Free Counseling is available to you virtually or in person. Please call 847-870-8181. We are here to listen.

Hopeful Beginnings Makes Your Needs a Priority Throughout the Entire Adoption Process

Adoption Process for Families & Other Resources

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Speak With A Hopeful Beginnings of St. Mary’s Adoption Specialist

Families interested in learning more about adoption should call the office at 1-847-870-8181 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. During this time, a counselor will ask you general questions and/or schedule a private consultation to talk in more detail and review next steps, if that is something you are interested in pursuing.

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Attend An Initial Meeting

This meeting is designed for prospective adoptive individuals or couples with questions about the adoption process. At this meeting, one of our Adoption Specialists will explain Hopeful Beginnings approach to adoptions.  During this meeting, you will also learn eligibility requirements, what it means to have an open adoption, as well as the adoption process from application to post placement.  This is a time to speak privately with someone in person, in a safe setting, to explore various aspects of adoption and to ask any question you may have regarding the adoption process.

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Complete An Application

Should you choose to work with Hopeful Beginnings of St. Mary’s, the next step is to complete the application packet in its entirety. Upon receipt of your application materials and payment, a Hopeful Beginnings adoption specialist will notify you of your acceptance and you will be assigned an adoption counselor who will remain with you during your entire adoption journey.

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Complete The Home Study Process

Families who are looking to adopt in Illinois and live in Illinois are required to complete an adoption home study. The home study process includes background checks, ten hours of adoption education, interviews, and home visits. During the interviews, your counselor will learn more about your family and preferences in an adoption.

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Prepare For Placement

This is a good time for you to continue your education on adoption and parenting. Your adoption journey begins when a child enters your home. Therefore, Hopeful Beginnings of St. Mary’s stresses the importance of adoptive families continuing to obtain education throughout the different developmental stages of their child’s life.

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Post Placement

Adoption requires post placement visits with your counselor for finalization purposes. The number of visits will be dependent upon which state finalization takes place and will vary. Following the completion of the post placement supervision, your counselor will complete and submit an Investigatory Report to the court recommending your adoption be finalized.

**Remember that Hopeful Beginnings of St. Mary’s will always be a resource for your adoption – before, during and after your journey.

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Within Hopeful Beginnings, adoptive families can follow either the Hopeful Beginnings Domestic Program or the Home Study Only program.

Domestic Program

Our experienced staff provides professional guidance and support for adoptive families as they begin and throughout their unique adoption journey. Hopeful Beginnings places newborns of every race and ethnic origin that are born in Illinois. Occasionally we place infants that may need medical interventions. The staff at Hopeful Beginnings ensures that all adoptions are completed in an ethical and legally safe manner.

Home Study Only Program

The Home Study Only Program is for individuals and couples that reside in Illinois and are currently working with an interstate agency or a private attorney. Hopeful Beginnings provides the home study, education, and post-placement visits required to complete interstate or attorney assisted adoptions. The Home Study Only Program is similar to our Domestic Program; all home studies comply with rules, standards, Illinois Law, and includes information required by the state where the newborn was born.


Following our mission, Hopeful Beginnings takes great pride in finding loving, stable and safe homes for children. We work with prospective adoptive couples and singles of many different backgrounds to ensure that every child placed for adoption through Hopeful Beginnings has a good home. All applicants must be at least 23 years of age and demonstrate a healthy lifestyle. Applicants who are accepted to the Hopeful Beginnings adoption program are required to participate in ongoing adoption education, complete all adoption and legal paperwork, complete the required home study process, and adhere to agreed-upon birth parent correspondence. It is important to remember that the birth parents make the final decision about with whom the infant is placed for adoption. At Hopeful Beginnings, we provide guidance and support to everyone in the adoption triad – birth parents, adoptive parents and adoptees. Please speak with one of our adoption counselors to learn more.

Below are the most basic requirements to be accepted into a Hopeful Beginnings Adoption Program:

  • Single or Married Couples
    • If married, you must have been married for at least 1 year and demonstrate marital stability
    • We do not accept unmarried couples that are cohabiting together.
  • Must be a resident of Illinois
  • Be able to successfully meet all home study requirements

For more than a century,  Hopeful Beginnings has helped to build loving families. As a nonprofit agency, we rely on charitable contributions and fundraising to make our adoptions more affordable. The costs of serving our families through education, counseling and maternity assistance are greater than the fees collected. Please review the following summary and feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.

Adoption Fees – Domestic Adoption Program
  • Adoption Application: $400
  • Home Study: $4,000
  • Program Fee: $9,000
  • Placement (includes 4 post-placement visits): $22,000
Home Study Only Program
  • Adoption Application: $400
  • Home Study: $4,000
  • Interstate Compact and Agency Consultation / Paperwork Fee: $1,500
  • Post Placement Monthly Supervision Fee: $325 per visit*

*number of placements varies upon which state finalization occurs.
**All fees are revised as of July 1, 2023 and are subject to change. Learn more about Hopeful Beginnings of St. Mary’s Services refund policy.

Adoptive parents might be eligible for a tax credit. Please consult your tax adviser and visit the Internal Revenue Service web site, for further information.

Go to Hopeful Beginnings Adoption Information Links for information on financial assistance for adoptive families.

Hopeful Beginnings of St. Mary’s Services is an Illinois, licensed, nonprofit adoption agency. We are committed to providing professional, knowledgeable services. DCFS License #040234

Due to the ERISA Act of 1974, the adoptive family or their medical insurance will be responsible for any and all of the child’s medical bills incurred from the birth of the child.

