Building a Family

Building a family through adoption can be one of the most satisfying experiences life has to offer.

The process for adoption begins with submitting an application, followed by a home study and home visit. The home study is a requirement for anyone applying for adoption — whether domestic, inter-country, agency or private. We provide support and education for you throughout this process.

While we specialize in domestic adoptions in Louisiana, we also provide home study adoption services for those who have chosen to adopt from another country through the inter-country agency of your choice.

quotes from board members, staff, & adoptive parents


Sometimes it’s what you don’t know that is the frightening part. And of course, adopting couples come with so many misgivings at times. Not about the adoption, but about the process. And what we do is to help them understand that process and let that process be so natural that they’re not fearful of it. Prior to the actual adopting of the child, there are many meetings and individual meetings with the social worker and groups so they can express their reservations or their lack of understanding...

And so, there’s comfort here. There’s knowledge here. And there’s understanding that they can pick up the telephone and call and get answers. In today’s adoption community and climate there’s a lot of back and forth between birth parents and the adopting couple which tends to mitigate a lot of the perceived fears when they don’t know what’s going to happen. I think that it’s that little bit of lagniappe that the staff is always available. That there’s a lot of interaction, that adopting couples and birth parents can both be put at ease in their individual needs.

Lillie Petit Gallagher

Director Emerita


Talk about your experience with open and closed adoptions

When we first came to St. Elizabeth, we applied. And we went through the process and getting to know everyone here and getting on the list. And at the time, really, open adoption wasn’t the trend that it is now. We did have, and do have, wonderful non-identifying information that we have used from time to time to answer medical questions.

Four years later, when my daughter came along, that was different. It was an open adoption. That meant we got to meet the birth parents, which was great. I can’t really say that one was better than the other one. But getting to meet, and I think really more importantly, it’s wonderful for the birth parents to meet us and put a face and a name. This was a way for the birth mother to see us, get to know us a little bit. And just rest that, you know, it was her decision. It was her decision that after meeting us, she thought we were the right family to adopt her biological child. So that was a semi-open. I know adoptions vary today from closed, semi-open and then, you know, more openness. And the beauty of it is that the birth parents get to decide.

Terri Leblanc

Board Member


When a birthmother first arrives at St. Elizabeth she’s typically confused, frightened ... looking for someone to help her to make that decision and to do it in a way that gives her hope, that not only will she be able to make this choice and do it, and come out on the other side feeling good about it, but that she will have hope for the future ...

Teri Casso

Foundation Director


Describe the benefits of working with St. Elizabeth.

Well, working with St. Elizabeth's gives you a real sense of everything's going to be taken care of properly. You don't have that queasy feeling of what if something goes wrong or something's not handled correctly. I never felt that.

And I'm amazed at how blessed we were working through St. Elizabeth's because you tell your story to people you come in contact with and you hear stories about people that had to go to China or to South America or wherever to adopt and for whatever reason we were blessed just to be able to do it here locally. Our oldest was born here in town and we were actually there for the birth. Our youngest was born in Hammond and we didn't quite make the birth, but we were there 30 minutes later.

Bill Avery

Adoptive Father


What was the defining moment when you adopted your child?

The defining moment was when they placed Christina [our daughter] in our arms. And you just know that this baby was meant for you. And it’s just divine intervention that this is how your family is going to be made, with this baby that you’ve just held for the first time that was born just hours before.

Emily Distefano

Board Member