Caritas Family Solutions

Adoption Services

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about the Private Domestic Adoption Program at Caritas Family Solutions. We’re here to answer any questions you have as you consider growing your family through adoption.

How can we help you?

Caritas is an independent, accredited adoption agency, not affiliated with DCFS.


Caritas Family Solutions has been serving individuals and families for over 75 years. Our mission is to create healthy relationships, loving homes, and strong communities which starts by providing the best possible support and experience for all individuals and families interested in adoption.

Adoption looks much different than it did when we first began providing services, and we are proud to provide modern and updated services to the families we serve.

In this guide, you will find information regarding the adoption process. You will learn about the home study process, frequently asked questions, financing, and fundraising for your adoption, and how we support expectant parents before, during, and after delivery.

Individualized Approach

With Caritas Family Solutions, you will have access to professional and caring individuals who provide emotional and ongoing support throughout the adoption process. A Master level Social Worker who is experienced in his or her field will conduct your home study, and our expectant parents work with specialists who provide individualized care and support to women or couples making the difficult decision to place their children for adoption.

Our Adoption Staff

Our adoption staff is supervised by an adoption manager who has over 20 years of experience as an adoption professional, with over 10 years of them as a leader in the adoption community. Caritas staff are trained adoption workers who are not only caring but desire to provide premier, along with ethical adoption services in Illinois.

Comprehensive Support

We are committed to providing expectant parents and families with ethical care that is personalized and supportive. We limit our waiting pre-adoptive families, so as not to overload the waiting list and the services provided. We understand adoption can be an overwhelming and sometimes confusing process, and we are here to guide you every step of the way.

Marketing & advertising: We will assist you in creating your adoptive
parent profile, presenting your profile on our website, and we will use
numerous tools to reach potential expectant or birth parents.
On-call support for birth parents: Our staff is available to talk,
text, or chat with expectant parents or birth mothers who are considering adoption.
Coordination & guidance for communication with expectant or birth parents: We will help coordinate communication and meetings between you and the expectant/birth parents.
Guidance & support: We’re always here to talk, listen, and offer assistance, advice, and encouragement at any stage of the process to our clients and the Southern Illinois community.


Pregnant or parenting and considering adoption as an option? You’re not alone. We’re here to help.

Learn more about our Pregnancy Options Counseling services.

Or for immediate assistance call or text our on-call number.




Conversation with Domestic Adoption Manager to learn about our program, services, eligibility guidelines, and fee information.


Fill out and submit application to become an approved family in our Domestic Adoption Program.


Begin home study process.


Create family profile for website and print to present to potential birth parents.


Become a “waiting family” to be presented to potential expectant or birth parents.


Be selected by expectant parents. Expectant parents may make their selection at any point in pregnancy or after the baby is born.


Baby is placed with your family, and birth parents sign voluntary termination of parental rights, no sooner than 72 hours following birth.


Meet with your social worker for post-placement support and required home visits.


Attend final court hearing. Baby’s name is changed and new birth certificate and Social Security card issued after finalization.


What is a home study?

A home study is required for every adoption. It is a detailed overview of your life, which includes background history, background checks, your financial standing, parenting experiences and viewpoints, information about your home, attitudes regarding adoption, personal relationships, medical history, and more. The home study is used by the courts to ensure a safe and stable environment is available for an adoptive placement. Caritas uses the following type of home study procedure: Structured Analysis Family Evaluation (SAFE) is Consortium for Children’s standardized, uniformed home study methodology that is used to assess individuals applying to become an adoptive parent.

Who completes a home study?

At Caritas, our adoption staff completes pre-adoptive family home studies. The home study is confidential and only the Caritas adoption team, the lawyer and Judge, and the adoptive family are privy to it. The birth family does not see the home study, but instead views a non-identifying profile album completed by the pre-adoptive family.

Can we use a home study completed by Caritas for an adoption with another agency?

Caritas approves of your using a home study with another agency, but you will need to ensure the agency you intend to work with will also accept Caritas home study for your adoption. Most agencies willingly accept another agency’s home study and the guidelines followed through Caritas are typically accepted without issue.

How long does it take?

