Baton Rouge: Adoptees and birth families who wish to reconnect with, or find information about, their biological families can easily join the Adoption Reunion Voluntary Registry through the Department of Children and Family Services' (DCFS) website.
Josh Montgomery, 27, joined the registry in 2012 and was soon reconnected with his biological sister. "It has given me a better sense of identity," said Montgomery, who lives in Berwick, LA. He was also able to reconnect with other biological family members and learn more about his family history.
The registry facilitates voluntary contact between adoptees, their birth parents, siblings and other relatives. Adoptees must be at least 18 years old to register.
"The Adoption Registry allows parents and siblings the opportunity to reconnect with a child who was adopted years ago," said DCFS Secretary Suzy Sonnier. "Louisiana is a state that is all about family. We know how important these connections can be and we hope that making the forms available online will allow and encourage more adoptees and their families to register. The more people who register, the greater the possibility of making connections."
Printable registration forms are available on the DCFS website, including affidavits for an adopted person, their biological parents, biological siblings and descendents, if the adoptee or biological parents are deceased.
Since its inception in 1982, 2,225 adoptees have registered, along with 1,048 birth parents and 155 siblings. Other relatives of an adoptee can also join the registry since a law was passed in 2010 enlarging the registry's scope.
To date, 316 families have been reconnected. The registry does not actively search for families; contact is completely voluntary and both the adoptee and relative must choose to participate.
Prior to reconciliation, both parties are required to attend a one-hour counseling session. Once both parties have completed the counseling session, the counselors will provide each with information to contact one another.
Montgomery says his experience with the registry has been positive and he would recommend that adoptees and their relatives join.
All forms for registration are available online at: http://www.dcfs.state.la.us/index.cfm?md=pagebuilder&tmp=home&pid=116
To request a registration packet by mail, fill out the form on the website above, call 1-800-LAHELP-U, select option 6 and then 6 again, or call (225) 342-9922. The cost the join the registry is a one time $25.00 fee to be mailed with a completed registration packet.
Adoption is a key component of DCFS' Faith in Families initiative launched in March. The Faith in Families initiative seeks to safely reducing the number of children in foster care, reducing the amount of time children spend in foster care and ensuring that all children exiting foster care do so with a permanent connection.
Last Federal Fiscal Year, DCFS set another record with 468 families adopting 652 Louisiana foster children. Individuals interested in adopting should visit: http://www.dcfs.louisiana.gov/index.cfm?md=pagebuilder&tmp=home&pid=375