Examples of experience with CI service

After a CI case is completed, CISI asks all petitioners to tell us about their experience using a Confidential Intermediary. We also ask them to consider submitting a personal story to be posted on this website. Some topics we suggest they might want to include are:

  • When and why you decided to search
  • Your efforts to locate your relative before beginning the CI process
  • How the CI program worked for you
  • The outcome of your search
  • Feelings that you had during the process

A number of birth parents, adoptees and other relatives have given us permission to share their stories on the CISI website in the hope that their experiences may be of help to others. All stories we receive for this purpose are being posted and are not edited other than to remove names and other identifying information.

August 2019

CI Found Relative
I was contacted regarding my birth daughter. I received a notice & after the initial shock wore off I made the phone call. I was told how the process works and was given the choice to move forward. We exchanged maybe 2 or 3 letters and then chose to have direct contact. Being adopted myself I never imagined I would ever be contacted. It is now going on 2 yrs; and we are growing closer everyday. Her mom & I get along great and we have decided that the family just grew larger. We are called Mom #1 and I am Mom #2. We have discovered that our paths have actually crossed for many years. As her mom states everything happens when it is supposed to. I realize no every story turns out happy but youíll never know unless you take the chance. Iím glad we did.

April 2019

CI Found Relative – Birth Cousin

I received a letter from your agency last May informing me that my cousin, who was adopted, had passed away. Unknown to me, he had two blood half sisters. It seems my cousin was given up for adoption as a baby and his birth father was not allowed to marry his birth mother due to a religious difference. This was in 1946, and life was different in it’s outlook to a young unwed girl having a child.
While I was sorry to hear of my cousin’s demise, I had not seen him in over forty years and had no idea what had become of him or where he was even living, this situation turned out very positive. My aunt and uncle who had adopted him because they could not have children are long since passed. I established contact with my cousin’s two blood sisters and thru them I have learned a great deal about who my cousin’s birth mother was and background information about her decision to give up the baby.
Both sisters now live in a sunny warm Southern state and have even invited me to visit them. I couldn’t express a more positive outcome to this unfortunate news of my cousin’s passing.
I was somewhat puzzled as to why your agency would not even reveal the location or date of my cousin’s death, but later found out that a judge had to give a release of this information. I’m sure there are rules for privacy involved that prevent this.

CI Adoptee

I have been searching for a number of years but really got serious after finding my ½ brothers on Ancestry DNA in October of 2018. After they told me about the less than perfect relationship they have with our shared father I decided I really wanted to find my mother. It turns out she is in Germany. I knew in my heart all along she was there. A search angel in Germany helped me locate her, her address, phone number, pictures, etc. I wrote a certified letter but she still has not responded. Maybe someday she will? I’m just not so sure…I just want to know her story…

Since they could not help, I can not endorse the CISI program. Denise Victorin was very nice though and helped get me my maternal birth grandparent’s names. Thank you Denise!

CI Adoptee

I was amazed by how professional Emily A was. She explained how this program worked and what to expect. I got my real birth certificate & named my birth mother. I found 2 half brothers by her. I’ve met one so far & talked to the other. [A friend] gave me a phone # to call. That led me to my CI. Emily told me what to expect & that she would help me. She told me that the info I sent her helped a lot. It lead to my birth father …& half brothers. Unfortunately the oldest died a few years ago. They were to happy to learn they had a half sister!!! I am communicating all the time. They told me “We love you”.

CI Adoptee

The Confidential Intermediary Service of Illinois is a wonderful service for Illinois Adoptees. I could have had my adoption agency do the search but there would have been a fee. I was impressed with the timeliness of the search. I didn’t think I would care about the results but, admittedly, was disappointed my birth mother did not want to have contact with me. I did get to find out things from the conversation they had with my birth mother. That will probably be the closest I will come in contact with my birth mother. I would recommend this service to anyone who is thinking about finding their birth parents. When you are an adoptee you know nothing about who you are or even why you were created. At some point in your life you’d like to have answers. My process probably took three years but that was because I wasn’t in a huge hurry. The process started with the adoption agency and then getting registered on the Illinois Registry. Paperwork is necessary in order to be assigned a confidential intermediary and mine got lost so I had to resend everything. All in all it was worth the work. Thank you for your help!

CI Adoptee

I started my search 19 years ago and hit brick walls. My situation may be unique to some – my biological family has lived 15 min from me entire life. I am developing a strong bond w/ my bio-father – unfortunately he passed…and I was unable to ever meet him – my mom’s have developed a close bond as I’ve always known I was adopted. I’m so thankful for this service as I may not ever have found my bio-mom. We are “2 peas in a pod” and she is also building a relationship w/ my children – I’m thankful that I’ve had this opportunity to be able to find my bio-mom and hope one day my bio-father’s family decides to reach out to me as well as my children. I’ve always wanted to know who the face in the mirror was looking back at me – now my puzzle is more complete than ever. I can say 100% nature & nurture makes us who we are and now I have most of my questions answered. If I never get the chance to meet my bio-father’s family it’s ok. I’ve my birth mom and my adopted mom and we all enjoy each other’s company. I’m so thankful to this service for doing what I didn’t have access to find my family.

August 2017
Written by a birthmother who hoped to located her birth child

My story is a long one but I’ll try to shorten it the best I can. My mother made me give up my daughter for adoption when I was 16 years old. Of course I wanted to keep her but she (her mother) thought it was best for everyone. I always kept my information current just in case she would be looking for me. I did go through the state to fill out all of the necessary paperwork, and after that was taken care of, they gave me the number to Midwest Adoption Center and explained to me the CI service of Illinois.

