How To Adopt

A Step-By-Step look at the Adoption Process

If you live in Louisiana and are interested in adopting a child who is in the care of the Department of Social Services, Office of Community Services, here are the steps you will take, if you do not have a home study completed by a licensed adoption agency.

Step 1: Attend an Orientation Meeting.

These meetings are held at your local regional office and feature presenters from the Home Development Unit of the Office of Community Services. At the meetings we will tell you about the children who are waiting to be adopted, explain the adoption process in more detail, and give you a chance to ask questions. Applications to start the adoption process are available at the meeting if you decide you are interested.

Step 2: Enter a Home Study/Adoption Preparation Class.

These classes meet once a week in the evening for about seven weeks. They are designed to prepare you to parent a child who has been abused or neglected, to help you decide what kind of child will adapt best into your family, and to help the home developer get to know you better so s/he can make a good match with a child.

Step 3: Meet With a Home Developer in your Home.

The home developer will get to know you better, answer additional questions you have, and begin to discuss the type of child you believe will be suitable for your family. This will not be a white glove test of your housekeeping skills.

Step 4: Complete a HomeStudy.

After finishing the classes, the home developer will meet with you one or more times to collect necessary paperwork from you. The social worker will then write your home study, describing your family, your lifestyle, and the kind of child or children you hope to parent. This home study will be registered at Louisiana Adoption Resource Exchange in order to be matched with waiting children. Learn more about the home study.

Step 5: Wait for a match.

This waiting period can last from a few weeks to a year or two, depending on how flexible you are in the type of child you are willing to consider. Your home study will be shared with other workers of waiting children who match the type of child you are seeking.

Step 6: Learn about the child or children for whom you are being considered.

When a caseworker decides that you may be a good match for a child or sibling group, s/he will meet with you to present background information on the child (medical history, educational records, professional assessments, and other information). You will have the opportunity to ask questions, speak with people who work or live with the child (foster parents, teachers, group home staff, therapists, etc.) and decide whether you believe the match is a good one.

Step 7: Meet the child and begin visits.

If you decide to proceed with the match, you will meet the child and begin a series of visits. These visits will last just a few hours at first and build up to overnight and weekend stays. On placement day, the child will officially move into your home. Ongoing supportive adoptive services by the social worker will continue.

Step 8: Finalize the adoption.

After the child has lived with you for at least six months, you will legally adopt the child through a court procedure. S/he will then be given your last name, and you will have full parental rights and responsibilities to the child.

Louisiana's waiting children are brought to you by the Louisiana
Adoption Resource Exchange and AdoptUSKids.