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Catholic News Agency, March 12, 2019
– Catholic Charities of Baton Rouge has expanded their international adoption services into the northwestern part of Louisiana.
Paula Davis, the clinical director of maternity, adoption, and behavioral health services for Catholic Charities of Baton Rouge, told CNA that the agency saw a need for adoption services north of Baton Rouge and expanded to fill that need.
“I think one of the values [of being a Catholic-based adoption service] is that we are mission-based, so we’re providing services, whether its domestic or international, based on the needs of the child, but also with respect for life,” Davis said.
She also said that they are looking for families not only for infants, but for “all children who are in need of a loving, stable home.”
Davis stated that Catholic Charities of Baton Rouge staff have extensive experience in international adoptions and are Hague accredited, which she described as a “seal of approval that we are providing competent, ethical, transparent international adoption services.” They are also the only Hague accredited adoption agency in the state, a requirement for most international adoptions.
Catholic Charities’ expanded services will provide the cities of Lafayette, Lake Charles, Alexandria, and Shreveport with home studies, training, and post-placement supervision.
It will also hold free informational seminars once a quarter for families to learn about different adoption processes and to find which process is best for them.
“The children who are available for adoption internationally are older and they typically have special needs, so it’s important that families understand the needs of the children and the challenges they’ll face. And that the agency that they’ll work with is experienced with international adoptions,” Davis explained.
Out of the Baton Rouge office Catholic Charities also provides services in domestic adoption, maternity, search and reunion, and post-adoption counseling, which Davis said they hope someday to be able to offer throughout Louisiana.
Catholic Charities of Baton Rouge has facilitated domestic adoptions since 1964, and international adoptions since the 1990s.
Catholic Charities of New Orleans is also present in the state and handles international adoptions for the New Orleans area.
Noting that international adoptions in the U.S. have dropped dramatically since the mid-2000s, and the application of the requirement for Hague accreditation by agencies, she said Catholic Charities of Baton Rouge typically handles five to seven international placements per year.
“Our staff is experienced in international adoption and in supporting families of children from hard places,” Davis said.
“It’s important to understand that our mission is finding families for children, not children for families; and that the child’s needs take precedence.”