If your search was conducted by an agency or a confidential intermediary, your options regarding how initial contact is made will depend on the agency's search and reunion policies...

Due to legal concerns and a very narrow interpretation of Illinois Adoption Statutes, most adoption agencies will not provide adoptees and birth parents with identifying information unless both parties have signed a waiver of confidentiality or registered with the agency Registry. Under Illinois law, if an agency has received a waiver of confidentiality from both a birth parent and the adoptee, they are required to release identifying information to both parties on request. But, in the past, that hasn't kept some agencies from subjecting searching adoptees and birth parents to mandatory counseling, psychological evaluations and other intimidating procedures.  With the advent of open birth records in Illinois, many of these heinous practices will perhaps disappear, but be sure to inquire about your agency's search and reunion policies before hiring them to assist with your search.

Those searching through an agency may find it frustrating to be relegated to such a passive role and to have so little input in the reconnection process. Some agencies will, on request, forward written correspondence for searching adoptees and birth parents, but most usually contact the unknown birth relative on the searching party's behalf...and relay the results of the search by phone or letter.

There have been reported cases where agencies have told an adoptee or birth parent that a sought-after party had declined contact when, in fact, the birth relative was never contacted by the agency (e-mail or call us for specifics or to report fradulent agency activities).  Annoyingly, there is no accountability for agency search programs...and, disappointingly, not all agencies can be trusted to conduct their search programs fairly and honestly. If you suspect that the agency you've hired is not providing the service for which you paid them, please contact us for assistance and guidance.

State statute places limitations on contact arranged through the state confidential
 intermediary program;  please consult state 
statute  (750 ILCS 50/0.01 Sec.  18.3a. (i)(4))
 or contact us directly for  additional details.

The White Oak Foundation maintains extensive data on the search and reunion programs offered by Illinois adoption agencies. All those searching through an agency search assistance program are encouraged to share both positive and negative agency experiences with us...Your feedback will help us advise other searching triad members...and gauge the efficiency of various agency programs.