The Cradle Society

Contact Information

2049 Ridge Avenue
Evanston, IL 60201
United States

Online Contact Form
Monday 8:30 AM-5 PM
Tuesday 8:30 AM-5 PM
Wednesday 8:30 AM-5 PM
Thursday 8:30 AM-5 PM
Friday 8:30 AM-5 PM
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed
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The Cradle is a nonprofit, licensed child welfare agency headquartered in Evanston, Illinois, which provides infant adoption services, counseling and educational support. Since opening in 1923, The Cradle has facilitated over 16,000 domestic and international adoptions and has been at the forefront of open adoption, African American infant adoption and placements with LGBTQ+-identifying families.

Just as each adoption experience is unique, so are the paths that lead hopeful parents to consider adoption in the first place. No matter the arc of your journey here, The Cradle welcomes you.

Building a family through adoption can be beautiful, complex and hard. Adoption is not a moment. It is lifelong, shaping everyone touched by it.

Services and information

  • Adoption
  • Other

Requirements to become a foster parent

You must meet minimum requirements to provide foster care for children in Illinois. To become a foster parent, you must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Attend foster parent orientation
  • Pass a background check
  • Finish 30 hours of foster parent training
  • Complete the Home Study
  • Provide at least three references
  • Clear a physical exam
  • Maintain financial stability

Foster families must be able to provide a safe and comfortable home for a child. You must provide room for the child to have a bed and enough space for personal belongings.

Foster parents do not need to be married or have a partner. However, if married, couples must show a stable marriage of at least one year before they can foster a child in Illinois.

Foster parents need to meet a child's basic care needs, such as providing meals and clothing. Foster families must also support a foster child's education and assist them in developing social skills.

Contact the DCFS or a local licensed child-placing agency to learn more or begin the fostering approval process.

Ratings and Reviews

Average user rating

4.6 / 5
Rating breakdown
If you have an experience with this agency, please write a review.
Sandra Drumke
Dec 16, 2022

I am proud to have worked in the Cradle Nursery for 18 years. During that time I had a front row seat to the wonderful work done at The Cradle for the babies, the birth parents and the adoptive parents. The Cradle is truly a very special place and it was a privilege to have been a part of the wonderful work they do.

Rating: 5

Jan 16, 2022

I placed my daughter for adoption through the cradle in 1999. I was a 15 year old girl who didn’t have much guidance and trusted the cradle throughout the process. I recall my counselor being very attentive with regular visits and talks.
The weekend I gave birth she was off and I had her on call replacement instead.
I don’t ever recall seeing her again as she switched to being the adoptive parents counselor instead of birth parents.
I went to one counseling session where one emotional birth mother ruled the meeting with her woes…I was never able to openly express my hurt. I felt disregarded and discarded after the placement. Like they got what they ultimately wanted and I wasn’t needed anymore. It has caused a lifetime of bad memories from the trauma.
22 years later my birth daughter lives with me now…after 20 years of living with her adoptive parents. It’s crazy how life has played out.
I wanted to share my experience as a birth parent and say I didn’t feel supported during such an emotional process and it was a true let down.

Rating: 2

John Darnell
Jan 02, 2022

I am a Cradle kid, glad for that.

Rating: 5

Faith Carlson
Apr 11, 2020

The Cradle is horrible. They are unethical when working with vulnerable mothers. They do not provide ethical choices counseling as they claim they do. Proper choices counseling would have involved informed consent which warns a mother about the lifelong risks of her child being adopted and the lifelong risks of adoption to the relinquishing mother. I was never told of any risks just lied to by the counselor. The counselor said things that adoption was best for my child and that she deserved to be raised with "lots and lots of cash." When asked about parenting resources, I was given a packet that showed high expenses and low wages for young mothers who parent. The packet included bogus stats saying that, "most young mothers who parent end up poor the rest of their lives." The packet goes on to state that the joys of parenthood can quickly become stresses if the mom is unable to provide their baby with the life they want them to have. The packet had no resources listed for parenting support and my counselor admitted to me that she did not know of any parenting resources in my area. After signing I started learning about the risks of adoption on my own which included learning the truama alot of adoptees go through from just being adopted, this information was from adoptees themselves via social media.

Rating: 1

Casey Karl
Dec 19, 2019

Writing this … takes me all the way back … to my beginning.

I am a Cradle Baby.

I attended the second annual Cradle Alumni Reunion. The sense of belonging was very powerful and, so much unbroken, free-flowing, effortless sharing was done in an environment of complete inclusion and trust. A common thread among the stories was a robust and genuine sense of gratitude. Especially, in the context of Birthmothers knowing that their babies grew up to a good life in a loving environment.

Another very palpable element was hope. Not all alumni had a positive experience when reconnecting to their Birthparents and families. Yet, they still approached a labyrinthine scenario with such forward looking energy and courage.

Twenty years ago, my family and I attended The Cradle Open House. Later that year, through The Cradle, I was contacted by my Birthmother. We exchanged letters over an eighteen-month period.

I attended The Cradle Gala that Winter (1999). I shared my story with a ten-top table full of, until then, complete strangers. One question to me was, “What would be the first thing that you would say to your Birthmother if the two of you ever met?”

My reply, “Thank you.”

It was not until attending the Alumni Reunion, twenty years later, that I really thought about … well, “the larger embrace” and “the added dimension of connection” and, how these concepts have tied into what I’ve done over my career as well as with my time “away from the office”.

It is very much about being part of something bigger than yourself and, I look very much forward to contributing to such a wonderful institution as part of the Cradle Associates Board.

Rating: 5