Frequently asked questions

General questions

What are the requirements for people adopting through your agency? Do I need to be Lutheran?

When is the next orientation meeting?

What are the benefits of working with LCFS? How do I know you are reputable?

How many children did you place for adoption last year?

 

About home studies

What is a home study like?

What does the educational component of the home study process consist of?

How long does the home study process take?

What does a home study cost?

 

About foster family licensing

Is an Illinois Foster Family Home License required to adopt a child?

How long does the licensing process take?

 

About domestic adoptions

Can you help us locate a birth mother?

Do you advocate open adoption?

How much does an identified adoption cost?

Does "identified adoption" mean we must share identifying information with the birth parents?

 

About international adoptions

What is LAN: A Lutheran Adoption and Foster Care Alliance?

What countries do you commonly work with in international adoption?

Do you work with families residing outside the United States who wish to adopt a child from the United States?


General adoption questions

What are the requirements for people adopting through your agency? Do I need to be Lutheran?

LCFS works with members of any religious group. LCFS' eligibility guidelines follow those of Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. There are no requirements regarding marriage, divorce, religion, upper age of parents or number of children. We do not require documentation of infertility. Single people may adopt.

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When is the next orientation meeting?

LCFS has found that adoptive families prefer to have a personal conversation with a knowledgeable adoption specialist rather than attend a large orientation and information meeting. Our Intake Specialists, Laurie Lawton (in northern Illinois and metropolitan Chicago) and Helen Quaid (in central and southern Illinois) will talk with you personally over the phone and provide you with extensive information while answering all your questions.

Contact our Intake Specialists.

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What are the benefits of working with LCFS? How do I know you are reputable?

LCFS offers you the safeguards and services of an agency adoption, along with personalized service and choices. You are not bound by outdated and strict requirements regarding such things as age, marital status and number of divorces.

Each adoptive family has their own LCFS worker who provides support, guidance and adoption education as part of the home study process. Your worker will assist you with the paperwork necessary for you to complete your adoption, such as a foster family license, approval from The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services or a visa from the Citizenship and Immigration Services.

An LCFS domestic identified adoption allows you to be pro-active in locating a child and does away with long waiting lists. You have the option of determining a comfortable level of openness with the birth family. When partial openness is decided upon, LCFS can serve as an intermediary in maintaining ongoing contact. In addition, LCFS permanently keeps social and medical information on record and files may be updated over the years.

If you are adopting internationally, rather than working with an agency that knows a little about facilitating adoptions in many countries, you can work with specialists who have experience facilitating adoptions from your selected country through either a Lutheran Adoption Network (LAN) adoption or work with a reputable placing agency of your choice.

In all types of LCFS adoptions, post-placement support and services are available over the years to provide you help with any questions or issues that may arise.

LCFS has been providing services to families since 1873. We are licensed by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Children and Family Services. LCFS is a member of the Alliance for Children and Families, the Lutheran Adoption Network and Lutheran Services in America. We are also an enlisted agency with the Government of India.

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How many children did you place for adoption last year?

For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013, LCFS helped build families through 139 placements including 28 international adoptions.

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About home studies

What is a home study like?

The home study usually includes four office interviews and a home visit. There is also an educational component that may be completed concurrently with the interviews.

A home study is not meant to screen out people but prepares those who wish to adopt. Our social workers are not judgmental and the process is not meant to be an interrogation. We have designed the process to be thought-provoking, educational and enjoyable.

What does the educational component of the home study process consist of?

All adoptive families working with LCFS must complete some form of CPR training. This may be done through their local park district, hospital or fire department. In addition, families need to complete some other form of training related to adoption and child rearing.

This training may consist of attending one of the free or low-cost adoption educational seminars offered by LCFS, attending some other educational seminar offered in the community, reading specific books and/or articles, or some combination of the above. Your worker will discuss with you what training opportunities are offered in your area to help you meet the training requirements necessary for you. In order for anyone to be licensed as a foster family in Illinois, he or she must complete at least six hours of training.

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How long does the home study process take?

