Category Archives: Adoption & Maternity

David and Ashley’s Adoption Love Story


Like many couples in love, David and Ashley married and wanted to start a family.

When they realized getting pregnant was not possible, they made the decision to explore adoption with Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans. Five days before Christmas 2015, David and Ashley lovingly welcomed their son Beckett Christian to their family; it’s a holiday they will cherish forever.

An adopted child herself, Ashley says that God led her and her husband to Volunteers of America and to their angel on earth – the Adoption Program’s social worker who shared the incredible three-year journey with them. They are especially thankful to Beckett’s birth mother for her selfless act of love and for turning to Volunteers of America for assistance with her unplanned pregnancy.

A Father’s Perspective on Adoption

D&G2“The moment we put him in our arms, there was a bond,” says adoptive father Donald about his son, Gianni. Donald and his wife, Vanessa, brought Gianni home from the hospital almost four years ago, in September of 2011. And now, every year he gets to celebrate Father’s Day, “like any other father—it is just a wonderful feeling to be a parent.” Adoptive families are unique, but their desires for their children are universal—that they be happy and healthy.

To help create their special and loving family, Donald and Vanessa turned to Volunteers of America. Vanessa’s father had volunteered with the residential re-entry program for many years and they trusted the organization to guide them in the adoption process. Donald says he feels blessed to have been selected by Gianni’s birthmother to care for her natural born son, and to have maintained some openness in their adoption plan. Their family meets with Gianni’s birthmother and her daughter, Gianni’s biological sister, several times a year.  Maintaining bonds with Gianni’s birthmother will be very important for Gianni as he gets older and starts to have questions about his adoption story. But for now, Gianni is just enjoying getting to play with his sister.

Donald and Vanessa are excited to share their adoption experience with friends, as well as other families at church and at school. “We feel like we are now stewards or ambassadors for adoption,” says Donald. Many people have asked for advice, some of which already have natural born children.  “People have many reasons to adopt; some cannot conceive themselves, but others just want to expand their families and they feel called to adoption.” The couple has also spoken at a Volunteers of America adoption meeting for potential adoptive parents as well as volunteered at our annual Golf Star Classic, the sole fundraiser for the adoption program. These efforts are made with the intention of helping others to also realize their dream of becoming parents.

D&GIt is clear when you speak to Donald, why he feels so compelled to advocate for adoption—Gianni. “He is a loving, kind, compassionate kid, who can do so much. The thought and emotion that he puts behind the things that he says are inspiring.” For instance, when you ask him how his day was, he might just say, “Amazing!!” Donald is enjoying watching Gianni grow –he knows how to stick up for himself, as Donald found out looking on at a recent birthday party. “That’s what you want, to know that they’ll be ok.” But mostly, Gianni is a fun-loving and active child, exited to play any sport, especially football, T-ball, and basketball.

Donald and Vanessa are raising Gianni with care and appreciation for their son, his birth mother and Volunteers of America.  This Father’s Day, with the love and support that he and Vanessa give Gianni, Donald is sure to get what he wants—a happy and healthy child.

Adoption Helps Families Grow & Blossom

We are proud to share the story of staff member Lori Arceneaux North, LCSW, BACS. Lori serves as the Program Manager of our Adoption & Maternity Services program, and she is also an adoptive parent. 

Lori (left) with her daughter  and husband

Lori (left) with her daughter and husband

“Adoption has tremendously impacted my life on both a professional and a personal level. After working for Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans’ adoption program, my husband and I felt compelled to turn to adoption to begin our family. We soon became foster/adoptive parents with the state. Our daughter joined our family in 2010. We have since adopted her. Through my personal experience with adoption, this has driven me to help other children like my daughter who need a forever family of their own. Currently, I serve as the chair of the Louisiana Adoption Advisory Board, a non-profit that consists of adopted persons, adoptive parents, birth parents, and adoption professionals. We seek to promote understanding and education about adoption-related issues. Also, I’m the secretary of NOLA Hope, a local foster/adoptive parent support group. We support, educate and advocate for both foster and adoptive parents and for children in foster care too.


Lori’s daughter

It’s been an incredible experience to see my daughter blossom over the last four years since she joined our family. Sadly, there are so many other children just like her in Louisiana that need the same opportunity to thrive in an adoptive family. We hope to expand our family again through adoption in a couple of years. This firsthand experience with adoption has helped me to become a better social worker and to better assist the people we serve in our program. I can draw on my personal experiences to better understand their perspectives and assist them on their individual adoption journey.”