A home study typically takes between 90 and 120 days to complete; however, the timeline is dependent on how quickly all required documentation is gathered and submitted and when home visits and interviews are scheduled.

Does a home study expire?

Yes. A home study expires after one year. Yearly updates are required if you wish to remain in the adoption process.

Can you explain the in-person meetings required for the home study?

Your home study will consist of up to four
in-person meetings:
Meeting #1:
A couple introduction
Meetings #2 and #3:
Individual interviews with each applicant, which are typically conducted in the home setting
Meeting #4:
A meeting in your home with all household members present

Does the home need to be child-proof at the time of the home study?

No, we realize the timing for placement can take time so having your home ready for a child is not necessary for an approved home study. There will be a safety check for working fire and Carbon Monoxide detectors, along with a check of safety features related to water hazards near the home.


At Caritas, we work to keep adoptions affordable by using a sliding fee scale based on your family’s income. Even if Caritas does not act as your placing agency, we likely can help. We offer an array of services, including home studies and post-placement visits, and can work collaboratively with whichever attorney or agency you select.

Below, we have also outlined a few ideas to manage the cost of adoption.

Fundraising Ideas

Some adoptive families choose to fundraise to cover adoption costs. Ideas for fundraising include: benefit dinners, bake sales, garage sales, car washes, trivia nights, asking a family member for a loan, or selling t-shirts or coffee. Online fundraising platforms can also be helpful as friends and family may want to join you by financially supporting your journey towards adoption.

Adoption Tax Credit

The Adoption Tax Credit was established in 1997 and applies to all types of adoption (except stepparent adoptions). The credit and how it applies changes, so we recommend always checking with a tax professional. Once the adoption is legally finalized, you can claim the qualified adoption expense. Additionally, adoptive parents may take the same dependence exemption on their income taxes for children and children placed with them for adoption as they would for their biological children.

Workplace Support

Many employers offer adoption benefits that possibly could be excluded from income if your employer has a written qualified adoption assistance program. Check with your employer to find out if they offer adoption benefits.

Grants & Scholarships

Check out the many ways to finance an adoption:



There are so many loving families waiting to share their love and lives with a child.
Learn more about the wonderful families who are waiting to adopt through Caritas by visiting their Family Profile.


At Caritas, we work to support women to ensure a healthy mom, healthy pregnancy, and healthy baby. In our Domestic Adoption Program, that means supporting an expectant parent or potential birth parent through emotional, financial and resource support. Expectant parents may begin making an adoption plan at any point during their pregnancies. Sometimes expectant parents want to begin planning for an adoption very early on in pregnancy, and sometimes the planning doesn’t begin until after the baby is born. We offer counseling support at all stages of pregnancy.

Support After Adoption

At Caritas, we are passionate about providing support to expectant parents. We understand adoption is a very difficult decision and one that is not made hastily. It is common for birth parents to experience sorrow and grief following the placement of their child, even when they feel confident about their decision. That’s why we offer individual post-adoption services to every expectant parent we work with as part of the adoption planning process.


Caritas is partnered with Nationwide agencies that put the ethics in adoption work with expectant parents and birth parents as their priority.’s mission includes: changing the perception of adoption through honest, informative, and hopeful communication that conveys the heroism and bravery
a birth mother displays when she places her child with
a loving family through adoption.


Post-Placement Supervision

After a child is formally placed in an approved adoptive home by Caritas or with another agency, the post-placement supervision period begins. The post-placement supervision period is a requirement in Illinois and lasts a minimum of
six months.

Your home study social worker will visit the child and family in their home at least three times within those six months – once within one month of placement; once midway through; and a final visit within a month of the finalization court hearing. The focus of the visits is to ensure the child and family are making a positive adjustment to the placement, education, and support.

After the three visits have been completed, the Caritas social worker provides the final reports to the attorney retained by the adoptive family so the documents can be filed with the court and finalization can occur. The court will then schedule the date and time of the finalization.

Post-Adoption Services

After an adoption is finalized, Caritas provides services and referrals, as needed, for the life of the adopted child. These services can be requested by any former client (birth parent, adoptee, or adoptive parent) on an as-needed basis. Services provided include preparation of non-identifying social and medical background summaries, counseling, legal searches, sibling queries, and facilitating the exchange of information between parties per their consent and request.

