Adoption: How it Works

Pregnancy isn’t the same for everyone. Neither is adoption. It may seem intimidating, confusing or just plain difficult. But it doesn’t have to be.

At The Cradle, your counselors guide and assist you through this critical decision-making time with total privacy, completely free of charge. If you decide that adoption isn’t a good choice for you, that’s okay. We are here to help you decide what’s best for you.

When you are ready, call, text, email, IM – whatever you are most comfortable with. We will answer all your questions and help you explore all the possibilities of adoption.

Early on, a Cradle counselor will meet with you to help you explore all your options. We will never pressure you into choosing adoption, we just want to make sure you understand all your options, rights and responsibilities. Your Cradle counselor will explain the different types of adoption and, if you’re ready, help you outline an adoption plan that’s right for you.

Maybe you would like to have some kind of relationship with the adoptive family or maybe you prefer not to have any contact at all. Either way is fine -- and totally up to you. Our Cradle families are open to whatever adoption plan works best for you, and if you’d like to meet them, you can.

After the baby is born, your counselor will check in with you to make sure that adoption is still your plan. If you need more time to think it over, The Cradle nursery is always available while you make your final decision. If you don't live in Illinois, The Cradle has temporary care alternatives for your baby. It is important that you take the time you need to make this decision. Email us for more information.

If you are ready to proceed with adoption, your Cradle counselor will meet with you to sign all the documents that make it legal and permanent. By Illinois law, you must wait at least 72 hours after birth to sign these documents.  Laws differ by state with regard to the specifics of the legal paperwork. We can help you understand the adoption law in your state.  You may take long as you need. Once the papers are signed and the adoption is complete, your decision is permanent.

We encourage you to continue to meet with your Cradle counselor after placement – our door is always open to you. You are not alone and it is important to talk with someone who understands what you are going through. If you've lost touch with the adoptive family, we can help reconnect you as well.  Just give us a call or contact our counselors at

I didn't know anything about adoption...

Video Transcript

Slide: How did you decide on adoption?

Lisa: I didn’t know anything about adoption whatsoever so I just typed into my computer ‘adoption,’ and up pops The Cradle! And they set us up with a counselor immediately who came out to our school and sat down with me and just talked to me about what adoption looked like and the different forms that it can take and it was really interesting to me the whole concept of open adoption.

Slide: How did your adoption process unfold?

Lisa: We decided that open adoption was the appealing route and then went through a list of things outside of that that were appealing to me. I really wanted my child to be raised in an African-American family being that I’m African-American and there would be that relation. I did want a Christian home. Having other kids was an option as well. And just a couple that really loved each other. She took note of all of that and sent me five packets of different types of families that fit within what we had come up with and from those packets I would then decide who I wanted to meet with. So I told my counselor, ‘Alright, we’re really interested in John and Donna, let’s move forward.’ And we set up a meeting and it was just a moment of clarity, a moment of this is what is supposed to happen, these are the people that are supposed to parent my child.

So fast forward to today, he is seven years old. He is, and I know people say this about their kids all the time but I am honestly telling you that he is the smartest, most beautiful boy ever. And he’s at the age now where he is asking more and more of the questions because they talk to him about how he’s adopted and who his birth parents are, he has pictures of us, he has pictures of my sisters and my parents and so that’s been ingrained in him since the beginning. But now that he’s older and able to understand more clearly, he’s starting to ask the questions. Despite those hard questions that are yet to come, he’s still wanting to be around us and know who we are and so I’m looking forward to the future and just continuing on this great, interesting journey!