resources and support

Our support extends beyond our doors. You’re facing some tough decisions. Life-changing, actually. We’d like to help.

Whether you’re ready to meet with us now or later, the Cradle can provide you the resources and support you need to take on the task of choosing what’s best for you. While we hope we connect with you someday, we offer the following free resources to help you get started on planning your future.

Suggested books about adoption 

We know the decision to choose adoption doesn’t come easy. As much as The Cradle supports all your choices, sometimes it helps to learn from others who know firsthand what you’re experiencing.Below are some books we think may be helpful as you face some of the hardest decisions of your life.

The Third Choice
by Leslie Foge and Gail Mosconi
This book explores the many decisions that need to be made when considering adoption as well as the emotional ups and downs along the way. The book covers a lot of ground with a down-to-earth attitude. Topics include: what to expert during pregnancy; what emotions to expect with adoption; what is open adoption; what to look for in adoptive parents; and the legal aspects of adoption.

Creative Arts Book Company, Copyright 2004

Given in Love
by Maureen Connelly
The mother who chooses adoption for her child is not usually recognized as a grieving mother. People assume that you do not feel sad or have a sense of loss. This book has been warmly written to help you prepare for the separation and loss of your child, and to support you during the grief you may experience.

Centering Corporation, copyright 1990

Saying Goodbye to Baby
by Patricia Roles
Written by a birthmother, this book explores the loss and grief that is unique to the birthparent experience. The book discusses the feelings women may experience from first discovering their pregnancy through placement and teaches women how to share their experience with important people in their life.

Child Welfare League of America, copyright 1989

The Open Adoption Experience
by Lois Ruskai Melina and Sharan Kaplan Roszia
Two leading experts provide an authoritative and reassuring guide to the issues and concerns of adoption and birth families through all stages of the open adoption relationship. It covers initial preparation to placement as well as what to expect year one through adolescence.

HarperCollins, copyright 1993

Out of the Shadows: Birthfather Stories

by Mary Martin Mason
Through powerful stories and photos, this book examines the invisible population of birthfathers: men who become fathers, but who may never get to hear their children call them "Daddy."

OJ Howard Publishing, copyright 1995


Illinois-based resources

Access Community Health Network
Access operates nearly 36 community health centers in Chicago, greater Cook County and DuPage County. Pregnancy testing and prenatal care in most centers.

The All Kids program offers Illinois children comprehensive healthcare.

Erie Family Health Center
Delivering culturally sensitive and high quality healthcare to thousands of patients in the Chicagoland area, regardless of a patient’s ability to pay.
Multiple Locations

Planned Parenthood of Illinois
Planned Parenthood offers a variety of gynecological and reproductive health services at convenient locations throughout the US.

Child Care Resource & Referral Agency
Referrals for child care resources. Find your local agency.

IL Action for Children - Cook County
Action for Children provides child care referrals and subsidies for child care. Services are available in Spanish. Several walk-in locations throughout Cook County.

Centro Romero
Family services program helping Latinos with legal referral, youth programs and GED. Domestic violence services for Spanish speaking women.
6216 N. Clark
Chicago, IL 60660

City of Chicago Family & Support Services
Chicago DFSS can connect individuals and families in need to important resources, from subsidized, quality childcare, to housing for the homeless
Administrative Offices
1615 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622

Community Counseling Center of Chicago
A community mental health agency. Also offers free parenting skills classes in English and Spanish for parents of children from birth to age 12. CTA passes, refreshments and free childcare provided.

Community Youth Network, Grayslake IL
Community Youth Network is a non-profit counseling center serving children, adolescents, individuals, couples and families.
Grayslake Office
18640 W. Route 120
Grayslake, IL 60030

Early Intervention Services
The Illinois Department of Human Services can help you and your family meet your basic needs.

Evanston Hospital Connections Program for Pregnant and Parenting Teens
Prenatal classes, developmental guidance, support and mentoring. Services are available in Spanish
2650 Ridge Ave
Evanston, IL 60201

Family Network, Inc.
Family support agency, open to all regardless of ability to pay. Promotes the well-being of children by supporting and strengthening their families.
330 Laurel Ave.
Highland Park, IL 60035

Howard Area Community Center
Infant and toddler program, home visiting, parenting, support, ESL and GED classes.
7648 N. Paulina
Chicago, IL 60626

Infant Welfare Society of Evanston
Comprehensive parenting services for teens including support groups, family support, case management, field trips and home visitation.
2200 Main Street
Evanston, IL 60201

On Your Feet Foundation
Providing personal support to birth parents to help them get "back on their feet."
1555 Sherman Avenue, #173
Evanston, IL 60201

The Night Ministry Youth Empowerment Services
Prenatal services, counseling, parenting skills, GED, job training and housing assistance.
773-784-9000 X 232
4711 N. Ravenswood Ave
Chicago, IL 60640

DuPage Emergency Shelter

Safe Families for Children
Strengthening children and families, through alternatives to state-run foster care and family assistance agencies.
4300 West Irving Park Road
Chicago, IL 60641

Maryville Crisis Nursery
A temporary emergency shelter for newborns through age six
24 Hour Helpline 773-205-3637
4015 Oak Park Ave, Building B.
Chicago, IL 60634

Chicago Emergency Housing Hotline
DFSS services include prevention, outreach, shelter and housing programs and supportive services.

