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Adoption in Louisiana

Louisiana Bayou

Louisiana is known as the birthplace of jazz, where over-stuffed po’ boys are abundant and the greatest Mardi Gras takes place. Louisiana offers Adopting Parents the opportunity to complete their families through adoption and helps Birth Mothers facing an unplanned pregnancy. Here, we offer you our informational guide to help you through your adoption journey.

Placing a Baby for Adoption in Louisiana

As a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy and starting the adoption process in the state of Louisiana, there are some important things for you to know. You must learn the laws, rules and qualifications of placing your baby for adoption.

When and How can Birth Parents Consent to the Adoption?

Birth Parents can make an adoption plan anytime during the Birth Mother’s pregnancy or after birth of the child. In the state of Louisiana, a Birth Parent can consent to placing the child for adoption three days after the birth of the child through an adoption agency and the fifth day following the birth of the child if the adoption is a private adoption. The birth father is able to consent anytime before or after the birth, but his consent is irrevocable the fifth day following the birth of the child. An alleged father may consent anytime prior to or after his birth of the child, and his consent will then be permanent upon execution.

Prior to consenting to adoption birth parents must participate in a minimum of two counseling sessions with a licensed social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist, or a counselor employed by a licensed child-placing agency. The following are the requirements to consent to the adoption:

  • Birth Parent must be mentally capable of giving consent
  • The Birth Parent has been informed and understands that the act of surrender is irrevocable
  • The Birth Parent voluntarily surrenders custody of the child for the purpose of adoption and waives notice of any subsequent adoption proceedings
  • The Birth Parents have been informed of the voluntary registration law for contact between the parent and the surrendered child upon the child’s reaching the age of majority
  • The Birth Parent has received the required counseling sessions, or in the case of the Birth Father, he has waived such counseling
  • If the parent is a minor, he or she must be joined in the act of surrender by the parents or have the consent of the court, except when surrendering to an agency
  • The Birth Parent has consulted with and been fully advised by an attorney, other than the attorney of the Prospective Adoptive Parent

Who Must Consent to the Adoption?

The following are eligible to consent to adoption in Louisiana:

  • The Birth Mom
  • The Biological Father
  • The Alleged Father who has established parental rights of the child
  • The Father of the child, regardless of actual paternity, if:
    • The child was born out of wedlock
    • The man is the child’s Presumed Father
  • The agency having custody of the child
  • The parents of a minor Birth Parent if they are under 18 years old

When does the Birth Parents’ Consent become Irrevocable?

The Birth Parents consent becomes irrevocable if:

  • If his or her rights have been terminated
  • The court may grant an adoption without the consent of the agency if the adoption is in the best interests of the child and there is a finding that the agency has unreasonably withheld its consent
  • For a stepparent or relative adoption, a parent who has failed to support, visit, or communicate with the child without just cause for at least 6 months

What Rights does the Birth Father have in Louisiana Adoptions?

In Louisiana, a Putative Father Registry has been created to allow a ‘parent’ to declare his parental rights to the child and to help facilitate his participation in any adoption proceedings.

Louisiana has created a putative father registry that documents the names and addresses of any person adjudicated by a Louisiana court to be the father of a child, any person adjudicated by a court of another state to be the father of a child born out of wedlock, and any person who has filed with registry an acknowledgment of paternity. A mother and alleged father may file an acknowledgment of paternity.

Adopting a Baby in Louisiana

Before an adoption can take place, there are specific laws, rules and qualifications in Louisiana concerning who can adopt or how you can adopt. Laws, rules and qualifications will vary based on the type of adoption you choose to pursue. All Adopting Parents must meet these requirements to adopt in the state of Louisiana.

What are the Laws and Qualifications for Adopting a Child in Louisiana?

The following are eligible to adopt a child in Louisiana:

  • Prospective parent must be 18 years or older
  • Prospective parents that are married must jointly petition to adopt a child
  • Prospective parent must have United States citizenship or legal alien status
  • Prospective parent must have a sufficient income to provide care for the child
  • Prospective parent must have good physical and mental health to care for the child
  • Prospective parent must complete an Adoptive Parent training course

In addition to these requirements, your home must:

  • Have a working telephone
  • Have a secure place for hazardous chemicals or weapons
  • Have working smoke detectors and fire extinguishers
  • Have restricted areas for dangerous animals 

What Adoption Expenses can be Paid by Adoptive Families in Louisiana?

