LSSWis - Lutheran Social Services (LSS) of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan

Lutheran Social Services of
Wisconsin and Upper Michigan

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Adoption Process

The journey to adoption is different for every family, but here’s a general description of the adoption process, which varies depending on whether it is a domestic or international adoption. Below are the steps involved in both. We’re available to meet with you to talk through these steps and discuss the details that are unique to you and your family.

Domestic Agency Adoption 

  1. Register to adopt. Fill out our interest form. There’s no fee to apply and no obligation on your part to use our services: the form simply lets us know you are interested in adoption, and a member of our staff will contact you. 

  2. Interview. If you decide to begin your adoption journey with us, one of our adoption social workers will interview you and answer your questions about our adoption programs.

  3. Adoption Education. We offer educational seminars throughout the year. You’ll receive at least 18 hours of education, available to you at convenient times and places.

  4. Paperwork and Background Checks. There will be interviews and paperwork to complete along the way, including questionnaires about your history, finances, references and health status and checks of any history with law enforcement or human services. Your adoption social worker will guide you through this part of the process and keep track all of the information.

  5. Home Study. Your adoption social worker will also visit your home to ensure a safe environment for an adopted child and to answer your questions. The social worker will compile all the information you’ve provided and the results of the home study into a comprehensive report.

  6. Waiting. After the home study is complete, there will be a waiting period until a child is referred to you. The length of this wait varies and is difficult to predict; your adoption social worker will keep in touch to provide support and information.

  7. Child Placement. A child looking for a home and family will be referred to you, usually in the form of written information about the child. If it’s an international adoption, there is usually a photo of the child; and, you may need to travel to the child’s home country. In a domestic adoption, you may be able to meet the birth parents of the child. You social worker will support you and advocate on your behalf.

  8. Post-Placement. For several months after a child is placed with you, your adoption social worker will visit with you at home or in our offices, helping you and the child adjust to one another.

  9. Adoption. You will legally adopt the child approximately six months after he or she is placed in your home. Again, we’ll be there to support you and assist in the final adoption.

International Adoption

  1. Register to adopt - Fill out our interest form. There is no fee to apply and no obligation on your part of use our services. The online application simply lets us know you are interested in adoption and a member of our international social workers team will contact you.
  2. Interview - If you chose to begin your adoption journey with us, one of our social workers will conduct an interview with you to answer your questions regarding our programs and the process of international adoption.
  3. Paperwork and Background Checks - After the interview process, if you have choose us as your agency to help build your family, there will be initial paperwork required to open a file for your family. Paperwork includes: state and local background checks, references, health reports, adoption questionnaires and financial information. Your social worker will review all necessary paperwork with you and keep track of paperwork as its completed.
  4. Adoption Education - We offer adoption education classes throughout the state to best accommodate our families. You will receive 18 hours of Hague accredited training to meet the requirement for international adoption.
  5. Home Study - Your adoption social worker will visit your home to complete to home study assessment and to ensure the home is safe for an adopted child. After the home study is complete, your adoption social worker will compile all the information provided in which a comprehensive report is completed.
  6. Dossier - While your adoption social worker has is working on your home study report, we encourage families to begin working on their dossier for the country they have chosen to adopt from.  If you have chosen one of our agency programs, your adoption social worker will help guide you through the dossier process. If you will be completing an international independent adoption with us, your placing agency will be responsible for providing you with the dossier paperwork.
  7. State and USCIS - Once your home study report is completed, you will send it to the state for approval along with sending the report and necessary documents to USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) for approval.
  8. Waiting - After all necessary paperwork is completed there will be a waiting period until a child is referred to you. During this time your adoption worker will provide support and information as they receive it.
  9. Child Placement - A child in need of a home and family will be referred to you, usually in the form of written information along with a picture. You would then travel to the child’s country.
  10. Post-Placement - After a child is placed with you, your adoption social worker will visit your home or in our office for an extended amount of time to help with the adjustment of a new family member.
  11. Adoption - Depending on the Country you may finalize your adoption in-country or here in the United States. Your adoption social worker will help in the process of finalizing or re-finalizing your adoption.

647 W. Virginia Street
Milwaukee, WI 53204
414-281-4400

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© 2016 Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan
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