Access to Cook County Adoption Records

Access to Cook County Adoption Records

Adoption records are impounded in Illinois and are not available for public inspection. This section describes the options available for requesting court authorized access to an adoption record. 

Illinois law provides:  All adoption records maintained by each circuit clerk shall be impounded... and shall be opened for examination only upon specific order of the court... the petitioners to the adoption [and] the attorney of record for the petitioner shall be entitled to receive certified copies of the order of adoption in the proceeding at any time within 30 days after the entry of the judgment of adoption without order of court. After 30 days from the entry of the judgment of adoption, no copies may be obtained without prior order of court, but good cause is not necessary to be shown by one of the petitioners to the adoption.  750 Illinois Compiled Statute 50/18 (c).

To obtain a certified copy of a Judgment Order of Adoption within 30 days after entry of the judgment, file a completed Certificate of Adoption \form with the Clerk. Certificate of Adoption form is available from the Clerk of the Circuit Court, Room 1202.

The Clerk of the Circuit Court's fee for certification of the Certificate of Adoption form is free for the first certified copy request and $9.00 for each additional certification request.

The Clerk collects a $15.00 fee to submit with the Certificate of Adoption form to the State of Illinois Department of Public Health for one certified copy of the new (amended) birth record.  

Additional copies of the same record issued at the same time are $2.00 each.   Make check or money order for the amended birth records payable to the Department of Public Health.  

Thirty-days (30) after the entry of the final judgment order of adoption, no information from the Clerk of the Circuit Court's adoption records is available without a court order.  

Depending on the type of adoption information sought, information may be obtained via one of the following service agencies:

(1) Illinois Department of Public Health Adoption Registry - This registry was established for the purpose of (1) providing identifying information to mutually consenting adult adopted or surrendered persons, birth parents, adoptive parents, legal guardians, and birth siblings. See 750 Illinois Compiled Statutes 50/18.1(a) and 750 Illinois Compiled Statutes 50/18.1b.  For more information contact:

Illinois Adoption Registry
605 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, IL 62702-5097
(217) 557-5160
TOLL FREE within Illinois) 877-323-5299

(2) Confidential Intermediary - Any adopted person over the age of 21 or any adoptive parent or legal guardian of an adopted person under the age of 21 may petition the court for an appointment of a confidential intermediary for the purpose of obtaining from one or both birth parents or a sibling or siblings of the adopted person information concerning the background of a psychological or genetically-based medical problem experienced or which may be expected to be experienced in the future by the adopted person or obtaining assistance in treating such a problem. See 750 Illinois Compiled Statutes 50/18.3a.  For more information contact:

Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County
County Division
Richard J. Daley Center, Room 1202
50 West Washington Street
Chicago, Illinois 60602-1368
(312) 603-5515

Additional information on adoption is available from the following agencies:

National Adoption Center
(800) 862-3678

Cook County Department of Supportive Services
(312) 917-1580

Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, IL 62761
(217) 782-4977