An adoption is an important court proceeding that terminates the rights of a person's biological parents and creates one or two new legal parents.

In Cook County, the adoption process is governed by Illinois law and the Rules of the Circuit Court of Cook County, which require the use of certain forms and procedures.

The laws and rules regulating adoptions are as follows:

  • Illinois Adoption Act: governs all adoption proceedings in Illinois courts.
  • Case law: including decisions from the United States Supreme Court and lower federal courts, as well as from the Illinois Supreme Court and the Illinois Appellate Courts on adoption issues, which is available in the Cook County Law Library located on the 29th Floor of the Richard J. Daley Center. For more information, call (312) 603-5423.
  • Indian Child Welfare Act, 25 USC§1901 et seq.: a federal law to which certain adoptions of Native American children are subject. See, Haaland v. Brackeen, 143 S. Ct. 1609 (2023). 

Types of Adoptions

There are six types of adoption proceedings, each requiring different procedures, court forms and documents. The types are as follows:

    Related Adoption

    Either or both of the adopting parents are related to the child in any of the following ways: biologically, through adoption or by marriage. The relationship must be any of the following: biological parent, stepparent, grandparent, stepgrandparent, sibling, stepsibling, uncle, aunt, great uncle, great aunt or first cousin.

    Agency Adoption

    The adopting parents received the child from a placement made by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services or a private licensed adoption agency.

    Private Adoption

    The adopting parents received the child directly from the biological parents.

    Adult Adoption

    The person to be adopted is 18 years of age or older and is either related to the adopting parents or has lived with them for at least 2 years. The biological parents of the adult being adopted do not have to consent to or receive notice of this type of adoption.

    Agency Assisted Adoption

    An Agency Assisted Adoption occurs when prospective adoptive parents match with a potential birth mother through their own efforts and use an Illinois licensed agency to facilitate the process. 

    International/Confirmation of Foreign Adoption

    This procedure confirms adoption of a child in a foreign country in the State of Illinois (re-adoption). Most international adoptions are completed in the child’s country of origin. Parents who adopt internationally may choose to “readopt” the child by filing a domestic adoption petition to confirm the adoption. You may change your child’s name at this point, and Illinois can issue a Record of Foreign Birth to serve as their birth certificate.