We are so glad you have decided to learn more about adoption! The Connect1Child team would love to support you throughout your adoption journey. We offer faith-based, trauma-informed support for families at each stage of the adoption process. Whether you are new to adoption, recently welcomed a child into your home, or you are interested in post-adoption support, our team can help. We invite you to take a moment to learn more about adoption options, preparing for adoption, post-adoption support, and how Connect1Child can serve you.
There are three different paths towards adoption: foster care adoption, domestic adoption, and international adoption.
Foster Care Adoption
When children enter foster care, the Department of Children and Family Services works diligently with birth parents towards restoring the family unit by addressing issues that led to the child entering fostering care and ensuring that the child will be safe upon returning to the family's home. There are laws and policies that must be followed to ensure that parents are given ample opportunity to regain custody of their children. When a child enters your home with a goal of reunification with their birth parents, you will be supporting this child and their family towards this goal.
Children who are available for adoption through Louisiana's foster care system are typically school-age children. The Louisiana Heart Gallery (www.louisianaheartgallery.com) features children who are legally free for adoption and in need of an adoptive family. When you hear of families who have adopted a toddler or very young child through foster care, those cases usually involve situations where the initial goal of reunification was later changed to adoption. In most of those cases, foster families worked towards reunification with the birth parents and the birth parents were not able to regain custody of their children, leading to the termination of their parental rights. It is important to note that these cases are the exception, not the rule. When you agree to foster a child with a goal of reunification, there is no guarantee that they will become available for adoption, and therefore you must be willing to support reunification efforts.
Families who are interested in adopting a child through Louisiana's foster care system are required to become certified as foster parents through the Department of Children and Family Services. Families begin this process by completing Foster Parent Orientation. After completing Foster Parent Orientation, families must complete 24 hours of preservice training and participate in the home study process.
Learn more about adoption through foster care at http://dcfs.la.gov/page/595.
Domestic and International Adoption
The process of adopting domestically or internationally typically begins with connecting with an adoption agency and/or home study provider. The home study provider will complete a thorough assessment of your family and home, including interviews with family household members, a safety inspection of your home, criminal background checks, child protection background checks, and more.
Connect1Child does not currently offer home study services for domestic or international adoptions. Our Connect1Child team can provide referrals for home study providers and adoption agencies. Follow us on Facebook for the most current information about events and services offered by Connect1Child.
Our friends at Lifeline Children's Services offer a wealth of knowledge and expertise for families interested in adopting domestically and internationally. Learn more at https://lifelinechild.org/adoption.
Preparing for Adoption
The decision to adopt is lifechanging for both you and your child. It creates a unique experience for your child as they grow and form their own identity. Many families believe that the adoption journey begins during the home study process and ends when the final decree of adoption is issued, legally finalizing the adoption. However, these events are just the beginning of a lifelong journey for your child as they form their own identity that includes their history with their family of origin and their place within your family.
Preparing for adoption involves educating yourself and your family on unique issues involved in adoption and how to best support your child as their needs grow and change throughout their lives. There are numerous books and trainings which offer invaluable information for adoptive families.
- Understanding the impact of grief and loss for your child
- Understanding how trauma from your child’s past can affect their behavior and development
- Understanding typical questions and concerns that children who have been adopted may have at various stages of development
- Understanding how to support your child as they learn more about their family of origin, including their culture and heritage
- Reflecting on your own experiences with grief, loss, and adversity, and how this will impact your adoption experience
As you prepare to adopt, your family will be laying the foundation for a lifelong relationship with your child. With the right tools, you can create a loving, trusting relationship that will offer security and support for your child as they grow and learn more about their history.
Here are some helpful suggestions for supporting your family and your child post-adoption:
- Be open with your child. Make sure that your child knows they are adopted, and work with them to help them understand the story of how they joined your family. (Life Books are great tools for helping your child understand their unique story.)
- Focus on connecting and building trust with your child. Get to know your child as a person and become attuned to their needs, triggers, and interests. Create a safe space for asking questions and let them know you are always willing to talk with them.
- Be proactive. Use the knowledge you have gained from your adoption preparation to help you anticipate common questions and challenges that arise as your child grows older. Consider how you will respond to questions about your child’s history and prepare yourself.
- Seek professional and community help early. Do not wait until you are in crisis to reach out for support! Connect with local adoption support groups, adoption competent counselors, church adoption ministries, and other supports available to you. It is incredibly helpful to connect with other adoptive families since you will likely face similar challenges and questions throughout your journey.
If you have found yourself in a difficult season, please contact us. We would love to help you find tools and resources to support your child.
Connect1Child Adoption Support Services
The Connect1Child team wants to ensure that adoptive families are adequately prepared for adoption and have access to the support they need once their adoption is final. Our Connect1Child team offers:
- Faith-based and trauma-informed support during the home study process, placement, and beyond. Families are invited to partner with us at any stage of the adoption process. Families who partner with Connect1Child will be contacted throughout the year about adoption-related events and resources. Families are welcome to contact us anytime when additional support is needed. We are here when you need us.
- Assistance with starting a support group at your church. Our team can help you find curriculum/materials for your group if needed.
- Connecting with your church to encourage involvement in foster care/adoption ministry to answer the call of James 1:27.
- Annual conference, The Adoption Journey, in November of each year to equip and encourage prospective and current adoptive families. Follow our Facebook page for updates and announcements