Friday, August 14, 2009


It was 1976 when I started my own search for birth family. Searches were not as popular then as today. A petition asking a judge to open my records was not time consuming. I received a reply within a short time stating to make an appointment to resolve the matter in the judge's chambers. I was to bring along a photo ID plus a statement from my physician that there was a medical need. My adoptive mother accompanied me to the appointment. There was no more information in my file than I already knew. However there was a name jotted down on the outside of the file. To this day I don't know if that person was a social worker or someone else who had called to inquire about the status of my adoption. The judge leaned against the latter. My adoptive mother had never heard of the woman and I've never been able to track her down. Perhaps it was a fictitious name. Many of my birth family members had passed away by the time my search was completed so this name on the outside of my file will most likely always remain a mystery.

In 1990 the Illinois Confidential Intermediary service was started. It is a program of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, delivered by Midwest Adoption Center. I don't know when the website ( was last updated. It includes a chart for the past two years but just which two years? Anyway, the chart shows that 63% agreed to contact, 20% relative deceased, 10% declined participation and 4% not located. BUT it does not state on what number these percentages are based on. To anyone not thinking too clearly this chart looks good. But I'm sure that is how Midwest Adoption Center wants it. They are in business! They seem to be very active in promoting any bill sponsored by State Representative Sara Feigenholtz (D) 12th District. Yes, that district and the Midwest Adoption Center are in the Chicago area. It certainly raises questions in my mind!

How difficult is it for an IL adoptee to get a court order to open their file? It could be easier to get away from an alligator or whale. Just recently when an adoptee received a letter of denial from a Cook County judge, it was highly questionable if his petition was even read from start to end. It seems more likely that the judge glanced at it and then instructed his secretary to pull out a form letter referring the adoptee to the Confidential Intermediary service. There is no doubt in my mind about this particular adoptee showing good cause and his case is unique, no question about it.

It sure seems obvious to me that there are people in Illinois who have a vested interest in keeping the Confidential Intermediary service intact. It makes it difficult to get a clean bill sponsored and would make it even more difficult to get it passed into law.

What can we do about it? Educating the public and those in official capacities would not do any harm. In order for there to be change people must speak out. Please don't sit back and think there are individuals and organizations taking care of adoption reform. The more who are involved, the better. Please do your part and don't leave it up to someone else.

A civil right should be restored to IL adopted adults in that they should have access to their original birth certificate, just as those who have not been adopted do. Anything less is not acceptable. The Confidential Intermediary service MUST go and the sooner the better.