Under Illinois law, non-identifying information is provided to adoptive parents and to adult adoptees (over the age of 18) upon request, if available. The only provision in the Illinois Adoption Act which authorizes the release of non-identifying information to a birth family member is the 2003 law (effective 1/1/2004) which allows birth mother and fathers named on the original birth certificate to confirm their child's date and place of birth. In addition, most public and private adoption agencies will also provide some background information on a child's placement to birth mothers on request. Needless to say, the actual availability of non-identifying information varies considerably from case to case and agency to agency.
According to Illinois statute (click here to access the section of the Illinois Adoption Act which deals specifically with non-identifying information) the following may be included in the non-identifying information provided to adult adoptees and their adoptive parents:
1. birth parents' age at the time of the adoptee's birth
2. birth parents' race, religion and ethnic background
3. birth parents' general physical appearance (height, weight, hair and eye color)
4. birth parents' education level at the time of the adoptee's birth, as well as their occupation
and any known hobbies, interests or talents
5. ages of any children born to the birth parents prior to the birth of the adopted person
6. any available information about the birth parents' parents, including their reason for emigrating into the United States, if applicable, and their country of origin
7. the relationship between the birth parents at the time of the adoptee's birth (i.e. were they married, divorced, involved in a relationship, casually dating, etc.)
8. medical and mental health histories of the adopted person, the birth parents, and their immediate relatives
9. the adopted person's "actual date and place of birth" (now available to birth parents through the Illinois Adoption Registry as well as to adoptees and adoptive parents of minors)
To access specific instructions on obtaining non-identifying information, please click on the scenario which matches your particular situation:
Scenario One: The adoption was handled by an adoption agency (Catholic Charities, The Cradle, Lutheran Social Services, Children's Home and Aid Society, The Child Care Association, Lifelink, St. Mary's, the Baby Fold, etc.) and you are an adoptee, adoptive parent or birth relative.
Scenario Two: The adoption was handled by the Department of Children and Family Services and you are an adoptee, adoptive parent or birth relative.
Scenario Three: The adoption was handled by a private attorney, with no agency involvement, and finalized in Cook County after the late 1950s and the person searching is the adoptee or the adoptive parent.
Scenario Four: The adoption was handled by a private attorney, with no agency involvement, and finalized outside of Cook County or in Cook County before the late 1950s and the person searching is the adoptee or the adoptive parent.
Scenario Five: You do not know the name of the agency or attorney that handled the adoption OR none of the above scenarios fits your particular situation and you are an adoptee or an adoptive parent.