Concise Guide On Louisiana Adoption Laws
Updated: Dec 19, 2022
Adoption is one of the best ways to grow a family without biological input. It is also one of the most difficult and tedious processes a person or couple could go through. This is true, irrespective of whichever state you reside.
However, as Child Welfare states, adoption is primarily regulated by the state, so if you're planning on adoption in Louisiana, you need to get familiar with its adoption laws. You might also need to consult an adoption attorney to ensure that adoption centers do not take advantage of you, as some attempt to do.
3 Types of Adoptions in Louisiana
According to Louisiana Children’s Code CHC 1170, there are 3 major types of adoptions of minors. They are:
Government Agency Adoption: A government agency adoption involves adopting a child that is a ward of the state through the state’s adoption system. This type of adoption is often slow because the demand exceeds the supply. However, it is the most cost-effective option.
Private Adoption: A private adoption is done through a private adoption agency and is expensive because the state does not fully control it. In such arrangements, the birth mother and adoptive parents may be in contact with each other. It is the most exploitative adoption type.
Relative or Kinship Adoption: This involves adopting members of your family. A common example is adopting a child of your sister or brother who is incapable of caring for them.
Another type of adoption not mentioned in the aforementioned Code is international adoption. This involves adopting a child who is a citizen of another country. It is often difficult if you do it independently, as it involves requesting citizenship for the child.
Aspects of Louisiana’s Adoption Laws That Could Apply to You
According to Children’s Code CHC 1173, prospective adoptive parents must complete a home study in which the authorities ensure that everyone in their home is ready to adopt. This stage is in three parts, the documentation phase, the inspection phase, and the interview phase.
Prospective adoptive parents must also complete an Adoption Planning Questionnaire, also known as an APQ. It is a form in which you identify your adoption preferences. It’s also important to note that Louisiana laws do not prohibit adoption by LGBTQ individuals or couples, but there are no statutory protections against discrimination.
Can A Criminal Record Disqualify You from Adopting?
Having a criminal record may disqualify you from adopting, according to Section C of R.S. 46:51.2. The state carries out a background check, and if you have been convicted of any of these crimes, you may not adopt. Some of these crimes are:
First- or second-degree murder
Criminal neglect of family
Felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile, indecent behavior with juveniles, prostitution, soliciting for prostitutes, pandering, letting premises for prostitution, enticing persons into prostitution.
Contributing to the delinquency of juveniles, cruelty to juveniles
Cruelty to the infirm. See La. R.S. 46:51.2.
However, this list is not exhaustive. Other offenses, such as a DUI, will disqualify you, especially if a minor was involved. To be certain, you will need to consult an adoption attorney.
How Long Does It Take to Adopt a Child in Louisiana
Major takeaway: There are no laws regarding the total length of your adoption process.
The duration of your adoption process heavily depends on your situation and requirements. Adopting a relative or foster child can take 6 months to a year, but adopting a newborn can take years.
There is no law regarding how long you have to wait for approval, as the state is required to take as much time as it needs to do everything necessary to ensure that each child is placed with the best option, according to R.S. 46:282.
Another important factor is the type of adoption you choose. Private adoptions are usually the fastest option, which explains the cost.
Tips to Make Your Adoption Process Go Faster
Although adoption is a lengthy process, you can do a couple of things to speed up the process.
Reassess Your Requirements
Most people want to adopt newborns, and the demand greatly exceeds the supply, which is why waitlists are so long. You might also have to wait longer if you have a specific sex or race in mind. Flexibility and reassessing your requirements offer you more opportunities for successful adoption.
Foster care costs are much lower than adoption, and the process is quicker too. Although most foster care arrangements are temporary, yours does not have to be if you are fostering to adopt. Fostering to adopt is indeed ridden with risks, but most foster care arrangements are eligible for funding, eliminating financial risk.
This means that until you adopt (if you do), the state will reimburse you daily for the child’s upkeep, according to R.S. 46:286. Although foster care requirements are similar to adoption, here are some of the major differences to know:
For foster adoption, adoptive parents must complete a 21-hour Model Approach to Partnership in Parenting (MAPP) course.
You must be at least 21 years old. See here
Hire An Attorney
Hiring an experienced family lawyer specializing in adoption speeds up certain aspects of the process and protects your interest. An adoption attorney will carry out all necessary checks to avoid adoption scams while ensuring you aren't being charged excessively.
In addition, having the counsel of an experienced lawyer ensures that the book does the entire process. This single tip can eliminate many risks attached to adoption.
Louisiana has enacted laws on adoption intending to safeguard the interests of all parties engaged in the procedure, including the child, the biological parents, and the adoptive parents. If you are considering adopting a child, employing the services of an adoption attorney can help you safeguard your interests irrespective of what adoption type you are interested in.