The following are adoption expenses that are permitted in Louisiana:

  • Reasonable medical expenses for the Birth Mother in relation to the pregnancy and birth of the child
  • Reasonable medical expenses for the child
  • Reasonable mental health counseling services for a Birth Parent for a reasonable time before and after the child’s placement
  • Reasonable living expenses incurred by a mother during her pregnancy and for no more than 45 days after the birth
  • Court costs, attorney, agency fees and travel expenses
  • Any other specific service or fee the court finds is reasonable and necessary 

What are the Laws to become a Foster Parent in Louisiana?

The following are eligible to foster parent in Louisiana:

  • Prospective parent must be at least 21 years old
  • Prospective parent can be single, married, divorced, or widowed
  • Prospective parent must be financially stable (able to meet own family’s needs)
  • Prospective parent must be in good physical, emotional and mental health
  • Prospective parent must have adequate space in home for additional child
  • Prospective parent must pass a state and federal criminal clearances
  • Prospective parent must attend 21 hours of pre-service training
  • Prospective parent must complete a home study process

The steps in the Foster Parent certification process include:

  • Attending an orientation meeting
  • Complete pre-service training (7 sessions)
  • Submit application for certification. (Form will be handed out at first pre-service training session)
  • Having all adults living in the household fingerprinted
  • Participate in the home study process. There will be up to 3 visits to your home by an agency worker-one of which will include a safety inspection of your home.
  • Providing 5 references 

What are the Requirements to Finalize an International Adoption in Louisiana?

To finalize an international adoption in Louisiana you’ll have to file a petition with the court for recognition of the adopted child. The petition will state:

  • The full name, address, age, occupation, and marital status of each prospective parent, at least one of whom is a legal resident of the State of Louisiana
  • The name by which the child is known
  • The place and date of the birth of the child if known, and if not known, the approximate age of the child
  • The date and circumstances under which the child was adopted

The petition will be accompanied by:

  • A certification for adoption
  • A certified copy of the documentation of orphan status
  • Documentary proof of citizenship status
  • A copy of the child’s immigrant visa or resident alien card
  • The original or a certified copy of a valid foreign adoption decree and birth certificate, together with a notarized translation
  • An affidavit of fees and expenses

The court will issue a judgement recognizing the foreign adoption and rendering a final adoption decree upon finding that:

  • The foreign adoption decree and notarized transcript has been filed and is determined to be granted in accordance with the laws of the foreign country
  • The child qualified as a foreign orphan and is in the United States in compliance with federal regulations
  • The child is either a permanent resident or a naturalized citizen of the United States
  • Prospective parent have the ability to care for, maintain and educate the child

A new birth certificate will be prepared with the new name of the adopted child and will seal and file the court findings as well as the order or decree of adoption. The certificate will show the true or probable country, island or continent of birth. The certificate will state that it is not evidence of U.S. citizenship for the child. However, the certificate may be evidence of U.S. citizenship if the State Registrar receives a certified copy of a certificate of naturalization.

Home Study Requirements in Louisiana

All adoptive parents in the state of Louisiana are required to complete a home study and a post-placement assessment after the adoption has taken place; regardless of the type of adoption you’re pursuing or the adoption professional you’re working with. Both will assess your ability to provide a nurturing and stable home to a child.

What is Included in the Louisiana Home Study process?

In Louisiana, a home study will include, but is not limited to:

  • At least two home consultation visits and a third visit that may be a home or office visit
  • Face-to-face interviews with everyone living in the home
  • Three personal references who are not related to the applicant and one reference who is related to the applicant but does not live in the home
  • If applicable, an interview with the applicant’s adult child regarding the applicants parenting history
  • The reason for choosing adoption
  • History of any previous application for adoption
  • A State and national criminal background check
  • A child abuse and neglect registry check for everyone in the house who is at least 18 years old
  • An assessment of the family background and customs
  • Relationships with extended family
  • The past and present mental and physical health of the applicants
  • The applicant’s hobbies, interests and community involvement

Who is Included in the Louisiana Home Study Process?

