Illinois Adoption Laws: 2021 Ultimate Resource

Illinois Adoption Laws: 2021 Ultimate Resource

Each state’s adoption laws can vary, so it is important that if you are considering adopting a child in Illinois that you become familiar with Illinois adoption laws.

Illinois adoption laws are in place to protect the birth parents, the prospective adoptive parents, and the child being adopted. You will want to find an adoption agency or an adoption lawyer who is very knowledgeable in the Illinois adoption laws.

We will cover some of the legal specifics for those adopting in Illinois involving newborn adoptions through the domestic adoption process, as well as adopting an infant or older child through the foster care system.


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With so many aspects of Illinois adoption laws and their corresponding policies, it is impossible to cover them all in one article. We will, however, dive into many facets of the adoption laws in Illinois.

You are strongly encouraged to contact a licensed adoption agency or an adoption lawyer for specific adoption laws and policies in Illinois, as laws and policies do change.

Can you adopt without a lawyer? How much do adoption attorneys cost? Learn all that and more by visiting Adoption Lawyers in Illinois: Do You Need an Adoption Attorney? where we also give you step-by-step instructions on how to vet an adoption lawyer.

Adoption Requirements in Illinois

  • 18 years of age or older.

  • Either single or married.

  • LGBT couples may adopt.

  • A physical exam is required.

  • Adequate space to accommodate a child.

  • A background check is required.

It is common knowledge that adoption is costly, but that is not to be confused with a false expectation that a prospective parent should be well off financially. Financial security is important and expected when applying to adopt a child, yet being upper class is not one of those qualifications.

Financial security simply means that you are able to pay your bills, cover your rent or mortgage, and that you have a reliable means of income and transportation. What matters most is that a child is loved, cared for, and kept safe and comfortable.


Learn more about adoption attorneys in our article What Does an Adoption Attorney Do? We Find Out.


Below is a summary including key points of the adoption consent laws in Illinois put together for your convenience and is intended to be quicker to digest. For a complete listing of all adoption consent laws in its legal format and in its entirety, visit Chapter 750 – Families 750 ILCS 50 – Adoption Act, courtesy of Justia Law.

It goes without saying that consent to adopt is a huge part of the adoption process. We may forget, however, that there is more involved than the birth mother’s consent.

Other aspect may come into play that you will want to keep in mind.

  • The adoptee who is 14 years of age or older must give their consent to the adoption. An exception to this would be if the child is mentally incompetent.

  • The presumed father has the right to consent to the adoption.
  • The agency to which the adoptee has been relinquished or which holds permanent custody and which has placed the adoptee for adoption.

Illinois Subsidies for Foster Care Adoption

Adoption assistance, otherwise know as adoption subsidies, is available for foster children in Illinois who suffer from physical, mental, and developmental challenges.

These children are at a heightened risk of health problems, learning disabilities, as well as mental health issues. Subsidized adoption provides assistance to adoptive families for medical access, special equipment, therapies, tutoring, and other support services.

In the US, about 90% of the children in foster care are eligible for adoption assistance.

Special Needs Eligibility in Illinois

A child with special needs may qualify for adoption assistance if the child meets one or more of the following circumstances, courtesy of NACAC.

  • Noted emotional, physical, or mental issues.

  • Being adopted by adoptive parents who have previously adopted, with adoption assistance, another child born of the same mother or father.

  • Siblings of two or more being placed for adoption in the same home at the same time.

  • A child 1 years of age or older.

  • Due to underlining issues in the past, the child is likely to suffer emotional, physical, or mental struggles in the future.

Illinois Adoption Advertising Laws

Adoption advertising is defined as using a public medium to express an interest in adopting a child or sharing that a child is available for adoption either by print or electronically.

Common means of advertising include:

  • Newspapers
  • Periodicals
  • Radio
  • Television
  • Internet
  • Billboards
  • Printed Flyers

Adoption entities who are duly authorized are allowed to advertise.

Adoption entities include such agencies as a child care facility or child welfare agency licensed or operating under a permit issued by the Department of Children and Family Services and may publish advertisements

Those advertising adoption without a license are guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be subject to a fine.

Courtesy of ChildWelfare.gov.

Birth Parent Expenses in Illinois

In all states, no person or agency is allowed to accept payment for assisting, placing, or organizing the placement of a child, as this is illegal.

Section 12C-70: Adoption Compensation Prohibited

The state of Illinois allows for medical or hospital charges for services related to the birth of the child being adopted, as well as legal fees and living expenses that meet basis needs as permissible expenses that may be paid by the adoptive parents.

Such expenses may not extend past 60 days after the birth of the child. Adoptive parents may also give a gift totaling no more than $200.

Accessing Adoption Records in Illinois

Who has a right to access adoption records in the state of Illinois?

  • Either birth parent
  • The adoptee’s adult birth sibling, birth aunt, or birth uncle, if the birth parent is deceased
  • An adult adoptee, or a guardian of an adoptee
  • If the adoptee is deceased, any surviving spouse, adult child, or adult grandchild
  • Any adoptive parent, legal guardian, or birth grandparent of a deceased adult adoptee

Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 750, § 50/18.4: Access to Nonidentifying Information

Adoptive parents may be provided in writing the following nonidentifying information, if available, no later than the date of placement of the child:

  • The birth parents’ age
  • The birth parents’ race, religion, and ethnic background
  • The general physical appearance of the birth parents
  • The birth parents’ education, occupation, hobbies, interests, and talents
  • The existence of any other children born to the birth parents
  • Information about birth grandparents; their reason for emigrating into the United States, if applicable; and country of origin
  • The relationship between the birth parents
  • Detailed medical and mental health histories of the child, the birth parents, and their immediate relatives
  • The actual date and place of birth of the adoptee
  • The reasons the birth parents stated for placing the child for adoption; how and why the adoptive parents were selected and who selected the adoptive parents; and whether the birth parent requested or agreed to postadoption contact with the child at the time of placement and, if so, the frequency and type of contact

The above information will not include any identifying information about the birth parents.

Citation: Comp. Stat. Ch. 750, §§ 50/18.1; 50/18.3a : Mutual Access to Identifying Information

The Department of Public Health maintains a registry of adoption records and allows consenting members of birth and adoptive families to share identifying and medical information.

Identifying information could include one of more of the following:

  • The name and last known address of the consenting person or persons

  • A copy of the Adoption Registry application of the consenting person or persons

  • A noncertified copy of the original birth certificate of an adult adoptee

Written authorization is required by the other party in order to have access to the above information.

Courtesy of ChildWelfare.gov.

Post Adoption Contact Laws in Illinois

Adoptive parents have a right to decide who has contact with their adopted child and when. Many times in an open adoption, the adoptive parents and the birth family have a mutual and informal agreement regarding contact with the adopted child.

The issue of post adoption contact is not addressed in the state statutes. It would be best to seek an adoption lawyer or other licensed adoption representative to obtain their professional advice regarding birth parent in the state of Illinois.

When are Adoption Birth Certificates Issued in Illinois?

When your adoption is finalized, court proceedings should immediately include beginning the process of obtaining a new birth certificate for the adopted child that reflects the child’s new last name and adoptive parents.

Do not hesitate to ask your adoption attorney or adoption agency if you need to initiate that process, or if the courts will do that on your behalf.


DISCLAIMER: The above state law information is provided to our readers as a courtesy and is meant to be helpful in offering some insight as to what to expect during your adoption journey. This information is not meant to be viewed as legal advice. In addition, possible changes to state laws may have taken place since the publishing of this article in July 2021.