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FAQs About Adoption

Thank you for your interest in working with The Cradle as a prospective adoptive parent. Read frequently asked questions from adoptive parents below.

Frequently Asked Questions About Adoption

The Cradle welcomes prospective adoptive parents of all religious, racial and ethnic backgrounds. Here are specific requirements:

  • We work with couples and singles for all three of our programs. At the time of registration couples do need to be married, but we do not have a marriage length requirement. Though, the placing agency or country you choose might have a marriage length requirement.
  • For all of our programs, prospective adoptive parents must be a minimum of 25 years of age.
  • For our two infant domestic program (Agency Assisted Program and General Domestic Program), at the time of registration prospective adoptive parents must be 47 years old or younger.
  • For our International (International) Program, prospective adoptive parents need to meet the age and other requirements of the country they hope to adopt from.
  • Prospective adoptive parents must live within one of the six counties in Illinois we serve: Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry or Will.
  • We do not accept other agency’s home studies for our General Domestic Program.

The Cradle is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, non-sectarian, licensed child welfare agency. We have a reputation for ethical adoption practices. To maintain our 501(c)(3 ) status, we undergo regular scrutiny to ensure our goal is never to make a profit. Licensure indicates oversight and regulation by the states in which we operate (Illinois and Indiana). We also do not allow adoptive families to directly pay expectant parent fees; this helps ensure that adoptive parents are not beholden to expectant parents and vice versa. Rather, if expectant parents need support, we are able to provide that from the agency.

Considering adoption placement through Facebook? Even if you connect with an expectant parent through Facebook or any other media, you’ll still need a licensed agency or an attorney to ensure the adoption is handled legally.

Timeframes in adoption are difficult to predict and vary from family to family. Timeframes will be dependent on the program or country you choose, and we cannot offer a guaranteed placement date. Some of the timing in the process is under your control as an adoptive parent: How motivated and available you are, how quickly you get paperwork back to us and how flexible you are in your request for a child all will impact your timeframe in adoption.

The Cradle is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit adoption agency. As such, we do not seek to make a profit from our services. The Cradle makes every effort to keep adoption a financially accessible option for building your family. In fact, the fees do not cover the costs The Cradle incurs in providing counseling, outreach and educational services to all members of the adoption circle. The Cradle relies heavily on fundraising and charitable giving for ongoing support of adoption services.

Fees cover a range of services to all members of the adoption circle (birth parents, adoptive parents as well as adopted individuals) as well as to those who explore adoption but then ultimately choose not to place their child. We are thoroughly preparing you as adoptive parents for this experience through counseling and education. Expectant parent services include counseling, medical expenses and nursery care. We also provide extensive educational and outreach services to the professional community to ensure that they give their clients and patients accurate information about the option of adoption. Click here to learn about adoptive parent fees.

After more than 16,000 adoptions someone usually knows someone who has been involved with The Cradle. We use various media outlets to create awareness of our services in the community including Google advertising, television advertising and social media. We also have an outreach program where our staff visit hospitals, clinics and doctor’s offices to spread the word and educate health care professionals. Other parents learn about The Cradle through adoptive parent networking — some expectant parents feel more comfortable considering adoption if they can consider a specific family.

When considering adoption, adoptive parents determine their level of comfort with various factors, such as ethnicity, health risk and prenatal exposure. Expectant parents considering placing a child will also be given the opportunity to consider the type of family they are hoping for their child. We determine which profiles to show based on matching criteria.

The specifics of an open adoption are different for every family. We ask that, together with your child’s birth parents, you develop an ongoing plan in which you are both comfortable. The open relationship is going to be different for every situation. Learn more about the benefits of open adoption.

It is our experience that open relationships may develop into something different than originally planned. Generally, adoptive parents look for more contact as time goes by than do the birth parents. Most of our adoptive parents recognize the benefits that the relationship offers to their child and they look for continued contact. Initially most birth parents want the security that the decision they made was the right one for their child.

Whenever possible we provide counseling services for expectant fathers during the process. There are specific procedures established to ensure a legal adoption is possible in situations where a birth father is unknown or unavailable. Learn more about birth father involvement.

Read “Making a Plan for Involvement.” You may wish to consult an adoption attorney with specific questions.

Learn more about your rights as a prospective adoptive parent in the State of Illinois and the policies of The Cradle:

We do not have a minimum income requirement for our adoptive parents. We do need assurance that our adoptive parents can provide for their child and afford the adoption process. Our expectation is that you have realistically considered the expenses involved in parenting, including things like child care, health care, food, clothing or change of income if one parent stays at home after your child arrives.

All families will be asked to complete a detailed budget describing their expenses, assets and liabilities. We feel this is important because studies show that arguments over the stress of finances are the leading cause of marital strife and we would not want the addition of a child to cause financial hardship. If we have a concern about your financial stability, we will talk to you about it as early in the process as we can.

Home study guidelines and standards require that parents planning to adopt be stable, law abiding, responsible individuals, free from active alcohol or substance dependency. As part of a home study by The Cradle, we assess for those qualities and specifically ask about arrest/conviction histories. There are some crimes which automatically prevent people from obtaining an approved home study.

For any offenses, it is important to let your counselor know as early as you can. Most of the time it won’t interfere with your adoption, but we will need to ask you to submit a police report and court disposition with a letter of explanation. If we have any concerns, we’ll talk with you about them as early in the process as possible.