Adoption Blessings: From a Case Worker’s Perspective

Danna Cousins (Adoption Family Tree) (1)
The CCANO Adoption Family Tree

During the month of November as we give thanks for many blessings in our lives, we are also reminded that November is National Adoption Awareness month. As the Program Director of Adoption Services for Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans, I feel truly blessed and thankful to have the opportunity to share in the personal experiences of birth parents, adoptive parents and individuals that are adopted – not only today, but for 20+ years as an adoption professional.

There are many journeys in life, and for some, adoption is a journey of decision making of placing a child for adoption or a journey to becoming parents. Having the opportunity to work with families whose lives are touched by adoption through their journey is an amazing experience. At any given time during the adoption journey with birth parents, adoptive families and individuals that are adopted, we witness feelings of fear, sadness, disappointment, excitement, joy, comfort…as opposite as each of these emotions can be, they all have one aspect in common: LOVE. A birth parent’s love for their child when they considered adoption and selected adoptive parents; adoptive parent’s love for their child when they provided a safe and loving home for the child to be nurtured; and an individual who is adopted’s love for their birth parent and adoptive parent for their decisions of adoption.

The Adoption Services of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans has provided adoption services since the early 1900s and continues in its commitment to serving birth parents, adoptive families and individuals that are adopted. Services include maternity and adoption counseling services, case management, adoption education, pre and post adoption support, search / reunion, homestudies, and post placement reporting for domestic / international adoption. Although today the Adoption Service program is a small staff of 2 (Danna P. Cousins, LMSW, Program Director and Cindy Falgoust, Maternity Case Manager), we share more than 35 years of maternity and adoption experience rooted in a commitment to a tremendous, heartfelt mission of maternity and adoption services. Each birth family, adoptive family and individual that is adopted is special and their story is unique.

As we try to prepare and support each individual for their adoption experience there are some arts that we cannot anticipate until they become a reality. One of these experiences is the adoptive families waiting to be chosen by an expectant parent or for an adoptive family to receive a child through adoption. Each waiting adoptive family is eager to become a parent and the waiting can be difficult – at times becoming a parent through adoption may appear as if it may never become a reality, but it will … when it’s meant to be. A beautiful note I received from an adoptive mother confirms my faith in the adoption work we have the honor to do each day. She shares, “We could not possibly be any happier and have been floating on a cloud since placement day. It is clear to us that Michael was meant to be our son and that his birth and the way he came to us was part of God’s plan. All of the years of infertility struggle have melted away and we are glad none of it worked because then we wouldn’t have Michael. We now cannot imagine life without him. We truly believe we have been part of a miracle that continues to unfold.”

I feel truly blessed to have the honor to share in the personal experiences of birth families, adoptive families, and individuals that are adopted. Some of these families were recently touched by adoption. Others are individuals adopted over 50 years ago who are beginning to seek answers to their birth and adoption story. Each of these experiences has been inspiring, beautiful, and selfless on every level at some time during the experience.

Somewhere in the World Today

 Somewhere in the world today a child who will someday be adopted was born… An adopted parent’s paperwork was matched with his or her baby… Someone got the call and saw a tiny picture of her little one for the very first  time… Someone looked across a room or a hotel lobby or an airport and came face to face with that little long awaited sweetheart… Someone reached out and took that child in her arms… Somewhere in the world today a family was born.

                                       From a book about adoption called “Truly Yours”

If you or someone you know placed a child for adoption or is adopted through Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans (also previously referred to as St. Vincent’s Maternity Home) and would like to receive the available non-identifying background information or counseling services, please contact Danna P. Cousins, LMSW, Program Director, dcousins@ccano.org or 504-885-1141. All contact is strictly confidential. Adoption Services of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans is accepting requests from prospective adoptive families that are interested in adoption during the months of November and December. The basic criteria to request the information packet / adoption questionnaire are: be between the ages of 27 and 45, if married, be married a minimum of 3 years, and reside within the Archdiocese of New Orleans or the Diocese of Houma / Thibodaux. To request further information or to make a donation to the program, please contact the program at dcousins@ccano.org or 504-885-1141.

 Danna P. Cousins, LMSW

Celebrate Adoption 2013 0010Danna P. Cousins, LMSW graduated from Ursuline Academy, Loyola University (Psychology / Sociology), and Tulane University School of Social Work (Masters in Social Work). She and her husband, Craig, have been married for twenty years and are the proud parents of Elizabeth, 18 and Benjamin, 16. Danna served on the Louisiana Adoption Advisory Board, an adoption advocacy group, for 9 years as well as previously served on the Advisory Committee on Licensing Child Care Facilities and Child Placing Agencies. In 2008, Danna was honored by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) as an “Angel in Adoption”.

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