African American Adoption FAQs

The Cradle welcomes prospective adoptive parents of all religious, racial and ethnic backgrounds. 

Marriage Status:

We work with married couples as well as single men and women.

At the time of registration couples do need to be married, but we do not have a marriage length requirement.

Age Requirements:

At the time of registration prospective adoptive parents need to be between the ages of 25 to 47

Location Requirements:

Prospective adoptive parents must live within one of the six counties in Illinois we serve:

⬤  Cook

⬤  DuPage

⬤  Kane

⬤  Lake

⬤  McHenry

⬤  Will


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 can offer no 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.

Fees cover a range of services to all members of the adoption circle (birthparents, 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.

Many hear about us by reputation. After 15,000 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. And we also have Community Outreach Workers who visit clinics, hospitals and doctor's offices to spread the word about The Cradle and educate health care professionals on adoption practices. Others learn about The Cradle through adoptive parent networking -- some expectant parents feel more comfortable considering adoption if they can consider a specific family. Networking is encouraged for prospective adoptive parents.

In the past few years, we've placed many children with same gender and single parents. Expectant parents choose a family on their own personal set of criteria; realistically some will probably not be interested in a same gender or a single parent for their child. However, we also have experiences in which expectant parents will prefer a same gender or single parent family for their baby.

When considering their child request, adoptive parents will determine their level of comfort with various factors, such as ethnicity, health risks, 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 will determine the amount of profiles shown based on matching criteria.

The specifics of an open adoption are different for every family. We ask that, together with your child's birthparents, you develop an ongoing plan in which you are both comfortable. The open relationship is going to be different for every situation.

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 birthparents. Most of our adoptive parents recognize the benefits that the relationship offers to their child and they look for continued contact. Initially most birthparents 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 --- just as we counsel the mother. There are specific procedures established to ensure a legal adoption is possible in situations where a birthfather is unknown or unavailable. You may click here to read more about birthfathers; and you may wish to consult an adoption attorney with specific questions.

Click here to find out more about adotive parents rights and responsibilites in Illinois.

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.