If you or a relative was adopted in Cook County, here is how you go about requesting the original adoption case file.

  1.  Write a letter to the Clerk of the Circuit Court
  2.  In the letter, indicate the information you want and why you are requesting it
  3.  Explain your relationship to the adoptee
  4.  Provide the adopting parent's names and the year (as close as you can) to when the adoption took place.
  5.  Include a copy of the original birth certificate if you have it.
  6. I would also include a copy of the adoptees death certificate to prove they are deceased.
  7.  Include a notarized copy of your photo ID with current information on it.
  8.  Include a check payable to the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County in the amount of $18, and an additional $9 if you want a certified copy of the judgment order.
  9.  Mail the request to 
    • The Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County
    • Richard J Daley Center
    • 50 West Washington Street
    • Room 1202 - County Division
    • Chicago, IL  60602
    • on the front of the envelope, write "Attention Adoption Unit"

Upon receipt of the letter, the clerk will look for the file.  Once found, they will send the court file along with your request to the presiding Judge for review.  The Judge's office will follow up with any additional correspondence.

Update - I am hearing that sometimes Cook County sends the request back and denies the claim based on closed adoptions.  I can't explain why they would do this when other cases have been opened.  Please make sure you call out that you want a judge to open the records since the child was born before 1946.  If all parties are deceased, call that out on the request.  

Below is the image of the document that Cook County gave me on how to submit for such a search.