Louisiana is known for Cajun food like Gumbo, Étouffée, Jambalaya, and jazz music. In Louisiana, Birth Mothers facing an unplanned pregnancy can place their baby for adoption. This selfless act allows Adopting Parents the opportunity to raise a child through the gift of adoption. DeColores Adoptions helps Birth Mothers with this tough decision, and we hope this guide offers you some help along your journey.
Placing a Baby For Adoption in Louisiana
If you have discovered you’re pregnant, and it was unplanned, you may be considering adoption as an option for your baby. There are some relevant laws and rules for you to know before you place your baby for adoption in Louisiana.
The requirement of Consent for Adoption
Consenting to adoption means that biological parents agree to relinquish the child to another family. Birth Parents release parental rights and responsibilities to the family that is deciding to adopt the child. Generally, the biological mother and father (provided the father has confirmed paternity) consent to the adoption in writing, and it’s witnessed and notarized before a judge.
In many states, if the father is not married to the mother, he may lose his right of consent if he does not file a notice of paternity claim. Furthermore, if they do not respond to an adoption notice, unwed fathers usually lose their right to consent. Lastly, a court can terminate parental rights for legal reasons. If this happens, parental consent is not required.
When Can Birth Parents Consent to Adoption?
In Louisiana, Birth Parents can make the adoption plan at any time during pregnancy or after the baby is born. Still, they don’t sign the papers (consent to adoption) until they are legally allowed to in their state. All states except for New York, Idaho, and Oregon stipulate when birth parents may consent to adoption.
The United States holds the rights of parents in high regard. Because of this, parents must legally consent to the adoption before the child can be legally adopted. Birth parents must give up their parental rights, and if the Birth Parents are under 18, their parents must also consent. *(see below)
Birth parents in Louisiana must wait three days to consent to adoption with an agency and five days if it’s a private adoption.
Timing of Consent by State:
- Birth Parents may give consent any time after the child’s birth: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Wyoming;
- Birth father may give consent any time before or after child’s birth: Alabama, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia;
- Three-day waiting period before consent may be executed: Arizona, District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia;
- Other waiting periods: Vermont (36 hours); Connecticut, Florida, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Texas, Washington (48 hours); Massachusetts (fourth day after child’s birth); Louisiana and South Dakota (five days); California (after biological mother’s discharge from hospital);
- The mother may consent before the child’s birth but must reaffirm after the child’s birth: Alabama and Hawaii.
Before the execution of any surrender, the parent shall participate in a minimum of two counseling sessions with a licensed social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist, or counselor employed by a licensed child-placing agency.
The act of surrender shall make the following declarations:
- The parent has no mental incapacity.
- A minor parent is joined in the act of surrender by the parents or tutor or has the consent of the court except when surrendering to an agency.
- The parent has been informed and understands that the act of surrender is irrevocable. [definition of irrevocable: not able to be changed, reversed, or recovered; final.]
- The parent freely and voluntarily surrenders custody of the child for adoption and waives notice of any subsequent adoption proceedings.
- The parent has been informed of the voluntary registration law for contact between the parent and the surrendered child upon the child’s reaching majority.
- A surrendering parent, the agency accepting the surrender, or a prospective adoptive parent are domiciled in the state, or the child is in the custody of the Department of Social Services.
- In an adoption arranged by the department, execution of the surrender is made without conditions of any kind.
- The surrendering mother does or does not wish to be notified of a hearing of any opposition to the adoption filed pursuant to article 1137.
- The surrendering parent does or does not wish the future release of identifying information in the event of a medical necessity for which information is needed in order to treat the child.
- The parent has been informed that the Statement of Family History will be given to the adoptive parents at the time of placement and made available, upon request, to the child at age 18.
- The parent has received the required counseling sessions, or in the case of the father, he has waived such counseling.
- The parent has consulted with and been fully advised by an attorney, other than the attorney of the prospective adoptive parent
cited from: https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/consent.pdf
When Parental Consent Is Not Needed Citation:
Ch. Code Art. 1193; 1245
- The consent of the parent is not required if his or her rights have been terminated in accordance with title X or XI.
- 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.
- Parental consent is not necessary when a petitioner in an intrafamily adoption has been granted custody of the child by a court of competent jurisdiction, and the parent has failed to support, visit, or communicate with the child without just cause for at least six months.
- Parental consent is not necessary when the spouse of a stepparent petitioner has been granted sole or joint custody of the child or is otherwise exercising lawful custody of the child, and the other parent has refused to support, visit, or communicate with the child without just cause for at least six months.
Who Must Consent to an Adoption (Louisiana)
Current Through March 2017
Citation: Ch. Code Art. 1193; 1113
Consent to the adoption of a child shall be required of the following:
- The mother of the child
- The father of the child, regardless of the child’s actual paternity, if any of the following apply:
- The child is a child born of the marriage.
- The father is presumed to be the father of the child in accordance with the law.
- The alleged father of the child who has established his parental rights in accordance with law
- The biological father of the child whose paternity has been determined by a judgment of filiation and who has established his parental rights
- The custodial agency that has placed the child for adoption
If a parent executing a surrender in a private adoption is a minor, the parents or tutor of the minor must join in the surrender unless the minor parent has been judicially emancipated or emancipated by marriage.
Does Louisiana Have a Putative Father Registry?
Yes, Louisiana does have a putative father registry. The Louisiana Vital Records Registry maintains the registry to record the name and address of any man who declares that he is the father of a child. The father can register free of charge. If a man wants parental rights to a child, he must prove paternity and register as a putative (assumed) father. Instructions for registering with the Putative Father Registry can be found here. For a Putative Father Affidavit, click here.
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