We are excited to announce that America World is now licensed to provide social services for adoption in the state of Illinois! Information on the home study process as it applies to IL is provided in detail on our Illinois State Page. We would like to introduce you to the Director of Social Services, Cristina Schaff, in this interview below.
- What is your educational background and professional experience outside of America World?
I received my BA from Calvin College and my MA from Lewis University. Prior to coming to AWAA, I worked in child development, foster care and have spent the past 7 years working in adoption. I also have experience counseling children and adolescents.
- How did you decide to become an adoption social worker?
Adoption has been a part of my life forever. I have had several friends who were adopted and have walked with them through their journeys as adoptees. God opened doors for me as I entered my master’s degree program and I have been in love with adoption every since!
- What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of this job for me is having the opportunity to be a part of bringing a family together. That is an amazing gift and I consider it an honor to watch God’s miracles unfold. I also enjoy getting to know my clients and advocating for them throughout their journey.
- Where is your office located and what area do you serve?
My office is located in Northbrook, IL. I serve families living in and around the general Chicagoland area. We serve the entire state of IL through the use of home study coordinators.
- Do you have any advice for families considering adoption?
Adoption is a leap of faith and not for the faint of heart. But, if you are willing to walk through the journey, know that God will be right by your side the entire time.
- What are some common questionsthat you get about adoption?
The most common questions I receive are about the cost, the length of time, and where to begin. I tell families that their first step is to visit the website, attend a seminar, or they can complete the online application. The costs of adoption vary, depending on where they are adopting from, but I also encourage them not to be discouraged by the cost. There are several ways to fund your adoption. Length of time for the adoption, once again varies on several factors (country, type of child they are requesting, how long it takes them to do paperwork, etc).
- What does the post adoption process look like?
My role in the post adoption process is to support the family. I will come to your home at various intervals to provide resources, referrals and overall support as you transition into a new family unit.
- Tell us about yourself...
In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my family, watching movies, taking road trips and reading. I am recently married and a new mom to an 11 year old daughter and a four month old puppy.