Adoption Informational meetings are held at the Delmar office in St. Louis on the first Tuesday of each month. If you are interested in attending, please contact Debbie Schallom, MSW, LCSW at 314.754.2761 or DebbieS@lfcs.org.
Families in the Columbia, Cape Girardeau or Springfield areas, please contact your local office to inquire about informational meetings or to schedule an appointment to discuss our services.
What is adoption?
Adoption is a wonderful way to begin or expand your family. Adoption is a process in which a child is united with a family. This child becomes part of the family as if he or she were born to the adoptive parents. The adoptive parents will receive a birth certificate listing them as the parents and the child's new name once the adoption is finalized. Clearly adoption is deeper than a simple definition. It is a love that is unconditional and has been displayed by many families who have chosen to adopt a child.
What is the adoption process?
The adoption process requires a sincere commitment from your family. Through the process you will explore various adoption issues, make parenting choices that are the best for your family, and ask questions openly in the privacy of your home with an adoption professional. We will treat you as we wish to be treated, with respect and honesty. You will begin to discover what adoption means to you.
Before you can begin, you must complete an adoption application. The Adoption Application (pdf, 223.76KB) takes a short time to complete. Once we receive the application you can expect to hear from an adoption professional in about one week. The adoption professional will begin an assessment process often called a homestudy. A homestudy is an autobiographical sketch of you and your family. It is required by the state and needs to be completed before you can adopt any child. The homestudy generally takes two to three months to complete. It requires documents such as a police record check, a physical examination, personal references, and child abuse and neglect screening. In addition, a series of meetings with your family will be completed as well as a visit to your home. After your homestudy is completed and approved, you will be able to adopt a child. The waiting period for a child differs according to the program you are working in. After a child is in your home, we will continue to offer support through quarterly visits until the adoption is finalized. Missouri law requires that the child be in your custody for six months before the adoption becomes final.
Who can adopt?
Our agency is able to serve a variety of families who want to adopt children waiting for a home. We strongly encourage families of color to apply to adopt a child. Opportunities may be greater than you have imagined.
- You can be single, married or divorced.
- If you are married, you must be married for at least two years.
- If you are divorced, you must be divorced legally for at least one year.
- You don't need to own your own home. You can rent your home or apartment. We require that you have a safe environment and adequate space for a child to grow and develop.
- You can have other children.
- You need to have a stable source of income, which allows you to live independently and afford to raise children.
- It is important that you are able to provide a child with a sense of ethnic and cultural identity.
If you feel that you are ready to become a parent and take on the responsibility of parenting a child, adoption may be for you. There may be additional questions that we will pursue with your family, depending on the child you feel will best fit into your family and requests of the birth family.
Who are the children?
Lutheran Family and Children's Services counsels a variety of birthparents from different racial, economic and social backgrounds. These birthparents come to the agency voluntarily to make a planned decision about their child's future. It is important that birthparents have a diverse population of prospective families to consider. A child placed in an adoption may come to you from one of our loving licensed foster homes.
In the past there have been minority adoptive placements of African-American, bi-racial (most usually Caucasian and African-American), and multiracial children. Families who can provide a child with a sense of ethnic and cultural identity are important to raising a healthy child. Lutheran Family and Children's Services primarily places healthy infants for adoption. These children are generally either newborn or sometimes up to three - six months of age when they are placed with their adoptive family. There are also times that a toddler or school-age child will become available for an adoptive placement either through our agency or by collaborative efforts with other agencies. The children who are available through adoption do not look any different than a child you may see walking down the street.
Is there a fee to adopt?
Yes, there is a fee to adopt to support our services. Fees are determined on a sliding scale, based on your ability to pay and may be reduced in accordance with your economic circumstances. Depending on the type of adoption you are pursuing, the fee may include everything from the education and orientation to the program to the home study, to post-placement and post adoption support, or may be based on a fee for service schedule. A subsidy may be available if the child you adopt is determined to have special needs. In addition, out-of-pocket expenses may be reduced through Federal and/or state tax credits. Your employer may offer financial support for your adoption.
What is an open adoption?
An open adoption is an adoption where the birthparents and the adoptive parents mutually agree to share information. The extent of information to be shared is agreed upon by both parties, and it can be shared in the format of meetings, written correspondence, and/or photographs through the agency. All available information on your child's background will be shared. Birthparents are encouraged to share complete information and update it as necessary. If there are any special circumstances in your child's background, you will be informed.
Who are the birthparents served?
Birthparents come from various backgrounds. They are no different than a person in your family or your next door neighbor. Birthparents may be high school or college students, employed or out of work, single or married. They come from various economic circumstances. Adoption is a selfless decision made out of love for this child. Most of the birth parents who work with our agency have sought support to make a positive parenting plan for this child. They are considering a plan of adoption in many cases because they feel unable or unprepared to parent a child at this point in their life.
What is an independent adoption?
An independent adoption is an adoption where the match between the adoptive family and the child is not made by an agency.
What is a special needs adoption?
A special need is a condition or circumstance as defined by law that may cause a child to wait for a permanent home. Special needs children include children who are school age, part of a sibling group, of minority heritage, and/or have physical, mental, emotional, or learning disabilities.
Some children may have needs that require specialized medical services. Other children may have specific background factors such as drugs exposure in utero that may require special attention. Regardless of what is in a child's background, every child needs a home. Don't lock your door to considering a child with particular background factors. Looking at the strengths of your family and the needs of a child will help you determine if adopting a child with special needs is right for you. Your adoption professional will become your partner and advocate in helping you during the homestudy process to make a decision.
What is an Intercountry adoption?
Hague Accreditation from Council on Accreditation approved for LFCS until 11/24/2013.
An Intercountry adoption is when a child from another country is matched with a family. Adopting a child from another country can be a confusing process. However, it is a beautiful way to build one's family. There are thousands of children all over the world who are in need of homes. Most of these children are available for adoption due to poverty, political situations or social stigma. We can offer information, home studies and support services to see you through the process. Do you think you could be a parent to a child from another culture?
Counseling Services for Children affected by Adoption, Foster Care, or an Out of Home Placement
Lutheran Family and Children’s Services of Missouri offers counseling to children who have entered their home through adoption, foster care, or who have been in an out of home placement. This program celebrates strengths and understands the unique challenges that adoptive & foster families face.
Welcome Home, a consumer publication from the Office of the Attorney General, explains the adoption process in Missouri, whether the adoption is domestic, Intercountry, foster or another type. Welcome Home can be downloaded in its entirety as a PDF file by clicking the image to the right. Consumers can also order a free copy of the publication using our online order form or by calling the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Hotline, 1-800-392-8222, or at http://ago.mo.gov/adoption.