YWCA Rape Crisis Hotline and Counseling Services
Operating 24 hour support for survivors of sexual assault and their significant others.
Call 888-293-2080 in Chicago Metropolitan Area
Call 630-971-3927 in DuPage County
Call 708-748-5672 in the South Suburbs features a local listing of rehab centers that treat pregnant women. is a community-based public-benefit website connecting people to the addiction resources they need. The resource is free to the public.


Indiana-based resources

Community HealthNet Health Centers
Community based organization that provides accessible, affordable and quality medical care. CHN has 5 locations through Lake County, Indiana. Also offers free pregnancy testing.

Community Health Center with locations in Valparaiso, Michigan City, Knox, Mishawaka, East Chicago, and South Bend, Indiana.

Porter-Starke Services
Community based mental health services with locations in Valparaiso, Portage and Knox, Indiana.

Swanson Center
Community based mental health services with locations in Michigan City and LaPorte, Indiana. Provides educational and therapeutic outpatient programs.

Crisis Center, Inc.
Provides free crisis intervention, information, and referrals throughout Indiana. Counseling and crisis services available, as well as an emergency shelter for youth ages 10 through 18.
Crisis Contact Line: 219-938-0900 (local)

Offers free parenting classes and services. Programs available in La Porte, Porter, Jasper, Newton, Pulaski and Starke counties in Indiana.

Hilltop Neighborhood House
Offers child care, a food pantry, an after school program, and other services for children.
460 S College Avenue
Valparaiso, IN 46383

Housing Opportunities
Provides housing assistance and therapy services for residents of Northwest Indiana.
2001 Calumet Ave
Valparaiso, IN 46383


Baptist Children’s Home Safe Families
Provides safe, temporary housing arrangements for children. Baptist Children’s Home serves families in Northern Indiana. See here for other chapters throughout Indiana.

Crisis Center, Inc.
Provides free crisis intervention, information, and referrals throughout Indiana. Counseling and crisis services available, as well as an emergency shelter for youth ages 10 through 18.
Crisis Contact Line: 219-938-0900 (local) features a local listing of rehab centers that treat pregnant women. is a community-based public-benefit website connecting people to the addiction resources they need. The resource is free to the public.


National resources

Women Infant & Children (WIC)
Supplemental nutrition program for pregnant women, breastfeeding women, women who had a baby within the last six months, infants, and children under the age of five.

Fussy Baby Network/Erikson Institute
Parent groups, warmline, infant parents program and a clinic. Services are available in Spanish.
420 North Wabash Ave. 6th Floor
Chicago, IL 60611

National Domestic Violence Hotline
Provides immediate support to victims of abuse.
PO Box 161810
Austin, Texas 78716
Office Line: 512-453-8117
Creating a Safety Plan
Web resource that provides information and support to people fighting substance abuse, addiction and mental illness.

Abused Children & Addiction: The Guide to Untangling, Reconnecting, and Building New Futures
A comprehensive report that examines the existing evidence supporting the link between childhood abuse and addiction. Also provides a framework for moving toward more positive outcomes for children who are subject to abuse.

How to Recognize Trauma in Children
How to identify childhood domestic violence and what to do.

Signs You May Be in an Abusive Relationship
This article provides information on what domestic violence and abuse may look like and offers advice and resources for getting help.

An Adoptee and a Birthmom

Video Transcript

My story begins, July 20th. I found out I was pregnant—four months pregnant. And I actually told my parents on the day that Michael Jackson died, so that didn’t really go over too well. Also because my mom’s a big fan. Their first question was, “You’re going to do adoption, right?” And I said, “Well, maybe.”

So, I was very focused on parenting. I wanted to parent. I was determined. I was saving money, like buying things. But then, like two months later, I realized I couldn’t do it. It was just way too much money. I didn’t have a good job. I didn’t have—I was still in college so I didn’t have a degree or anything. And it just didn’t work out. I’m actually adopted too so it was always on the back on my mind to do adoption.

I chose an open adoption because I’m in a closed adoption. So I don’t know anything. All I know is that I have two sisters. My dad was really, really, really tall and my mom really, really short. That’s about all I know, so just having that feeling of me not knowing kind of made me want her to know where she comes from and have that relationship with me wherever that ends up going in the future.

The thing is that in an open adoption, I know my daughter’s adoptive parents. They talk about me to her, all the time. Every night—last time I saw them I cried over this—they told me that every night they sit and pray for me for like a minute out of the night or whatever. So when they talk to Alyssa about me, they have a picture of me by her bed. They have this necklace my mom got me when I was at the hospital. She got one like it for Alyssa, so when she’s older she can wear it. I’m always going to be a part of her life.

I remember when I was in labor, the first thing I said when I got a contraction was, “Holy crap, I’m having a baby.” Like I was huge and fat and gross. But it never really hit me, and then I was kind of like, “Oh my god, this is actually happening.” You kind of have to sit there and think about, realistically, everything. This is another life. Everything you do impacts his or her life, good or bad. And it’s just really nice to see her have those things that I couldn’t give to her instead of having her live a life where I’d be struggling from paycheck to paycheck. It would just be really, really hard.

Her mom is a teacher, so she’s had all this summer off. So they’ve been doing family trips, they’ve been doing day trips. It’s just nice to hear those things instead of having her and having her be with in daycare all day with friends and with family instead of with me. It’s a good experience.