Adoption Procedures for African American/Bi-Racial Infants for Residence Outside of Louisiana

Overview
The Adoption Services of Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of New Orleans (CCANO), is a non-profit adoption agency licensed by the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services. CCANO has provided adoption services since the early 1900’s and continues in its commitment to serving families created through adoption as well as other maternity and adoption related services. The agency provides services to families of all faiths. The basic criteria for application is that applicants be between 27-45 years of age. If married, it is requested that the applicant be married for at least 3 years. The family income should be adequate to provide for the needs of a child.

Questionnaire:
Requests for Questionnaires are typically accepted each November and December. However, this time-frame is re-evaluated year to year. Questionnaires are provided to interested applicants and due back in the office by a pre-determined date. The questionnaire is not an application but is a means of obtaining identifying information to determine the eligibility of applicants. When the questionnaire is returned to the adoption agency by the applicant, the agency requires a picture of the family including all household members, a copy of the birth certificate for all household members, a copy of the marriage license (where applicable), a copy of a divorce decree or death certificate in the case of a previous marriage, and a copy of discharge papers from the military (where applicable).

Application:
Applicants offered/accepting a formal application to adopt through the Adoption Services of Catholic Charities, Archdioces of New Orleans are required to submit an approved adoption home study and adoption profile.  

Home Study:
It is required that an adoption home study be completed by a social worker employed by a licensed adoption agency in the adoptive family’s state of residence. Upon completion, the adoption home study should be sent to the Adoption Services of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans. In addition, the agency requests that the adoptive family forward a copy of their adoption profile which can be presented to potential birth parents.

Adoption Profile / Dear Expectant Parent:
Adoption Profile / Dear Expectant Parent letters are presented to expectant parents as part of the selection process of adoptive parents. The adoption profile consists of written information as well as photos of the adoptive family’s life. A guide and samples of the adoption profile and Dear Expectant Parent may be provided upon request.

Waiting Period:
When the applicant is chosen by an expectant parent, they will be notified about a potential placement. The time frame for adoption depends on many factors including, but is not limited to, desired race of child, level of openness, etc. .

Adoption Tax Credit/Refund:
Applicants may be able to take a tax credit/refund for qualifying expenses paid to adopt an eligible child (including a child with special needs). Qualifying expenses may include adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, traveling expenses while away from home, etc. See www.irs.gov for additional information.

Placement of a Child and Post Placement Supervision:
All applicants must be present at the time a child is placed with them. Each adoptive parent must sign the Adoption Services Placement Agreement packet before accepting a child into their family and home.

Louisiana requires that the adoptive child be in the home a minimum of six months before the Adoption Services of Catholic Charities can give permission for filing the adoption petition. The six-month supervision period begins on the day of placement. After placement of a child, a social worker employed by a licensed adoption agency in the adoptive family’s state of residence is required to make a minimum of three visits to the home during the six-month supervision period. After the six-month period a petition to finalize the adoption is filed in court.

Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children
As part of the requirement of all states’ Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), the Adoption Services of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans completes paperwork /files with ICPC in Louisiana as well as the adoptive family’s state of residence. Approval for adoption placement, must be received by Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans before the adoptive family may return to their state of residence. This approval process can take anywhere from 4 – 10 business days.

Progress Reports
Monthly reports (including a minimum of 12 pictures for 12 months) and yearly letters (including pictures) for 5 years are required as part of the adoption placement. A form will be provided for the monthly reports and made non-identifying in preparation for providing to the birth parents. The yearly letters are more of a narrative format with a summary of the previous year. All reports are provided directly to CCANO.

Finalization of Adoption:
The Adoption Services of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans retains legal custody of the child until the court grants the final decree of adoption. There are attorney fees are paid to the Adoption Services program attorney, Albert F. Widmer, Jr. for the services provided in regard to the Louisiana courts. These fees must be paid directly to Mr. Widmer prior to filing for the final decree of adoption in the adoptive parent’s state of residence. It is necessary for the adoptive parents to secure the services of an attorney familiar with adoption services in their state of residence for the finalization hearing.

Anyone desiring further adoption information should contact:

Danna P. Cousins, LMSW
Program Director
Adoption Services
Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans
3019 N. Arnoult Road
Metairie, LA 70002

504-885-1141

dcousins@ccano.org