Domestic Adoption Procedures Residence Outside of Lousiana

DOMESTIC ADOPTION PROCEDURES 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 1900s 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 timeframe 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, 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, Archdiocese of New Orleans are required to submit an approved adoption home study and Adoption Profile / Dear Expectant Parent.

Home Study: It is required that applicants have an adoption home study completed by a social worker employed by a licensed adoption agency in the applicant’s state of residence. Upon completion, the adoption home study should be sent to the Adoption Services of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans.

 Adoption Profile / Dear Expectant Parent:

Adoption Profile / Dear Expectant Parent letters are presented to expectant parents as part of the selection process. 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 can be provided. The Adoption Profile photo album is provided to the birth parent is typically kept buy the birth parent following the adoption placement. If the birth parent is unable to accept the photo album, the album will be returned to the adoptive family. If you would like a copy of the photo album for your family, please make a duplicate album prior to submitting the photo album to the program for consideration by expectant parents.

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 not limited to, desired race of child and level of openness. Upon receipt of the approved home study and adoptive family profile, the average wait for a child is 6 months – 4 years.

Adoption Fees:

The adoption placement fee is due within 20 days of placement. When an applicant is accepted into the program, an Adoption Fee Agreement outlining all of the adoption fees will be reviewed, agreed to and signed by the applicants and adoption program staff. The adoption placement fee allows the agency to provide various services to the adoptive parents and expecting/birth parents pre and post adoption placement. In addition to program fees, the agency depends on personal contributions from the general public and fundraising efforts to meet the balance of the agency’s budget.

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. However, if the adoptive family’s state of residence has different finalization time frames, consideration may be given to those at the time.

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 7 – 14 business days. Pre-paid Fed Ex is used to both states to expedite the approval process, but Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans has no control over the ICPC approval process.

Progress Reports:

Monthly reports (including a minimum of 6 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. The Adoption Services of Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of New Orleans Attorney Fees are paid directly to the attorney. If the adoptive family chooses to have the adoption finalize in their state of residence, then it is necessary for them to secure the services of an attorney with adoption experience in their state of residence for the finalization hearing. This information should be provided to CCANO shortly after adoption placement.

Anyone desiring further adoption information should contact:

Danna P. Cousins, LCSW-BACS

Program Director

Adoption Services

Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans

3019 N. Arnoult Road

Metairie, LA 70002

504-885-1141

dcousins@ccano.org