Everything went so smooth. They were so nice and helpful and available with any questions or concerns I had. I can say now, after 44 years I have a relationship (and pictures) of my daughter! I have not met her yet but it is still early. We do communicate back and forth though, which is my one and only dream come true. And to know that she is healthy and happy means so much. It is truly a miracle.

July 2017
Written by an adopted adult who wanted to locate any birth relative(s)
Connie (not her real name), adopted as an infant, had been estranged from her adoptive parents for more than 40 years. She had one child, now deceased, so had no connection with any living relative. Beginning at 18, she had searched for her birth family. She had some bits and pieces of information from her adoptive family and spent many years searching on her own using that information – all of which turned out to be false. She hired a private investigator who said he had found her last name – which also turned out to be false.
After the law in Illinois changed, Connie obtained her original birth certificate. While her birth father’s name was not shown, it listed her birth mother’s full name. Using many different internet resources, she located information about her birth mother and her family including some names. After more years of searching, she had gathered a lot of information about other relatives and was even able to visit her birth mother’s grave. But she was not able to locate any living relatives.
Early in 2016, Connie learned about the CI program and filed her court documents. She wrote:
“My intermediary was wonderful! After a great deal of work over many months, she found my brother. We spoke by phone, exchanged emails and are going to meet this summer. His dad (who had been married to my mother) told me about the 50 years they were together and about her childhood. He has sent me pictures of the whole family. Although my CI located cousins, none of them want contact with me. But that doesn’t matter – I have a brother! I am an aunt! I have a step-dad who has fully accepted me. I finally have a past – and a future with a real, loving family. And that’s due to the tireless efforts of my intermediary. I am finally whole, and I have CISI to thank.”

Written by a birth mother hoping to locate her birth daughter
She described many years of searching for her daughter who had been adopted by a couple in another state. She paid thousands of dollars to two different professional searches with no success. Recently, another daughter learned about the CI program. Donna (not her real name) writes:
“From the start to the finish it took about 4 to 5 months. My daughter was located and agreed to have contact with me. We have talked on the phone and texted each other several, several times. She was proud to know she has a younger sister and brother. She’s glad to be the oldest. She was happy to know I was looking for her and wanted to have her back in my life. I am so PLEASED to have her in my life.” She goes on to write “I am thankful for places like CISI. I just hope other people who go thro CISI have as good fortune and miracle as I have.”

Written by the child of a deceased adopted person, hoping to obtain information and possible connection with birth relatives
After the deaths of their parents and two other siblings, Doreen (not her real name) and her sister were developing a family tree. To their surprise, they found a census record that described their mother as the “adopted daughter” of the Grandparents they had known. An elderly maternal relative told them that this was “a secret in the family about which nobody ever spoke”. He said that the family loved her as “their own” and never mentioned it, even as her mother was dying.
Doreen and her sister decided to try to find more information. She writes: “As I had no luck at all in finding out who was the biological mother of my mom, I decided to file for the assistance of a Confidential Intermediary. As my mom was born (more than 80 years ago) I had no expectations of finding any relatives alive but was anxious to know where she came from and who her mother was.”
“The court appointed CI was most helpful in keeping in touch, contacting me via phone, email and mail. Although I was not able to get my mother’s biological mother’s married name, I was able to have the name she used when she gave my mother up for adoption. The judge also allowed the CI to give us the last known address of her mother. Most importantly, we wanted to know the information as it pertained to health, with cancer being the main reason. The CI was able to give us the cause of death of the biological mother, which was most helpful.
“I am most grateful for the help given us and although we would have loved to know more about her own mother, the information shared was great and we are most grateful for what was obtained.

Written by a woman trying to locate a full birth sister who had been adopted
“I started my search for my full biological sister because I felt like a piece of the puzzle in my life was missing. I was persistent that I wanted to fill that puzzle place.” Karen (not her real name) had known for about 16 years that this full sibling had been adopted. She had been raised as an only child, although there were half-siblings through their father. Their father was deceased but their mother was living and supportive of Karen’s efforts to find this sibling.
She wrote: “Before using the CI program I had attempted to find my sister on my own. All I hit were brick walls and was getting no information anywhere. From the minute I called I was treated well, as I cried through that first phone call to them, they assured me that they were going to attempt to help me find her.”
“During the process I was VERY nervous, anxious and emotional. My caseworker, Emily, was absolutely awesome with me when I would email her. She assured me that things were rolling along and that my feelings were normal. That call …from Emily, I cried nothing but tears of joy that my sister was found. From the day Emily found her to the day I first emailed her were a whirlwind in my life and the most emotional three days.”
“I can’t thank the people at CI enough for what they have done! My sister and I text daily, have met once and are looking forward to the bond that we already feel that we have growing as we go through life. It has been a journey for sure, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. Bless you all for what you do helping people and finding their family. I know some outcomes are not as picture perfect as mine, and I feel sorry for them but you never know unless you try.”


*  Note:  The Confidential Intermediary provision was first added to Illinois law in 1990.  At that time, only adult adoptees and adoptive parents of minors could petition the Court for the appointment of a CI – and had to have a medical reason for doing so.  Effective January 2004, the need for a medical cause for filing was removed and birth parents of adoptees over 21 and other categories of individuals impacted by adoption were eligible to file petitions.  

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