The average time to complete an international home study, from the first interview to the written notarized report, is 12 weeks. For domestic adoptions, the interviews can be completed in as little as eight weeks from your initial interview. Because LCFS has no waiting list, in most cases your worker will contact you to set up the initial interview within five to ten days after you submit your application. In emergency situations where the baby will be born in a matter of days, LCFS can expedite the process.

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What does a home study cost?

The fee for a domestic home study is $2000 and the international home study fee is $2500; there is a non-refundable application fee of $300 for each program.  In addition to the home study itself, there is a fee of $300 in domestic adoptions and $350 in international adoptions for each post-placement/post-adoption visit and report; this fee includes the court report for finalization of the adoption in the United States.  There are separate fees for domestic birthparent services.  Detailed fee agreements are included with the domestic and international adoption applications.

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About foster family licensing

Is an Illinois Foster Family Home License required to adopt a child?

In cases of a domestic identified adoption that is facilitated by an agency, an Illinois Foster Family Home license is required by Illinois law. LCFS does not charge a fee for facilitating the licensing process.

In many international adoptions a foster home license is not required. Your worker can discuss with you the licensing requirements for your specific international adoption plan.

If foster family home licensing is necessary for your adoption, it will be included as part of the home study, and your worker will make this a simple process.

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How long does the licensing process take?

The licensing process takes eight to 12 weeks.

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About domestic adoptions

Can you help us locate a birth mother?

We will work with you regarding the many ways you can locate a birth mother. We do not have a traditional waiting list for healthy infants.

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Do you advocate open adoption?

We allow adoptive parents and birth parents to define for themselves the level of openness comfortable for them. At the same time we offer you information and education focusing on the many benefits of openness for everyone in the adoption circle. Because each adoption is unique and each situation is different, those involved should make decisions about how "open" or "closed" the adoption will be.

LCFS offers services as an intermediary to maintain ongoing contact between adoptive couples and birth families who wish to participate in a semi-open adoption while retaining some confidentiality.

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How much does an identified adoption cost?

The costs of an identified adoption can vary widely. In addition to the agency's fee, Illinois law allows prospective adoptive parents to pay certain expenses related to the pregnancy and the adoption which can include expenses such as medical care for the brith mother and child, birth parent counseling, transportation fees and some of the birth mother's living expenses. In some cases the birth mother has medical coverage and does not need assistance with certain expenses. In other cases the birth mother may have many needs.

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Does "Identified Adoption" mean we must share identifying information with the birth parents?

LCFS does not mandate open adoption or force families to share identifying information with birth parents.

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About international adoptions

What is LAN: A Lutheran Adoption and Foster Care Alliance?

LAN: A Lutheran Adoption and foster Care Alliance is a national collaboration of 30 Lutheran social ministry organizations that are active in both international and domestic adoptions and who are members of Lutheran Services in America. There are both local or "direct service" agencies and international placement agencies within the network. All LAN members have a shared reputation for integrity and ethical practices in adoption as well as extensive experience. Many of our agencies have been in business for over 100 years. As a faith-based network, LAN is motivated to serve by finding familes for children who wait. A commitment to honesty and professionalism is our hallmark. LCFS is proud to be an active member of LAN. Through LAN, we can assist you with the adoption of a child from China, Colombia, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Mongolia, Phillipines, Poland, Russia, Ukraine and Vietnam.

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What countries do you commonly work with in international adoption?

While most other agencies specialize in only a few countries, LCFS works cooperatively with several reputable placing agencies allowing you the option of adopting a child from almost any country in the world where international adoptions are currently taking place.

LCFS, in cooperation with the Lutheran Adoption Network, offers international adoptions from China, Colombia, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Mongolia, Philippines, Poland, Ukraine and Vietnam. We also work with other international placing agencies.

The most common countries that LCFS families have adopted children from are: China, Colombia, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Vietnam.

We have also facilitated adoptions from Albania, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Lithuania, Mexico, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Taiwan, Tunisia and Venezuela.

We will work with you to help you adopt from any country that legally allows international adoption.

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Do you work with families living outside the United States who wish to adopt a child from the United States?

Yes, LCFS has assisted families living outside the United States who have identified a child who was or will be born in Illinois. In these cases, the adoptive parents travel to the states and finalize the adoption in Illinois.

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