The prospective parents, as well as any other adult living in the residence will be included in the home study process.

Who will Conduct the Home Study?

The home study process is overseen by the Department of Child and Family Services. It will include everyone living in the prospective adoptive parents home.

On what Grounds will the Home Study not be Approved in Louisiana?

Anyone who is registered in the state central registry for child abuse and neglect can not adopt a child. The home study would not be approved if any adult resident in the home has committed any of the following:

  • Rape or sexual battery
  • Rehoming of a child
  • Murder, manslaughter, or feticide
  • Criminal neglect or abandonment of family
  • Cruelty to juveniles
  • Child desertion
  • A sexual offense involving a minor
  • Crimes of violence including:
    • Aggravated assault or battery
    • Kidnapping or stalking
    • Robbery or burglary
    • Illegal use of weapons or terrorism
    • Trafficking of children for sexual purposes or human trafficking
    • Domestic abuse aggravated assault
    • Vehicular homicide while intoxicated
  • A sex offense, including failing to register as sex offender, obscenity, operating a place of prostitution, or voyeurism
  • Sale of minor children
  • Drug-related offenses
  • A similar offense committed in another State or under Federal law
  • A drug-related crime in the past 5 years

When should the Home Study be completed? When must the Home Study be Renewed?

The home study must be completed before the placement of a child in an adoptive home.  If more than a year has passed since the family was certified for adoption, the agency shall complete an update prior to the placement of the adoptive child in the home including an updated background check.

What is a Post-Placement? What happens during the Post-Placement Process in Louisiana?

The agency placing the child for adoption will implement post placement supervision until the adoption process is complete. The child and family will be visited within three weeks of placement and once every two months after the initial visit . A visit will take place within 30 days of the final adoption decree being granted. At least two of these visits will be in the adoptive parents’ home and will include both adoptive parents (if applicable) as well as all other members living in the home. During the visits, the person assessing the family will:

  • Be available to give the child and Adoptive Parent assistance, consultation, and emotional support with situations and problems encountered in the permanent placement
  • Ensure continuation of case management, visits, and telephone contacts based upon the needs of the child until the adoption is legally granted
  • Be made aware of any change in the adoptive home including health, education, or behavior
  • Be responsible for assisting adoptive parents to finalize the adoption or in cases where the adoption cannot be finalized, to develop an alternative permanent plan and placement for the child

What are the Home Study Requirements to Adopt a Child from Another State?

Any out-of-home placement of a child outside the state is subject to the provisions of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC). The child will not be sent to the adoptive parents’ state until that state’s authorities have notified the child-placing agency, in writing, that the placement does not appear to be contrary to the interests of the child.

What are the Requirements for a Foster to Adopt Placement in Louisiana?

Foster parents have the right for first consideration as a placement option for a child previously placed in their home and for a child placed in their home who becomes available for adoption, if relative placement is not available.

Adoption for a child by their Foster Parent will be considered when:

  • The foster parent(s) are interested in adopting the child
  • An assessment indicates that foster parent adoption is the most desirable permanent plan for the child
  • The child and Foster Family have developed healthy and affectionate ties
  • The foster parent(s) meet certification standards for adoptive homes
  • Removal and placement would be likely to cause lasting emotional damage to the child.

Louisiana Adoption Professionals

Louisiana is home to some amazing adoption agencies who are ready to help get you started on your journey. Whether it be adopting a child into your family, or finding resources to place your child up for adoption, these professionals are all willing and able to help you throughout this process.

Adoption Network Law Center

1-800-367-2367

Acorn Adoptions

985-626-3800

St. Elizabeth Foundation

225-769-8888

DeColores Adoption International

1-877-436-4530

A Bond of Life Adoption

317-873-3841

Beacon House Adoption Services

225-753-5551

Visit Louisiana

Adopting Parents and Birth Parents should take a break from the adoption process and explore the lively French Quarter of New Orleans or adventure to bayous of Cajun Country. The streets are filled with a diverse mix of people whose ideas, tastes and roots translate into the cuisine, music and culture that make Louisiana or better known as the Pelican State.

Jackson Square

Cafe Du Monde

Audubon Aquarium of the Americas

Louisiana’s Old State Capitol

Blue Bayou Water Park

BREC’s Baton Rouge Zoo

Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu

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