Adopting a Child
Let’s Get Started
Getting started with Domestic Adoption
1. Attend an Introductory Meeting
We recommend that potential adoptive parents begin by attending one of our monthly introductory meetings. There, you will hear about the programs ACI offers for potential adoptive families.
- Traditional Adoption Program
- Agency Assisted Adoption Program
- Home Study Program
These meetings also cover:
- How domestic adoptions take place
- Where birth mothers come from
- The different ways that people go about pursing their dream of adopting a child
- The experience of birth mothers and children who are adopted
- The different domestic programs that ACI provides
The meetings are free and they last approximately 2 hours. Most importantly, questions are encouraged. Click here to register for a Domestic Program Introduction meeting.
2. Submit an Application
Complete an application form and submit it to our office with the Phase I fee (See Fee Schedule for more information)
3. Complete an Initial Application Interview (IAI)
- Upon receiving your application, a member of our adoption staff will contact you to schedule your IAI. This interview is conducted at our offices during regular working hours, and may last up to three hours.
- Many interviews are completed in one session, but additional interviews may be requested.
- At the IAI you will receive all required paperwork in compliance with ACI, Illinois and DCFS requirements; these include medical forms, financial forms and criminal background clearance forms.
4. Begin Adoption Education Classes
- DCFS and Adoption Center of Illinois require 10 hours of education prior completing an adoption. Training must be adoption-specific and cover grief, loss, and attachment issues in adoptive parenting; birth parent and adoptive parent relationships; and parenting an adopted child. For a list of current training sessions click here. Complete DCFS foster family home licensing forms (click here for sample forms).
5. Participate in a Home Study Interview
- Upon completion of the required paperwork, you will be assigned a Home Study Worker. This person will contact you to schedule a home study interview. The home study is an interview/education session that is conducted in your home. Home studies are generally scheduled during regular working hours, and may last up to 8 hours. Most home studies are conducted in one session, but additional interviews may be necessary.
6. Create a Family Profile Album
- In our Traditional Adoption Placement Program, expectant mothers choose families for placement. Families create an album and web profile that capture who they are, and why they want to adopt, so that an expectant mother can get to know them. Albums and profiles generally contain photos plus a letter to the birth parents that describe the family’s composition, lifestyle, home, background, and expectations of life with an adopted child.
- Albums and web profiles are available for expectant mothers to review when a family is active with Adoption Center of Illinois. A family is considered active once the home study has been approved, a foster family home license has been issued, and Phase II Program Participation Fee has been submitted(See Fee Schedule for more information)
- Albums are presented to expectant mothers whose circumstances match an adoptive family’s preferences. For example, a woman who is delivering a child who is fully Hispanic would be presented only with albums of families who are open to children who are fully Hispanic. In general, the more open a family is to various circumstances, the more often their albums will be presented.
7. Stay Engaged With ACI
- While waiting for a placement, we encourage all of our waiting adoptive parents to continue to participate in education and training classes and participate in agency events.
- We recognize that the wider the exposure, the more likely a family is to find a placement. So we encourage families to do whatever they can afford emotionally and financially to get the word out. For families interested in providing their own outreach, we provide coaching in social media, the Internet and word of mouth.
8. Explore Additional Options
- Remember that FRC does not guarantee a placement for any family. Our policy is to support families in all their endeavors, so we do not prohibit individuals from pursuing pregnancy, fertility treatments, independent advertising and networking, International adoption or other agency adoption programs while also being active in TAP. We simply ask families to inform us of additional pursuits.