Theresa Rahe Hardesty is an adoption attorney in Peoria, Illinois. She has practiced law for over 30 years, and considers herself extremely fortunate to be able to limit her practice to adoptions. She attended the University of Illinois as a James Scholar, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology in 1973 with high honors. She obtained her law degree from DePaul University College of Law in 1977. She then moved to the Peoria area to accept a position with the law firm of McConnell, Kennedy, Quinn & Johnston. At that time she was one of only 5 female members of the Peoria Bar Association. She opened her own office in 1980. She served as a law clerk to Justice William B. Wombacher of the Illinois Appellate Court for 3 years. She has operated her present law office focusing on adoptions since 1986.

Ms. Hardesty became a fellow of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys in 1993. This professional association consists of attorneys and professors in the United States and Canada who are dedicated to the highest standards of practice in the field of adoption. Membership is by invitation only. She is also recognized as a Leading Lawyer, which is a distinction given to fewer than 5% of Illinois attorneys based on a survey of their peers. Theresa authored the chapter on Open Adoption for the 2002 IICLE Practice Handbook on Illinois Adoption Law.

Theresa Hardesty is married to Mark, and they are the parents of six children: stepson Troy Hardesty of Colorado, son Rob Parker, who is a second year law student at St. Louis University, and Bill, Suzanne, Ted and Emily Hardesty, all of Peoria.

Theresa has been an active community volunteer, with involvement as a founding board member of the former WomenStrength which pioneered in the field of services to victims of rape and domestic violence (now known as Center for Prevention of Abuse); President and board member of University of Illinois College of Medicine’s Pediatric Resource Center (providing services to physically and sexually abused children); Executive Board member of the Junior League of Peoria, chairman of Tricentennial Playground (a collaboration between the Junior League and the Peoria Park District); board member of the Education Commission at Father Sweeney School for the Academically Gifted; Peoria Civic Chorale.

Awards and recognitions that Theresa has received in addition to the Leading Lawyer Network include the first “Friends of Adoption” Award from Catholic Charities in 2007, and being named as one of “25 Women in Leadership” in 2006. She was also the recipient of the 1992 Landen Memorial Volunteer Service Award from the Peoria Park District.