LAFAYETTE — The adoption process is now a little different because of restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lafayette Judge Thomas Duplantier is taking advantage of a now common tool to bring families together, which is grabbing the attention of Governor John Bel Edwards.
"This week, Judge Duplantier in Lafayette performed the state's first Zoom adoptions," Governor Edwards said Wednesday during a press conference. "Four families have welcomed children in their forever homes."
Among those families is the Dugas family from Lafayette.
"We found two little girls that were fostered-to-be-adopted, so we said, 'Let's go for it,'" said David Dugas. "So, they've been with us for a year."
Now, David and his wife Melissa can officially call the girls theirs.
"We felt like a family, finally, and the little one's been calling us 'Mom' and 'Dad' forever," beamed David.
Their daughters' adoptions were among the first in the state to be performed via Zoom, allowing David and Melissa to share the moment with their family and friends.
"Everyone was going 'Yay!' and clapping and excited and all that kind of stuff," said Melissa. "So, it was great to feel their support even though they weren't physically with us."
The Dugas family is now hoping their story inspires others.
"There's so many children that just want a normal family, a normal life, and if you're able to do it and give it to them, why not? Why not stand up and be part of that village to help them because it always takes a village." Melissa looks at her daughter London, "Right?"
According to London and Paris Dugas, there's really only one word to describe the feeling: "happy."
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