If you're a birth parent considering adoption or a prospective adoptive parent, we have some bad news and we have some pretty good news...
The bad news is that this site was primarily designed for adult adoptees and their birth and adoptive relatives. Since White Oak's focus is on post-adoption resources, we've devoted a lot of space to search and reunion and very little to the adoption process.
The good news is that, even though you probably landed on this site totally by accident, you will still find several pages (notably the Support & Advocacy, Illinois Resources and Adoption Agencies sections) to be useful in your quest for information on adoption in Illinois.
However, while we had your attention, we thought you should know that the Illinois Adoption Registry Reform Law which went into effect on January 1, 2000, requires adoption facilitators to tell prospective adoptive and birth parents about the Illinois Adoption Registry and Medical Information Exchange (IARMIE) and to provide them with application forms for the Registry at the time of the adoption. Registration is free for all adoptive parents who apply within a year of their child's adoption and for birth parents who complete the IARMIE medical questionnaire at the time of their initial registration.
Unfortunately, a number of agencies do not seem to be complying with the new law.
In totally open adoptions (where the adoptive parents and birth parents exchange identities and addresses and cookie recipes in addition to first names), signing up with the IARMIE may seem a bit superfluous. However, in less open adoptions where there will be little or no interaction between the adoptive family and the birth parents during the child's growing-up years, signing up with the Illinois Adoption Registry makes a lot of sense. It's an easy way to exchange important background and health information confidentially. It's also a good way for new adoptive parents to access medical background information that may have been overlooked or censored by a well-meaning social worker. It is the only way, under current Illinois law, that a birth mother can ensure that her wishes regarding contact will be conveyed to her surrendered son or daughter when he or she reaches the age of 21 (even if those wishes should change between now and then).
While it is likely that Illinois' adoption laws will have been thrown wide open by the time children adopted today reach adulthood, for the moment, signing up with the Illinois Adoption Registry is one of the smartest things a prospective adoptive parent can do to make sure that their child is able to easily access important medical and background information as an adult.
If the agency you're working with--or the agency you ultimately choose--does not promote the IARMIE and isn't complying with the law, maybe you should ask them why (we would love to know the answer)...or, better still, maybe you should consider finding a more enlightened adoption facilitator that really does put the best interests of your child first...
If you are considering adoption in Illinois and have questions about birth parents' and adoptive parents' rights under the current Illinois Adoption Act, please call or e-mail us. Birth mothers considering adoption may also be interested in reading an article currently being circulated in brochure form by Concerned United Birthparents.