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BATON ROUGE - In celebration of Adoption Awareness Month, regions throughout Louisiana are hosting special events to raise awareness and promote adoption and foster care. One goal of Adoption Awareness Month is to recruit new foster and adoptive parents.
"These events are an opportunity to reach out to potential adoptive and foster families. By honoring families who have opened their hearts and homes to a child through adoption, we hope to encourage other families to become foster parents or to take the next step and make a lifelong commitment to child in need of adoption," said DCFS Secretary Suzy Sonnier. "Children who are welcomed into loving forever families are given the opportunity to reach their full potential."
Currently, there are 4,040 children in Louisiana's foster care system, 620 of those children are available for adoption.
Adoption Awareness events allow individuals to receive more information on the process of foster parenting and adoption. They also provide an opportunity for anyone interested in foster care and adoption to meet and ask questions of families who have adopted or have been foster parents.
Upcoming events across Louisiana:
Adoption Awareness Benefit Motorcycle Ride (open to public) - Saturday, November 17, 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m., Ride begins at 2030 North Mall Dr. and ends at 1701 Expressway Drive, Pineville
Adoption Celebration Festival (open to public) - Saturday, November 17, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., Sanctuary of Praise Church located at 1701 Expressway Drive, Pineville
Adoption Awareness Poster Contest - "What Adoption Means to Me," (closed to public) - November 20, 9 a.m.-10:30 a.m., Walk-Ons of Lafayette; Posters will be displayed in the restaurant to promote adoption through the months of November and December.
Mobile Heart Gallery - Month of November, Trinity Baptist Church; A mobile heart gallery featuring portraits of eight area children in need of adoptive families will be on display. The gallery travels to one of 12 participating churches in the Lake Charles region each month. The program, initiated in March 2012, has resulted in two adoptions this year.
Adoption Day Picnic (open to public) - Saturday, November 17, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Shelters 7 & 8, Lafrienere Park, Metairie
Adoption Day at the Aquarium (closed to public) - Saturday, November 17, 1 p.m.-4 p.m., Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, #1 Canal Street, New Orleans, Adoptive parents, DCFS staff and the Orleans Parish Juvenile Court will witness the finalization of New Orleans Region adoptions
National Adoption Month Reception (open to public) - Saturday, November 17, after the 11:15 a.m. service, Airline Drive Church of Christ, 2125 Airline Drive, Bossier City
Earlier this month, adoption awareness events were held in Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lake Charles, Monroe and New Orleans. These events included a Governor's Mansion reception for families and children who were joined by adoptive commitments this year, adoption exchange and informational meetings, and regional adoption celebrations.
For more information, the schedule of foster parent orientations, foster parent qualifications, the certification process to care for a child or children temporarily or about life as a foster family, visit www.dcfs.louisiana.gov/fostercare.