Jeanette Livingston, Chair

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I am a reunited birth mom since 2009.  I met my son as an adult in 1995 when he was 24 years old.  He got angry with me and wouldn't speak to me for 14 years.  I lost track of him, and in 2005 I found a blog he was writing.  I followed his move to another state and every once in a while I would send him an email.  Sometimes he would answer and sometimes not.  In 2008 I asked him if we could ski together, and he accepted. I booked a flight for Jan. 2009, he then came to Baton Rouge for our youngest son's wedding and realized he felt a connection. We have had many ups and downs, but we are good friends. 

I have been married 48 years and have raised two sons; those sons gave us seven grandsons. My birth son has two daughters.   I have been a LAAB member since 2010 and have held various jobs on the board. I have enjoyed organizing the birth parent retreat, and from that we formed a birth parent support group. 

Della Pressler, Vice Chair

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Della has a long record of activism in adoption organizations, including LAAB and Adoptee's Birthrights Committee Search and as a Reunion Support Group Facilitator.  

 

She is a reunited adoptee, retired school bus operator, wife of 53 years, grandmother of three and great-grandmother of two.  Della is a member of the Louisiana Adoption Support Alliance and Fibromyalgia Support Group Facilitator for F.A.C.T.S. 

Lori Arceneaux, Secretary

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Lori is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and the Program Manager of the Adoption Services of Volunteers of America Southeast Louisiana.  She has served in this role for 15 years.  Lori is a certified trainer through Spaulding for Children to conduct trainings about the Option of Adoption.  She completed the inaugural course offered by the Louisiana State University and received a post masters certificate in Adoption Competency.  Lori is an adoptive parent through foster care in Louisiana.  She is a member of the National Association of Social Workers, Louisiana Chapter.  She is a member of NOLA Hope, a foster/adoptive parent support group and association.  Lori has been a member of LAAB since October 2010 serving previously as secretary and chair.

Linda R. Woods, Treasurer

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A reunited birthparent, Linda has served on the board since 1994. A long-time adoption advocate, her state and national contributions have increased Louisiana's stature and presence with the national adoption community.

 

She co-founded Louisiana Adoption Advocates (LAA) and Louisiana Adoption Support Alliance (with Brenda Frisard).  She served as an officer for Adoptees Birthright Committee (ABC) for 14 years, state representative for the American Adoption Congress since 1999 and chaired 15 LAAB conferences.  Sen. John Breaux nominated Linda to receive the “Angel in Adoption” Award by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute in 2001. 

 

Linda was invited to the White House on several occasions during the Clinton Administration and submitted written testimony in the House of Representatives on adoption issues.  She has lobbied the Louisiana legislature for many years of behalf of adoptees to be granted access to their original birth certificates. She is active in search and reunions, a member of Birth Parents Support Network and received LAAB’s 2017 Advocate of the Year award.

Karen Babin

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A native of Denver, Colorado,, Karen has B.S. and Master's degrees from Southern Methodist University.  Moving to Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1971, she started, and managed for 30 years, the first do-it-yourself picture-framing store in New England. 

In 1982, Karen learned that the child that she had given up for adoption in 1965 was a boy!  Karen met Chris in early 1986, and was invited to Alabama to share in the family celebration of his 21st birthday.  Through 33 years of ups and downs, the reunion has been cordial, but mostly not that close.

 

In 1987, Karen was invited to join the Rotary Club of Cambridge, and was the first female President of that club and the first female District Governor in that region.  A variety of other Rotary leadership roles, responsibilities, educational programs, and awards have continued to the present, in New England, Upstate NY, and currently in the Rotary District along the Gulf Coast in Louisiana and Mississippi.  Promoting peace has been a significant interest of Karen’s throughout her many volunteer activities.

Barbara Barach

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Barbara began her reunion story in February 2008 when she located a 37-year-old adopted male on an adoption registry website who was born on the same day as the child she had given up for adoption.  Their reunion in January 2009 was a Hallmark movie moment. However, she soon discovered that a reunion is not an ending but a beginning, a beginning of what can be an exciting and terrifying journey.  She found she was ill-prepared for the emotional roller coater that ensued.  

 

Fortunately, she discovered Adoptees Birthrights Committee (ABC), a voluntary search and support group for all members of the adoption triad.  Barbara's ABC connections led her to a birthparents support group, which proved cathartic as she shared with women who have experienced a similar journey.  This group led her to join LAAB in 2021.  

Linda Easterlin

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Janice Allen 

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Karen Babin 

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Linda joined the LAAB board in 2018.  Adopted at birth, she searched for and found her birth family several decades ago and has an abiding interest in the emotional issues related to adoption, identity and belonging. A native Floridian and devoted New Orleanian, Linda has a communications firm, and has worked in journalism, marketing and public relations over the years.  She has three young adult children.  

Cathryn B. Stanley

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Cathryn is an adoptee who was born and raised in south Louisiana.  After 20 years of research and an Ancestry DNA test in 2014, she discovered her biological family in 2017 - 2018.  Cathryn now enjoys a relationship with four half siblings and an uncle.  She felt that her experience might help other adoptees so she wrote A Twenty-Year Journey which is available on Amazon.  She has also published multiple short articles which were featured in The Advocate, Baton Rouge’s premier newspaper.  Cathryn also serves as the administrative coordinator for a local chemical company and handles their special events. This is her first year to serve on the LAAB. 


Dept of Children & Family Services Representative

Cheryl Tirado, MSW, LCSW

Adoptions Program Manager

ON LEAVE

Betty Powers

HONORARY BOARD MEMBERS

Louise Bourne

Richard Caffarel 

Karen Caldwell

Danna P. Cousins, LMSW

Lori DeBenedetto-Webb

Kent Gonsoulin 

Myra McGee

Linda Pendergast 

Ada White

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Linda Easterlin

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Cathryn Stanley

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ON LEAVE

Betty Powers

HONORARY BOARD MEMBERS

 

Louise Bourne

Richard Carrarel 

Karen Caldwell

Danna P. Cousins, LMSW 

Kent Gonsoulin 

Myra McGee

Linda Pendergast 

Ada White