As a licensed adoption agency and a respected pioneer in issues such as open adoption, Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans’ Adoption Program has united thousands of families over many decades. We place infants in adoptive homes, counsel birth parents and adoptive parents and reach out to both groups with a variety of helping services that range from crisis counseling for pregnant women to home studies for adoptive couples. To learn more, visit our website,  email us or call (504) 835-3005.

You could be the lucky winner of a 2015 Mercedes CLA250 in our raffle benefiting our Adoption Program! It’s an amazing prize with a life-changing cause. Don’t miss out–get your tickets here.

2014 GolfStar Classic Adoption Benefit

Every year in the U.S. more than 20,000 children age out of the foster care system without being adopted. Today there are over 104,000 children in foster care awaiting adoption (source: Adopt US Kids). Volunteers of America, Greater New Orleans’ annual GolfStar Classic golf tournament is a fun and heartwarming event that raises proceeds to help our licensed adoption agency create forever families for newborn infants and foster children.

ImageThis year’s GolfStar Classic, held on March 18th at TPC Louisiana, was met with brilliantly sunny weather and a turnout of 144 golfers. Several of the special adoptive families served by our program in the past were in attendance at the event, championing our ongoing efforts to unite children with loving adoptive parents. A partner in our adoption efforts, Wendy’s, presented Volunteers of America with a check for $18,500 and supplied the stylish logoed golf shirts, while nearly 285 additional sponsors contributed food, auction items, and financial support for the event. Numerous volunteers, including college students from Tulane University and Sewanee University, helped the activities of the day flow seamlessly. The exciting event culminated with a new highlight, our first luxury car raffle. The lucky winner of a 2014 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 was Mr. Jesse Tauzier of Metairie, LA—congratulations!

ImageA perfect day for golfing and fellowship, the GolfStar Classic was a terrific experience for all and a marked success in support of our adoption program. The proceeds of the GolfStar Classic help bring renewed life and love into the lives of children and parents in Southeast Louisiana—thank you to all who helped make this year’s wonderful event possible!

Click here to view more event photos.

To learn more about our adoption services, click here.

GolfStar Classic Golf Tournament 2012: Sponsor a Hole or Donate an Auction Item to Raise Money for Adoption Services

Volunteers of America’s 2012 GolfStar Classic Golf Tournament will be held on March 6, 2012.  The event will be hosted again at the beautiful PGA Tournament Players Club (TPC) golf course.

In the brochure below is more information about how you can sponsor a hole on the course for $200 or play in the tournament for $250.  We expect to host 144 golfers from all over the Greater New Orleans area.  Our golfers are local businessmen, executives, board members and community leaders.

During the tournament’s after-party we will host an auction featuring items from local businesses.  Sponsoring a hole or donating an auction prize  is a great way to get your name in front of some of our area’s top corporate decision makers.

One hundred percent of all revenue from the GolfStar Classic Golf Tournament goes to the Adoption Program of Volunteers of America of Greater New Orleans, Inc. Licensed Master’s level social workers work with pregnant women considering making an adoption plan. We counsel and educate all women who seek our services. We help women ensure a healthy pregnancy, regardless of whether they choose to parent their child, or place the child for adoption. The program also offers support groups for birthmothers and adoptive parents, placement of older children in state’s custody, and services for families seeking to adopt. Volunteers of America of Greater New Orleans, Inc., is licensed as a child placing agency in Louisiana and Mississippi.

To learn more about how to sponsor a hole or donate an auction item please visit the Volunteers of America website or contact the tournament director, Al Kohorst at (504) 482-2130 or

Donald and Vanessa Welcome Home Giovanni Caleb

After trying to have a child for nearly their entire eight year of marriage, Donald and Vanessa contacted Volunteers of America’s Maternity and Adoption Program to inquire about adoption. Vanessa was familiar with Volunteers of America as her father has volunteered for many years with our agency. Donald and Vanessa were overjoyed when an expectant mother selected them.  Their little guy arrived a few weeks early and had to spend some in the NICU, but is now very healthy. Donald and Vanessa were thrilled to welcome home their son, Giovanni Caleb (pictured left).

