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

Lutheran Social Services of
Wisconsin and Upper Michigan


International Adoptions

Our International Adoption Programs have successfully placed hundreds of children in their forever families throughout United States. We offer adoption opportunities in the Philippines, Kyrgyzstan, and Bulgaria. We can also assist families in adopting children from other countries around the world with assistance from our partner agencies and other accredited adoption agencies. Holt International Children’s Services is one of our most significant partners. Holt offers adoption opportunities in many countries including China, Ethiopia, and Haiti.

We've been working in international adoption for more than 50 years. We understand the process of international adoption can be confusing and overwhelming.  We have professional staff available to assist you from helping you decide the best country match for your family, to help with finalizing your adoption in the United States, to a lifetime of support for your family.

In-Country Guides

We partner with local in-country guides who accompany families when they travel to meet their son or daughter. Friendly, knowledgeable and caring, these dedicated escorts provide transportation to all adoption appointments as well as anywhere else the family might like to go. In addition, the guides provide translation and concierge services from the day they pick up the family at the airport until they return home. We've worked with several guides for decades, and they have a passion for sharing their culture as well as a heart for seeing children united with forever families.

Process of International Adoption

  • 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 interest form simply lets us know that you are interested in adoption and a member of our international social workers team will contact you.
  • Interview - If you chose to begin your adoption journey with us, one of the social workers will conduct an interview with you to answer your questions regarding our programs and the process of international adoption.
  • Paperwork and Background Checks - After the interview process, if you 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Dossier - While your adoption social worker 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 through us, your placing agency will be responsible for providing you with the dossier paperwork.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 

For information, fill out our interest form below. After submitting your form, you will receive adoption information via email and one of our staff members will contact you within one or two business days.

Our Partnerships

We have partnerships with countries around the globe and have placed hundreds of children with families throughout the U.S. Learn more about our partnerships below:


We have accreditations, memberships and partnerships with the following organizations: 

  • Hague Adoption Convention - We have Hague Accreditation
  • The Council on Accreditation (COA), a national accrediting body approved by the United States Department of State to conduct Hague accreditation and approval reviews, invites the public to provide comment on intercountry adoption service providers seeking Hague accreditation or approval or renewal of Hague accreditation or approval. You may provide comment on the COA website.
  • InterCountry Adoption Board of the Philippines  
  • Bulgaria Ministry of Justice
  • Happy Family, NGO
  • Kyrgyzstan Ministry of Social Development



*Required Field

Applicant 1 

Applicant 2 







Adoption programs you're interested in



Special Needs

If applicable, what international countries are you interested in? 

 Bulgaria China  Haiti Kyrgyzstan  Philippines Other

647 W. Virginia Street
Milwaukee, WI 53204

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© 2016 Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan