Each state’s adoption laws can vary, so it is important that if you are considering adopting a child in Louisiana that you become familiar with Louisiana adoption laws.
Louisiana adoption laws are in place to protect the birth parents, the prospective adoptive parents, and the child being adopted. You will want to find an adoption agency or an adoption lawyer who is very knowledgeable in the Louisiana adoption laws.
We will cover some of the legal specifics for those adopting in Louisiana involving newborn adoptions through the domestic adoption process, as well as adopting an infant or older child through the foster care system.
Click on the following to jump to an area of interest:
- Adoption Requirements in Louisiana
- Adoption Consent in Louisiana
- Louisiana Subsidies for Foster Care Adoption
- Louisiana Adoption Advertising Laws
- Birth Parent Expenses in Louisiana
- Accessing Adoption Records in Louisiana
- Post Adoption Contact Laws in Louisiana
- When are Adoption Birth Certificates Issued in Louisiana?
With so many aspects of Louisiana adoption laws and their corresponding policies, it is impossible to cover them all in one article. We will, however, dive into many facets of the adoption laws in Louisiana .
You are strongly encouraged to contact a licensed adoption agency or an adoption lawyer for specific adoption laws and policies in Louisiana, as laws and policies do change.
Can you adopt without a lawyer? How much do adoption attorneys cost? Learn all that and more by visiting Adoption Lawyers in Louisiana: Do You Need an Adoption Attorney? where we also give you step-by-step instructions on how to vet an adoption lawyer.
Adoption Requirements in Louisiana
- 18 years of age and older.
- Adequate space for a child.
- No more than 5 children under 18.
- Home safety inspection.
- Thorough background check.
- Financially stable.
- Single or married.
- LGBT couples are permitted to adopt.
It is common knowledge that adoption is costly, but that is not to be confused with a false expectation that a prospective parent should be well off financially. Financial security is important and expected when applying to adopt a child, yet being upper class is not one of those qualifications.
Financial security simply means that you are able to pay your bills, cover your rent or mortgage, and that you have a reliable means of income and transportation. What matters most is that a child is loved, cared for, and kept safe and comfortable.
Learn more about adoption attorneys in our article What Does an Adoption Attorney Do? We Find Out.
Adoption Consent in Louisiana
Below is a summary including key points of the adoption consent laws in Louisiana put together for your convenience and is intended to be quicker to digest. For a complete listing of all adoption consent laws in its legal format and in its entirety, visit Chapter 1 Art. 401: Adoption of Local Rules of Court, courtesy of Justia Law.
It goes without saying that consent to adopt is a huge part of the adoption process. We may forget, however, that there is more involved than the birth mother’s consent.
Other aspect may come into play that you will want to keep in mind.
- The presumed father has the right to consent to the adoption.
- The agency to which the adoptee has been relinquished or which holds permanent custody and which has placed the adoptee for adoption.
Louisiana Subsidies for Foster Care Adoption
Adoption assistance, otherwise know as adoption subsidies, is available for foster children in Louisiana who suffer from physical, mental, and developmental challenges.
These children are at a heightened risk of health problems, learning disabilities, as well as mental health issues. Subsidized adoption provides assistance to adoptive families for medical access, special equipment, therapies, tutoring, and other support services.
In the US, about 90% of the children in foster care are eligible for adoption assistance.
Special Needs Eligibility in Louisiana
A child with special needs may qualify for adoption assistance if the child meets one or more of the following circumstances, courtesy of NACAC.
- Noted emotional, physical, or mental issues.
- Siblings of two or more being placed for adoption in the same home at the same time.
- A child 5 years of age or older.
- Is of a ethnicity that creates a barrier to adoption.
- Due to underlining issues in the past, the child is likely to suffer emotional, physical, or mental struggles in the future.
Louisiana Adoption Advertising Laws
Adoption advertising is defined as using a public medium to express an interest in adopting a child or sharing that a child is available for adoption either by print or electronically.
Common means of advertising include:
- Printed Flyers
Citation: Rev. Stat. § 46:1425(A): Use of Advertisement
In the state of Louisiana, it shall be unlawful for any person or organization other than a licensed child-placing agency or a Louisiana-based crisis pregnancy center to advertise adoption.
Courtesy of ChildWelfare.gov.
Birth Parent Expenses in Louisiana
In all states, no person or agency is allowed to accept payment for assisting, placing, or organizing the placement of a child, as this is illegal.
LA Rev Stat § 14:286: Sale of Minor Children & Penalties
In Louisiana, adoptive parents are allowed to pay for medical expenses that include hospital expenses, testing, nursing, pharmaceutical, travel, and other costs related to the birth of the baby. Mental health counseling expenses may also be paid by the adoptive parents both before and after the baby is born.
Reasonable living expenses for the birth mother may also be permitted expenses paid by the adoptive parents, yet no longer than 45 days after the birth of the child.
Travel, court costs, attorney fees, and other costs associated with the adoption process are also deemed as permissible expenses.
Adoptive parents are generally required to file a complete record of expenses related to the adoption that they are covering, and this must happen prior to making a payment toward those expenses.
Your licensed adoption liaison will help to ensure that all financial aspects of the adoption process run smoothly and legally.
What do you do, though, if said expenses are paid and the birth mother changes her mind in the end? Adoption Disruption insurance is available for adoptive parents to protect them from such a misfortune for those adopting domestically.
Accessing Adoption Records in Louisiana
Citation: Ch. Code Art. 1126; 1270: Who May Access Information
The adoption registry in Louisiana may be used by the following individuals:
- The birth siblings who are age 18 or older
- The birth mother and birth father
- The adoptee who is at least age 18
- The parents or siblings of a deceased birth parent
- An adoptive parent of a minor or deceased adoptee
Citation: Ch. Code Art. 1126; 1127; 1127.1: Access to Nonidentifying Information
Nonidentifying information may be provided to the birth parents, the adoptee who is age 18 or older, and the adoptive parents. Reasons for nonidentifying information to be requested could be that the adult adoptee or the adoptive parents need to know the medical or genetic history of the birth parents in order to help diagnosis a current ailment.
Citation: Ch. Code Art. 1270: Mutual Access to Identifying Information
The Office of Community Services of the Department of Social Services manages a voluntary registry that can help assist adoptees and birth parents or siblings to connect, providing permission from the the other party has been given.
Access to this voluntary information is limited to the birth mother and father, the parents or siblings of the deceased birth parent, an adoptive parent or a minor or deceased adoptee and any birth sibling who is at least age 18.
Courtesy of ChildWelfare.gov.
Post Adoption Contact Laws in Louisiana
Adoptive parents have a right to decide who has contact with their adopted child and when. Many times in an open adoption, the adoptive parents and the birth family have a mutual and informal agreement regarding contact with the adopted child.
Citation: Children’s Code Art. 1269.3: What may be included in postadoption contact agreements
In Louisiana, every postadoption contact agreement needs to be in writing and signed by the adopting parents and by any adult whom is granted contact. If an adoptee’s sibling who is granted contact is a minor, his or her legal guardian is required to sign the contact agreement.
Should mediation be needed to assist in the drafting process of the agreement, the court may refer all parties involved to a mediator. The court may also appoint counsel to ensure the adoptee’s best interests are taken into consideration.
Contact agreements generally include permitting the exchange of things like telephone numbers, email address, and other possible contact information, as well as how the visitations will take place.
All contract agreements must include the following:
- Each party to the contact agreement has voluntarily entered into the agreement.
- The adoptive parents understand that all parties to the contact agreement have the right to seek enforcement to the terms previously agreed to in accordance with Article 1269.8.
Courtesy of ChildWelfare.gov.
When are Adoption Birth Certificates Issued in Louisiana?
When your adoption is finalized, court proceedings should immediately include beginning the process of obtaining a new birth certificate for the adopted child that reflects the child’s new last name and adoptive parents.
Do not hesitate to ask your adoption attorney or adoption agency if you need to initiate that process, or if the courts will do that on your behalf.
DISCLAIMER: The above state law information is provided to our readers as a courtesy and is meant to be helpful in offering some insight as to what to expect during your adoption journey. This information is not meant to be viewed as legal advice. In addition, possible changes to state laws may have taken place since the publishing of this article in July 2021.