Summary of the Confidential Intermediary Process

File with Illinois Adoption Registry
You must file with the Illinois Adoption Registry before you petition the Court for the Appointment of a Confidential Intermediary. After you submit your forms, they will send you a letter acknowledging that your name was added to the Registry. A copy of that letter must be sent to the Court along with your petition.

Submit the petition forms to the Court
The petition may be filed with or without an attorney in any county in Illinois. Forms are available on this website (click here) or by contacting CISI. While we cannot provide legal assistance, we can answer your questions about completing the forms. Most people find that they can successfully complete the forms and submit the petition themselves. However, some people may prefer using an attorney who will handle all the paperwork and guide the petition through the judicial system.

Court hearing is scheduled
After the forms are sent to the Court, a hearing is scheduled. In most Courts, you will be required to appear in person. However, if you live some distance from the Court or if it would be a hardship for you in some way, you can ask the Court to be excused from coming to the court for the hearing.

Petition granted by the Court and a CI is appointed for you
When the petition is granted, the Judge will enter an order appointing a Confidential Intermediary from the list of persons who have been certified. The Court will send the Order of Appointment to CISI and may also send a copy of the Order to you.

Completion of service contract and fee payment
CISI usually receives the information from the court within 4 - 6 weeks after the hearing. When CISI receives your case from the Court, we will send you an explanation of how service will be provided, a contract and fee information to begin the process.

CI obtains adoption records and completes Search Assessment
When you have signed and returned the contract and service fee to CISI, your CI will request the sealed Court file, information from adoption agency files if an agency was involved in the adoption, and the original or amended birth certificate. It often takes 8 – 12 weeks for these documents to arrive. After examining the available information, the CI will prepare a Search Assessment form that describes probable success of the search you are requesting and lists other relatives for whom there is sufficient information to make a search possible.

Your CI will talk with you so that you can decide for whom you want to search first.

Option to end the process
If you choose to end the process at that time, because the search success potential is poor or for some other reason, all but $95 of your fee will be refunded.

Search process
Search efforts will continue until the person you want to locate is found and is contacted by the CI, or until all reasonable attempts to locate him/her have been made without success. Some searches take as little as a few weeks while other searches go on for many months. You will receive a written progress report from your CI every three months until the search is completed. While it is not possible to guarantee a successful search outcome, program statistics indicate that in most cases, the CI is able to find the person being sought or an adult relative of that person.

If the relative is located
Your CI will talk with you about what kind of connection you would like to have with the person you are searching for. When the relative is located, the CI will make an outreach to that person to explain why you want to contact him, reassure him that his confidentiality will be respected, and to help him understand his options.

Both you and the found relative then have an opportunity to consider how to proceed. In many cases, at least one letter and sometimes pictures are exchanged anonymously through the CI. In most cases, the found relative chooses to have some kind of communication. However, whether to respond to the outreach or not is entirely up to your relative. As in every outreach, the CI will use extreme caution to ensure each persons privacy and confidentiality. If both you and the found relative chose to have direct contact with each other, the CI will facilitate the exchange of identifying information.

If the relative is not located
If your CI is unsuccessful using all normally available procedures, you may decide to request a search for a different relative.

Additional searches
After the first search has been completed, you may request another search if the CI has sufficient information to make additional searches possible. If you choose to do so, service will be provided in the same manner as during the first search.

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