Lori Arceneaux-North is the Program Coordinator of the Maternity and Adoption program.  She can be contacted at larceneaux@voagno.or. Please visit our Adoption and Maternity Services page to learn more.

Adoption and Maternity Services on WWL

This morning Lori Arceneaux was featured on WWL with Sally-Ann Roberts. Lori is the Program Coordinator of Volunteers of America’s Adoption and Maternity program. Volunteers of America began operating maternity homes in 1915 and was one of the first adoption agencies to become licensed in the state of Louisiana in the late 1940s. Over the last several decades this program has been helping to unite families in the New Orleans area. Read more below…

Read more here:

Sally-Ann invited Lori and two adoptive parents to talk about their experience with Volunteers of America’s adoption services. When Jennifer and Neal found out they couldn’t have children naturally, they turned to Volunteers of America to help them adopt a child. They were ecstatic that the adoption process went smoothly and were relieved to have Lori there to help them through each step. When they adopted their son at 3 weeks old, it felt natural and bonding came instantly. Volunteers of America promotes openness in adoption but supports the birth mother in what’s best for her. As Lori explains, “We’re there to provide counseling and support to all members of the adoption triad: composed of  adoptive parents, birth parents, and adopted child. Serving since the 1900’s provides stability to help throughout a child’s life. It’s very common that we receive calls long after the adoption for help or support and we’re here for as long as people need us to assist them.”

Volunteers of America has also partnered with the Dave Thomas Foundation’s Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program that seeks to find loving, permanent homes for both younger and older children in foster care. Lori wants people to know that “facing infertility and struggling to create their family doesn’t have to end in not having a child. There are lots of options out there.” To find out more about Volunteers of America’s Adoption Services call Lori Arceneaux at (504) 836-8714 or e-mail  For more information from our website, click here.

Adoption Success Story

Valerie & Darrell adopted their daughter, Sophie, through Volunteers of America over 5 1/2 years ago. Valerie immediately became a stay at home mother, and they relished their role as parents.

After a few years, Valerie & Darrell felt that they family was not yet complete. They again turned to Volunteers of America’s Adoption program to build their family. With Sophie’s adoption, their wait was somewhat shorter. While waiting for an expectant mother to select them, they relied on their faith that God had a plan for them.

Recently, an expectant mother in our program selected Valerie an Darrell. Unlike some other expectant mothers who had picked other families over Valerie & Darrell, this expectant mother was drawn to the fact that they already had adopted a child. The expectant mother felt that by being successful parents to Sophie, Valerie & Darrell must have known what they were doing. Also, she wanted her child to have an immediate sibling.

Valerie & Darrell waited anxiously for the call that they could pick up their second daughter. They decided to wait to tell Sophie until they arrived at the Volunteers of America office. Sophie was just as excited as her parents to meet her baby sister. Valerie & Darrell say that Sophie has proudly stepped into the role of big sister and loves helping her parents care for baby Audrey. Valerie & Darrell now feel that their family is complete.

Our Adoption & Maternity program creates loving families through adoption and serves birth parents and adoptive parents with counseling, support groups, and community education.

Adoption Services’ Carousel Party

It’s National Adoption Month and our Adoption Services department held its annual Carousel Party on the 6th. Check out WWL’s coverage of the event below to learn more.

Our Adoption Services department creates loving families through adoption and serves birth parents and adoptive parents with counseling, support groups, and community education.

For more information on the program,visit our Adoption and Maternity Services page.

Women Experiencing Unplanned Pregnancies – Adoption is an Option.

Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans places infants in adoptive homes, offers counseling for birthparents and adoptive parents, and reaches out to both groups with a variety of helping services that range from crisis counseling for pregnant women to home studies for adoptive couples.

Adoption and Maternity is a full service agency. The program also places children in state custory with permanent families. We work with Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, a national initiative that finds adoptive parents for youngsters in foster care.

In 2002-3, we served more than 1,523 persons – birthparents, adoptive parents, and their extended families. Services can continue for a minimum of five years after a child is placed for adoption. About 86 percent of expectant mothers who contact us choose to parent their child. Of these, approximately 50 percent have a gross annual household income below $10,000. 59 percent are unemployed, 53 percent reside in a female household with no husband, and 16 percent are ages 10-17.

For more information on our adoption and maternity programs, click here.