It’s National Adoption Month and more children in Louisiana are getting out of foster care than ever before.
Louisiana just broke a statewide record. According to the Department of Children and Family Services, in the past year, 912 children in foster care were adopted by 631 families, an 18% increase from the year prior. One hundred and seventeen of those children were adopted in Lafayette.
Yvette Arceneaux and her wife have fostered and adopted two children. Not only do they have a full house, they now have a full heart with five children under one roof.
“It just makes you feel great that you can help these children have a better future. Do it, jump in with both feet because you won’t regret it,” Arceneaux said.
She said her family fell in love with both children instantly.
Claudelle Ancar, who works for DCFS, says it’s family like the Arceneauxs who make it all possible.
“Part of the needs are making sure the medical, and physical, and dental, and psychological and educational needs are being met. We have some outstanding families that have been able to do that for many of our children,” Ancar said.
While some families choose to only foster to adopt just one, others take in siblings in groups. Some children stay in the system for hundreds of days, sometimes even thousands, with permanent homes always being the end goal.
Britt Mattiew said fostering was something she always wanted to do, but getting her husband on board was a task. They now have a son and say they made the best decision by choosing adoption.
“It was worth every minute of it. It’s not the easiest process, but it’s very rewarding in the end. I have developed a relationship with the biological family as well, and that makes it more rewarding, also,” Mathiew said.
The families have given the children forever homes, and DCFS says there are many more children still waiting to be placed.