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Making The Complex Understandable

What are the steps for adopting a child in Louisiana?

Louisiana has many children in the care of the state who are looking for good, loving permanent homes. The Department of Children and Family Services provides an outline of the steps required to adopt a child under the care of the Office of Community Services.

The first step is to attend an orientation meeting at one of the regional offices throughout the state. Here, you can learn about the adoption process, ask questions and get an application.

Next, you will enroll in an adoption preparation class. These weekly classes help you determine what kind of child would be a good match for your family. In these classes, you will be introduced to a "home developer" who will work with you to determine what type of child would fit well with your family. This home developer will also visit your home to better get to know your family and home environment.

After your classes are completed, in about seven weeks, your home developer will complete what's called a "home study." It will provide details about your lifestyle and family as well as what you are looking for in a child. That study goes to the Louisiana Adoption Resource Exchange to be shared with caseworkers.

When a caseworker thinks he or she has a good match, you will meet with the caseworker to learn about the child. You have the chance to meet with the child's foster parents, teachers and others who know him or her.

It could take anywhere from a few weeks to more than a year before you are contacted about a potential match. It largely depends on how flexible you are about what type of child you want.

After you decide to proceed with the adoption of a child, you can meet him or her. You will have a series of increasingly longer visits before the child moves into your home. A social worker will monitor the situation throughout this period.

You can legally adopt the child after he or she has lived with you for six months. At this time, you will be granted full legal parental rights and responsibilities.

Adoption is big life event. If you are seriously considering it, it is essential to consult with legal and financial advisors who can help you ensure that everything is handled properly and that all necessary legal and financial arrangements are made to care for your new child.

Source: Department of Children and Family Services – State of Louisiana, "A Step-By-Step look at the Adoption Process" Aug. 25, 2014

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