapply after I've adopted with you?
You can re-apply 6 months or so after you’ve adopted or given birth to a child. Naturally, we consider how well you have adjusted to your new family member when conducting the home study.
A new application must be submitted in addition to the completion of a new, home study. Returning applicants receive a small reduction in the home study fee. Full placement fees will apply.
- What is your philosophy on openness?
We are not advocates of open adoption or closed adoption, but rather of cooperation between birth parents and adoptive parents to find the degree of contact and communication that is comfortable, and best for the child.
Openness by its traditional definition is not required, although an open exchange of information between birth parents, adoptive parents, and adopted children is encouraged.
We do require families to submit to our photo agreement. Adoptive parents are asked to send five photographs of their child and a letter to the office for the first six months following placement. Ten photographs and a letter per year for the first five years. These photos and letters are then forwarded in non-identifying packaging to birth parents if they choose, or kept in our files, should the birth mother wish to receive them at a later time. This agreement is the minimum. Anything above and beyond this arrangement is encouraged.
- How do I adopt my spouse's child?As a licensed child welfare agency ACI can only facilitate the adoption of a child placed by his or her birthparents to potential adoptive parents. Experienced adoption attorneys best handle other types of adoptions such as the adoption of a spouse’s child, the adoption of a relative, and co-parent adoptions.