When searches are requested, a formal service agreement is completed. A fee agreement is also completed, as applicable. For all adoptive families, Caritas maintains a list of referral resources to provide ongoing support for as long as necessary. These supports include but are not limited to: adoption-focused mental health counseling, support groups, and training opportunities.

Support and counseling services continue to be offered to the birth family as well throughout this period and can continue for as long as the birth parent requests these services.


Melyssa Frederick, MSW, LCSW

618.744.7297 (direct)

900 Royal Heights Rd., Suite 2150
Belleville, IL, 62226

Main Office

8601 W. Main St.
Suite 201
Belleville, IL 62223

Contact us for more information about our Private Adoption program. 

For foster care inquiries, please contact

Success Stories

Stories coming Soon

Story coming Soon

After a traumatizing childhood, deeply instilled rage made Carlos unable to stay in a foster home. We took him in and gave him loving care and a strong support system. Now, he can imagine a life without violence.


We encourage families to work with other adoption agencies and are always happy to explore this option with you. We can provide services, such as a home study and post-placement supervision for families in the Southern Illinois region that do not want to be a part of the agency’s private adoption list.
There are no guarantees with adoption until finalization, and timing is very unpredictable. We find there is no such thing as an average wait time. The time an adoptive family waits for a match can be affected by any number of factors. According to a 2022 report from the National Council for Adoption, the data also points to the importance of appropriate expectations for people who are considering private infant adoption in the U.S. “They need to be prepared for longer wait times, and increasing costs, because the reality is that there are far more hopeful adoptive parents than there are infants being placed for adoption each year,” Hanlon advised. “As the report shows, that is a trend we’ve seen continue over the last several years and accelerate during the pandemic,” he added. See report: port-from-ncfa-shows-dramatic-decline-in-adopt ions-during-pandemic/
As you can imagine, selecting an adoptive family to raise your child is a very challenging decision. Some expectant / birth parents desire to select a family that can offer similar childhoods to their own. Others may be looking for an entirely different experience than the one they had. We aim to provide an array of adoptive families to meet whichever criteria the birth parents we work with desire, and we strive to provide adoptive families who reflect the diversity of the birth parents we serve.
At this time, Caritas does not have a program for adopting children through foster care. If a family desires to be a foster parent without the expectation to adopt, families can be referred to the Caritas foster care program.
We begin working with expectant parents (women and men considering adoption), or birth parents (those who are already parenting) at any point in which we are contacted, this includes through website inquiries, on-call support, and referrals from professionals. We attempt to connect with expectant or birth parents through online and social media advertising, and networking with adoption attorneys, social workers, physicians, pregnancy crisis centers, hospitals, churches, schools, and other adoption agencies. Our services to expectant parents are always free, educational, supportive, and non-coercive.
Caritas is a small local agency that completes less than 5 adoptions a year with an emphasis on growing the program. There is no limit to how many placements Caritas can complete and as we grow, we will add staff to meet that need.
We assist individuals of any ethnicity, race, and/or religion who reside in Southern Illinois. We follow the laws within the State of Illinois regarding adoption for all types of families including single parents, as well as families with other biological and/or adopted children. For agency-assisted domestic adoptions, Caritas requires you to be 25 years of age or older to the age of 55; if married, we require one year of marriage before making an application and one person must be a U.S. citizen. We are unable to serve families that are seeking a closed adoption; however, we accept families who are already working with an adoption agency, adoption professionals, or desire to work with another agency. We allow one adoption or placement at a time, unless the children are siblings, as we believe each child or sibling group should have 9 months between placements. We can assist with all types of adoptions and do not have the same eligibility criteria for the home study or post-placement process as those families that are seeking placement independently.
Caritas only accepts families into the program that are open to some level of openness in the adoption process. Each family will decide on the level that best meets the adoption placement needs and an openness contract will be drawn up and agreed upon at placement by all parties. The birth parents and adoptive parents will be comprehensively educated on ways to support open adoptions if it is chosen by the birth parents and is healthy for the adoption triad: birth parents, adoptive parents, and the adoptee.

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loving families

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