Eligibility Criteria

Best Interests:

Decisions made by the Agency will be primarily based upon the best interests of the child(ren) to be adopted. The desires and convenience of the adoptive family as well as other factors are considered secondary, yet important, to the best interests of the child.


Live in Illinois within a 60-mile radius of ECFA’s Wheaton office. This generally includes persons living in all or portions of the following Illinois counties: Boone, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, LaSalle, McHenry, Ogle, and Will.

Spiritual Affiliation:

Identify oneself as a Protestant, evangelical Christian and be active in a Protestant, evangelical congregation. A reference from the couple’s/individual’s pastor is requested and an interview with an agency Pastoral Consultant is conducted. Adoptive applicants are expected to agree with, and sign, documents entitled “Christian Lifestyle Guidelines” and “Statement of Faith.”


Persons must be older than 23 years to adopt. Foreign countries may have other limitations on the ages of adoptive parents.

Marital Status:

Couples must be male and female, married at least two years (exceptions in cases of relative adoptions will be considered), and have a healthy, intimate relationship with one another. Applicants married previously are eligible to apply. Issues related to a divorce will be explored as part of the adoptive study.

Single Applicants:

Single individuals are eligible to apply for all categories of children. However, most birth parents express a preference for married couples. Some foreign countries may not be open to single applicants.

Physical Health:

A medical examination by a physician (including a physician’s assistant) must verify that the applicants are in good general physical health. Health factors are also addressed in the adoptive study interviews.

Emotional Health:

Applicants are expected to demonstrate emotional stability enabling them to understand and meet the child(ren)’s long term needs. Emotional readiness is addressed during the adoptive study (also called a bio-psycho-social assessment) and medical information. Applicants may be asked to seek counseling or psychological evaluation if concerning issues are identified. If an applicant received counseling prior to adoption, a letter from the counselor may be required.

Fertility-Related Issues:

ECFA’s domestic infant program was originally developed to meet the needs of families experiencing infertility. Applicants may be asked to provide medical information from a physician regarding fertility issues. Lack of medical documentation on infertility may not rule out applicants. Families who can conceive biological children are not eligible for this program unless the child to be adopted is a relative. Exceptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis. In addition, families who have two children, biological or adopted (or a combination of the two), are not eligible to adopt through this program.


Applicants must document that they live within their means, and must demonstrate that they possess sufficient financial resources to meet the basic long-term needs of all child(ren) in the home. Applicants are expected to meet the child’s birth country’s financial requirements for an international adoption.


The applicants’ home must meet the state of Illinois minimum licensing standards for safety, sanitation, and space regardless if the family is required to be licensed. Each applicant receives a copy of the standards. A home visit by the assigned adoption worker verifies whether or not the home is in compliance with the licensing standards.

Time between Placements:

Application for a subsequent adoption cannot be made until the finalization of the most recent adoption. A family’s profile will not be active until their most recent adopted child has been in the home for nine months.

Policy on Concurrent Placements:

ECFA typically does not permit families to adopt two or more unrelated children at the same time. There are, however, circumstances that may make “concurrent placements” an appropriate course of action. Such placements will be considered on a case-by-case basis, with due regard to the best interests of each child.

Concurrent Pregnancy:

On occasion, a family already involved in the adoption process may discover that they are expecting a child biologically. The family is expected to immediately notify their ECFA adoptive worker after the pregnancy has been medically confirmed. The adoption process will then be placed “on hold” status. Factors considered in the decision to resume the adoption process include the following: type of adoption; the outcome of the pregnancy; length of time placement can reasonably be anticipated; emotional readiness of the family; needs of the family’s existing children; and anticipated needs of the child to be adopted. The placement of the adopted child will be delayed until after the youngest child is at least nine months old.