Agency Assisted Program 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. Though, it’s important to know that some placing agencies do 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 placing agency you choose, and there will be no guaranteed placement date. There are some things that will be in your control such as paperwork, availability and flexibility in your child request.

Fees cover a range of services to all members of the adoption circle (expectant parents, adoptive parents and adopted individuals). They also cover services 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. We also provide extensive educational and outreach services to the professional community to ensure that they give their clients accurate information about the option of adoption. Your placing agency will cover expectant parent services which include but are not limited to counseling and medical expenses.

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. Please discuss this with your placing agency and inquire about their placement statistics.

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. 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 agencies provide counseling services for expectant fathers during the process just as agencies would 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 will need to work with your placing agency as laws differ from state to state. You may also wish to consult an adoption attorney with specific questions.

The Cradle does 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. If we have a concern about your financial stability, we will talk to you about it as early in the process. Consultation with your placing agency is also advised as many require you to provide specific financial information.

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 early in the process.

Please consult with your placing agency regarding their policies on criminal offenses.

Families who desire to adopt from a different state need to identify a placing agency that is licensed within their state and approved by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. The Cradle requires that the agency be a 501(c)(3) and/or a non-profit.

Your Cradle counselor will discuss with you placing agencies that may be a good fit for your family and are aligned with Cradle philosophy.

The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children is an agreement between all 50 states that governs the placement of children from one state into another state. The Cradle and your placing agency will work together to ensure all needed documents are assembled for each state’s approval to travel from your child’s birth state to Illinois.

This process generally requires a family to stay in their child’s birth state for 7-10 business days while awaiting approval.