Other Fees Of Adoption

Hopeful Beginnings provides clients with referrals to experienced adoption attorneys. Legal fees are paid directly to the attorney. Legal fees are in addition to any adoption fees incurred at Hopeful Beginnings.

Financial Assistance for Adoptive Familes
  • The National Council for Adoption – Provides a list of resources for grants, loans and other benefits.
  • Pathways for Little Feet – An interest free loan offered by a Christian based nonprofit organization.
  • Gift of Adoption Fund – provides grants to assist with domestic and international adoption.
  •– Provides grants up to $15,000 that  assist couples and individuals (regardless of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, marital status or sexual orientation) with the cost of their adoptions.
  • God’s Grace Adoption Ministry – Provides grants to adoptive families of Christian faith. Contact them by calling (209) 572-4539.
  • Crowd-funding – Many families choose to crowd fund adoption expenses by using GoFundMe or  Make sure check the cost of transaction fees associated with crowd-funding.
  • Employee Benefits– Check with your employer for possible benefits. Reimbursements for expenses or a tax deduction on adjusted gross income may be available along with matching
  • Military Benefit– Active personnel may qualify for a $2,000 reimbursement.
  • Adoption Tax Credit – You may be able to benefit from the adoption tax credit depending on your income and your federal tax liability.  Learn more by following the link or talk with your tax professional.
  • Financial Aid – Financial Assistance may be available, please consult your Hopeful Beginnings counselor for more information.
FAQ's for Adoptive Families
What Is Adoption?

Adoption is a means of meeting the developmental needs of a child by legally transferring ongoing parental responsibilities for that child from birth parents to adoptive parents, recognizing that in the process a new kinship network is created that forever links those two families together through the child who is shared by both.

Is Adoption Permanent?

Yes. When all the procedures are followed correctly and by the law, an adoption never should be disrupted. We do our best to ensure that all adoptions through Hopeful Beginnings of St. Mary’s Services are done ethically and legally.

Do You Only Place Newborns?

Hopeful Beginnings of St. Mary’s primarily places newborns, but has placed children up to three years of age.  Hopeful Beginnings works with birth parents of all races, ethnicities and backgrounds; as well as infants relinquished through the Illinois Safe Haven Law.

What Is The Waiting Time?

Waiting time is often difficult to predict and differs for every individual or family, therefore we cannot guarantee or state a specific timeframe. Placement depends on your openness, flexibility and how quickly you complete/submit all of the required paperwork. Please remember that Hopeful Beginnings of St. Mary’s promotes “relationship adoption”, which means that the birth parent(s) ultimately chooses the adoptive individual or family.

How Do Potential Birth Parents Come To Work With Hopeful Beginnings of St. Mary’s?

Birth parents come to Hopeful Beginnings of St. Mary’s through a variety of ways, mainly through referrals, word of mouth and internet searches. Having been around helping women and children for over a century, we pride ourselves on giving compassionate, non-judgmental counseling to women experiencing unplanned pregnancies. We can be seen advertising on buses, directories, local papers, as well as television and radio. Our team regularly participates in outreach visits and presentations to hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, schools, churches and various networking events to provide education and awareness on adoption.

Do You Work With Birth Parents Who Live Outside Of Illinois?

Yes. Hopeful Beginnings occasionally works with birth parents in neighboring states of Illinois. In this case, an experienced and licensed agency and/or adoption attorney would also get involved. If the infant is born outside the state of Illinois, this becomes an interstate adoption case.

What Is Hopeful Beginnings of St. Mary’s Services Philosophy Towards Openness?

There are varying degrees of openness in adoption. We work with adoptive individuals or couples and birth parents to achieve a level of openness that is desirable to all. Hopeful Beginnings of St. Mary’s Services is always looking out for the child’s best interest. Openness between the birth parents and adoptive family is negotiated and agreed upon prior to an adoption taking place. All parties should be comfortable with the agreement and adhere to it for the benefit of the child. Hopeful Beginnings of St. Mary’s believes an adoptive relationship should meet the needs of the child. We encourage flexibility in our adoptions and will work with our adoptive individuals or couples to better understand openness in adoption and the benefits for the child.

What If The Birth Father Is Not Involved With The Birth Mother?

Hopeful Beginnings of St. Mary’s Services’ first priority is to try to involve the birth father, if identified, in making an adoption plan for his child and to sign legal surrender paperwork. If the birth father is uncooperative, our attorney will serve him legal documents through the sheriff or process server. If the birth father does not comply, then publication is necessary and will be carried out through our attorney. Publication is also necessary in circumstances where the birth father is unknown. The putative father registry is consulted for registration by the birth father as well. Upon completion of these steps, the birth father’s rights can be terminated in court on the grounds of abandonment. We have adoption attorneys available for consultation at all levels of this process to ensure the adoption is safe, legal, and ethical.

What Services Are Provided To The Potential Birthparents?

Hopeful Beginnings provides options counseling in a safe, confidential and non-judgmental environment. If a woman (or couple) wants to create an adoption plan, their Hopeful Beginnings Counselor is with them every step of the way. Assisting them with obtaining medical insurance, prenatal care, and public aid benefits are just a few of the resources we can help provide. The client’s counselor becomes a major support role and ally in their life while deciding what the best option is for themselves and their unborn child. If an adoption occurs, post-placement counseling is provided for as long as needed.

Call us at 847-870-8181 for more information. One of our adoption specialists will be happy to answer your questions about the adoption process.

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