Process

The Cradle primarily works with prospective adoptive parents who are at least 25 years old, in good health, and are Illinois residents who reside in the greater Chicago area.

We welcome prospective adoptive parents of all religious, racial and ethnic backgrounds. We work with single men and women, heterosexual couples who have been married for at least one year and same gender couples who are in a civil union.

Attend a General Adoption Information at any of our meeting locations. These meetings provide an overview of The Cradle's adoption programs, introduction to open adoption (for domestic adoption), and include an opportunity for questions.

Complete and return preliminary paperwork with registration fee

Meet with your personal adoption counselor who will discuss your interest in adoption.

The home study consists of a series of couple and/or individual interviews with your counselor, selecting the adoption program that is right for you, home visits, paperwork, and a series of educational classes that will prepare you for welcoming a child into your home. Your counselor will work closely with you throughout your preparation process. A home study is the legal document required for licensure as a foster parent in the state of Illinois. It documents the backgrounds, lifestyles, home setting and medical history of an adoptive family. A home study also includes a background check and fingerprinting. When you adopt through an agency, a foster parent license is required. 


A home study is made up of the following parts:
•  fingerprints
•  criminal background check
•  state child abuse and neglect clearance
•  medical history
•  a series of interviews with an adoption counselor 
•  autobiography
•  references
•  home visit

Create your "Dear Birthparent" letter to introduce your family to potential birthparents You will write a letter to prospective birthparents, including photos of yourselves, family and friends. The letter is your first introduction to birthparents and will help them to understand a little about what it would be like for their child to live with your family. Your "Dear Birthparent" letter (see examples at Meet Cradle Families) will be shown to birthparents who are considering adoption.

Expectant parents looking to place a child and prospective adoptive parents meet to determine if they want to work together toward an open adoption.

The Cradle is a source of support after you bring your baby home. You'll be able maintain your connection to The Cradle and other adoptive families at our many family events and workshops.

Families who adopted through The Cradle Adoption Agency, share their stories

Video Transcript

Describe the first time you met your child.

"Nina was swaddled in this little white blanket and her little head was sticking out of the top and the nurse said, 'are you ready?' and she showed her to us - and we pretty much broke down in tears at that point."

"We met him for the first time when he was about six hours old. His birth mom asked if we were prepared to take him home the next day. We said yes and went home and quickly prepared.

"She was about a week old here in The Cradle. And it was an overwhelming feeling and we were very excited."

"I got him when he was eight weeks old. And they placed him in my arms and I Just fell in love."

"We made it quick to get to the hospital and I saw Eva come out and she was radiant and healthy, and I actually cut her umbilical cord. So, it was pretty awesome."

"She couldn't keep her eyes off of us. She was looking lovingly into my wife's eyes, into my eyes. It was a wonderful thing."

What is your favorite part of being a parent?

"Just seeing her slowly turn into her own person, develop her own character, and knowing that you had a part in that. It's just an amazing experience."

"There are so many little moments that it's hard to describe but when Ethan is happy and giggling and smiling, there's nothing better."

"Most definitely it's her smiling. Watching her develop, every couple of days you see a drastic increase in development. And now, as you see, she's learning to throw things."

"The time that we spend together, when it's just the two of us, that's my favorite part."

"Well, Eva does something new and cute every day. And just watching her learn things and she's such a happy baby. Frankly, there isn't any downside."

"Just how excited she is when we come home from work or when she wakes up and sees us. Just how excited she is and happy she is to see us."

What do you like to do together as family?

"Well, she loves music and dancing so we tend to do that a lot at home. We try to go out and come back into the city and go to festivals and were hear music and see a lot of our friends. A lot of our friends actually have gone through The Cradle so we spend a lot of time with her Cradle sisters."

"One of the things Ted and I have always enjoyed prior to becoming parents was going out to eat and eating good food, and Ethan has taken to that pretty well."

"She loves to play, like all kids, so we take her to the park."

"We have a park right near our house so she loves going to the park. You come home from a long busy day and she'll say, 'outside!' And at that point you just melt."

"Bath time is fun for him, not so much for me, but together, he enjoys it."

What advice would you give to those considering adoption?

"I think if people who don't know a lot about it just opened up their minds to it a little bit and learned about it, I think it's rewarding in a whole different way, and I would say just do a lot of openness and education with the family about it. That was really helpful for us."

"It may sound cliché but when you go through the adoption process, there is a baby out there for you. There is a baby meant for you. And that could not be more true with Ethan." "Throughout it all, we tried to be as flexible as we could just in terms of working with our counselor and considering potential matches and ultimately, like Christy said, we ended up with the baby that was meant for us."

"There are a lot of ups and downs, it's not easy, but it's definitely worth the wait, absolutely." "It's definitely a lot of work, classes and what have you, and there are lots of emotional ups and downs, but stay persistent. Because it's definitely, definitely worth it."

"I'd say be careful about it, know exactly what you're getting into and understand that while it may not be easy, it is totally worth it."

"I would say if your ultimate goal is to be a parent, that adoption is a great route to that. And trust the program. There wasn't a class that we went to that we didn't walk out knowing more than we went in with. And we were passionate about our baby finding us. And she did."

"I would say for us, it's the best decision we've ever made. And there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about adoption, and I would say go into the process understanding that those are myths and misconceptions, and you'll learn a lot as you go through the adoption process, but my one thing is to say that once you start the process and finish, I'm sure you'll find that you feel the way we feel, that's it's the best decision we've ever made because you'll have a little child in your life that will make you very happy."