How does adoption really work?

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, we will help you through this critical decision-making time with total privacy and respect, and 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.

You can call, IM, text or email us whenever you'd like. If you are very early on in your pregnancy or even if the baby has already been born, you can start the adoption process at any time. It's not too early or too late. We will answer your questions and help you create the plan you want.

A Cradle counselor will talk with you and meet to help you explore all your options. She will never pressure you into choosing adoption. Instead her goal is simple: to make sure you understand all your options, rights and responsibilities. Your counselor will explain the different types of adoption and help you outline an adoption plan that’s right for you. 

If you'd like, you can pick the parents for your baby from our group of waiting families. Rest assured all Cradle families have been thoroughly screened and are excited about parenting through adoption. 

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. Cradle families are open to whatever adoption plan works best for you, and if you’d like to meet them, you can.

Here's a look at some of our adopting families.

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. 

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.

How much you stay in contact with the adoptive family will depend on the relationship you and the family decide to form. Typically, birth and adoptive families exchange pictures often and even arrange for seasonal visits. 

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


Video Transcript

Slide: How did you come to choose adoption for your daughter?

Renee: I actually considered keeping my baby and raising her, and I had three teenage children at home so that was kind of a thought too. I guess I came out of my euphoric feeling of "I am woman hear me roar" I realized that there may be some other options.

It was a Sunday 
evening really late at night and I called the 800 number of the website and I spoke to someone who was so... there was just something about them. It was just a person but the connection just seemed really strong. 

Then the next day I got a call from someone at The Cradle and the conversation was really warm. It was who ended up being my counselor, her name is Leah. Leah turned out to be the connection I needed. 

I think that one of my biggest concerns was how would I view myself as a mother. Like I did this. I have three incredible children, why couldn’t I do that again? 

Through the strength that I think I got from my counselor, I was much stronger than I thought I would be. And I think that’s what it took. The recognition that when you decide something is right then it’s just right. It was just probably the comfort in knowing that whatever I might decide to do it’s going to be what’s right for me, not for other people’s opinions and thoughts. 

So Leah helped me to not push forward with any process that she knew in her professional career that I, as a birth mom, needed to go through.