ABC Counseling and Family Services FAQ

  1. Tell us a little about the founding and development of your organization?
    ABC Counseling and Family Services was founded by our Executive Director, Lynn Willard, over 23 years ago. After many years working with children in the foster care system, she saw a great need to find children permanent and loving homes. She also had a passion for providing services for families that had been affected by sexual abuse. Since the agency opened in 1992, services have expanded to a domestic infant adoption program. At this time, we do not have a contract to provide placement or adoption services to children living within the Illinois foster care system. ABC Counseling also provides sexual abuse counseling to hundreds of children in Illinois. These services are provided in ABC’s six offices throughout Central Illinois.
  2. How are your adoption home study and your organization unique?
    Here at ABC Counseling, we pride ourselves on the strong relationships we build with prospective adoptive families. We see this partnership as something very sacred and we feel honored to be a part of helping Illinois families grow. We work with all types of families (LGBT, single parents, older families, families with children, families with no fertility issues). We believe that birth parents should feel they are in full control of the decision making process, and we want them to have all available option presented to them when exploring a forever home for their child. We truly enjoy the diversity of our families. Due to the counseling nature of our organization, we provide ongoing counseling for birth families for as long as they need support. We also assist with area resources and empower birth families to begin the next chapter of their lives to find educational, emotional, and financial stability.
  3. Why are you passionate about adoption and the home study process?
    I am consistently overwhelmed with the joy and honor of being a part of someone bringing a child into their family. I also recognize that adoption can be a very difficult process for all involved. I am intrigued by the area of grief and loss and I am passionate about finding ways to help all parties move through the grief they experience, whether that be from infertility and infant loss or from placing a child for adoption. I have learned that grief is not always about death, but a loss of an opportunity.
  4. How long is an adoption home study valid?
    All families that pursue an agency assisted adoption in Illinois are required to have a foster home license. These licenses are valid for four years. This license requires a minimum of yearly updates. While we don’t have an expiration date on our home studies, we do complete a home study update report for every annual visit.
  5. Approximately how much time is necessary to complete an adoption home study by your organization?
    Once the home study visit has occurred, we allow for four weeks to complete the report. We are reliant on the State of Illinois to issue background checks; these checks can take up to 12 weeks to arrive at our agency. Due to this delay, we advise families to be fingerprinted and begin the background check process prior to the other paperwork. The background check results are a necessary piece of the home study report; a report is not complete without these results.
  6. Can adoptive parents use a home study completed by your organization to adopt a child born in another state?
    Yes, we have a lot of experience with this, as we have completed home studies for hundreds of families using large facilitators. If a facilitator or agency have a specific format that is required, we are happy to comply with those requests.
  7. If you complete my home study, do you also have to complete my post-placement visits?
    This is at the discretion of the adoptive family, but we typically do complete a family’s post-placement visits, reports, and any legal documentation needed for finalization.
  8. How many post-placement visits does your organization require?
    Illinois law requires three post-placement visits, if finalizing in Illinois. If the sending state requires more, we will comply with those requirements if necessary. We will always to a minimum of three post-placement visits.
  9. What do your home study social workers look for in a home and a family when they visit potential adoptive families' homes?
    We seek authenticity and transparency with these families. We seek safe and loving homes, as well as committed and flexible individuals. We want families to be realistic about the, sometimes bumpy, adoption journey. While we do not require our families to commit to an open adoption, we do seek compassion and respect for birth families. We take the position of approving a family to adopt very seriously.
  10. Are you Hague accredited, and if not, does your international home study comply with Hague International Standards?
    We are not Hague accredited.
  11. Do you have experience in completing the home study and working with international placement companies?
    We have many years of experience assisting families with international home studies. We also provide international post-placement visits and reports, as well as assistance with communication regarding endorsement letters and contact USCIS. We have some post-adoption and reactive attachment disorder specialized therapists in our community that we make referrals to and partner with regularly.
  12. Are there other services and benefits you would like to share about your company?
    As a very established agency in Central Illinois providing adoption services for 23 years, we are confident in our ability to assist families throughout their adoption journey. We offer a sliding scale for placement fees and are committed to keeping other fees low, in order to assist all types of families to adopt. In addition, ABC Counseling and Family Services is one of the only agencies in downstate Illinois that provides home study services to LGBT families. We continue to advocate for all families and children.

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