Finding Families for Children Since 1865
Children’s Home and LSS combined complementary adoption services, high standards of quality and experience creating and supporting families. Both organizations are separate legal entities who work under an affiliation.
Mission of Children’s Home — To help children thrive; and to build, strengthen and sustain individual, family and community life.
Mission of LSS — To express the love of Christ for all people through service that inspires hope, changes lives and builds community.
Our Definition of Family — A family consists of two or more people, whether living together or apart, related by blood, marriage, adoption or commitment to care for one another.
1865 — LSS traces its history to 1865 when Vasa Lutheran Church, near Red Wing, MN, opened its doors to care for orphaned Swedish children. Pastor Eric Norelius and his congregation took in children and created a community response that inspired hope and changed the lives of many children.
1889 — Children’s Home began when Reverend E.P. Savage established Children’s Aid Society of Minnesota in St. Paul. He was intent on finding homes for deserted and neglected children at at time when many arrived to the Midwest on ‘Orphan Trains’ from East Coast cities. The Reverend focused on finding each child a family and in one year traveled nearly 25,000 miles by horse and wagon, local trains, streetcars and by foot.
1900s — Children’s Home Society’s Jean Martin Brown Receiving Home opens in the St. Anthony Park neighborhood of St. Paul, MN; the same neighborhood where our adoption services continue to be headquartered today.
1910s — The Bethany Lutheran Home for Children opens in Duluth, MN.
1920s — In 1926 the Lake Johana Children’s Receiving Home opens near the Como Station in St. Paul, MN. The home cared for children awaiting adoption and would later become part of LSS.
1930s — Vocational skills training was added to the Children’s Home Society Jean Martin Brown Receiving Home for children who would age out of care. A board member provided tools for a workshop for young men.
1940s — Children’s Home first closes its Receiving Home, as the need for institutional care for older children declined and states and counties assumed more responsibility. The nursery was later closed in 1948 in favor of temporary foster care.
1950s — Vasa Children’s Home shifts their focus to provide programming for children with disabilities. Children’s Home first begins its “Baby from Abroad” program placing over 600 children by 1955.
1960s — Vasa, Bethany Children’s Home and others merged in 1963 to create what now exists as LSS. In 1967 (CH) and 1969 (LSS) the adoption program with South Korea formally began.
1970s — Children’s Home Social Worker, Marietta Spencer, establishes the country’s first post adoption services aimed at supporting the lifelong journey of adoption.
1980s — LSS begins post adoption services, including search and reunion efforts for cases tracing as far back as the late 1800s.
1990s — Children’s Home expands international adoption services by adding 12 new country programs during the decade. At the same time, LSS emerges as a leader in domestic open adoption, ensuring all members of the adoption constellation have a voice.
2000s — Children’s Home opens a new building for adoption and family services in St. Paul, MN. With the help of over 900 donors, a beautiful, family-friendly building was opened and continues to serve as the headquarters for CH/LSS Adoption Services.
2010s — On July 1, 2012 Children’s Home and LSS form a partnership which combines adoption services and unites the strengths and practices of each organization to secure loving families for children.