Completing Intercountry Adoptions Not Finalized Abroad - Louisiana

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Requirements for Completing the Adoption

Citation: Ch. Code Art. 1281.7; 1281.9; 1283.1; 1283.6; 1283.8; 1283.9; 1283.13; 1283.14

The parental rights of the parents of any child who has qualified as a foreign orphan or a convention adoptee are deemed to be terminated, and no further consent to adoption or relinquishment of parental rights shall be required.

A U.S. citizen and his or her spouse who is a U.S. citizen or has lawful immigration status may petition jointly, or an unmarried U.S. citizen who is at least age 25 may petition for intercountry adoption. At least one petitioner shall be a domiciliary of Louisiana.

The petition for adoption of a foreign orphan shall provide the following information:

  • The full name, address, age, occupation, and marital status of each petitioner
  • The name by which the child is known to petitioners as well as the name under which the birth of the child is recorded
  • The place and date of the birth of the child, if known; if not known, then the approximate age of the child
  • The date and circumstances under which the child entered the home of the petitioner
  • Any relationship existing between the petitioner and the child

The court shall set the time and place for the hearing of the petition for adoption of the foreign orphan no less than 30 days nor more than 60 days after the filing of the adoption petition. At this hearing, the court shall consider the following:

  • Any motion to intervene that has been filed
  • Any other issues in dispute
  • The confidential report of the Department of Children and Family Services
  • The report of any criminal records or validated complaints of child abuse or neglect concerning the petitioner
  • The testimony of the parties

If the child to be adopted is age 12 or older, the court shall solicit and consider his or her wishes in the matter.

Upon due consideration of the factors enumerated in article 1283.6(B), the court may grant or refuse to grant an interlocutory decree during or after the hearing. The basic consideration for this decree shall be the best interests of the child.

Upon due consideration of the factors enumerated in article 1283.6(B), the court may render a final decree of adoption at the first hearing, without the necessity of first entering an interlocutory decree, if the child was placed in the petitioner's home by a licensed agency and the child has lived in that home for at least 6 months prior to the hearing for adoption.

The child shall have lived with the petitioner for at least 1 year and at least 6 months shall have elapsed after the granting of an interlocutory decree before the petitioner may file a petition for final decree of adoption. The court shall set a time and place for the hearing of the petition for final decree. The court, after hearing and after taking into consideration information from all sources concerning the adoption, may enter a final decree of adoption, or it may deny the adoption. The basic consideration shall be the best interests of the child.

Note: Requirements for convention adoptees are provided in articles 1285.1—1285.17.

Required Evidence/Documentation

Citation: Ch. Code Art. 1281.8; 1283.1

Prior to the initiation of any adoption under the provisions of this title, the attorney for the petitioners shall obtain a certified copy of the child's birth certificate and, if the certificate is not in English, a certified translation of the certificate. The certificate and translation shall be attached to the petition for adoption.

If a certified copy of the birth certificate and certified translation are not available, the court may make findings on the date, place of birth, and parentage of the adopted person in accordance with the provisions of Rev. Stat. § 40:79(C)(2).

The adoption petition shall be accompanied by the following documentation:

  • A certification for adoption
  • A certified copy of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services documentation of orphan status
  • A copy of the child's immigrant visa or permanent resident card
  • The original or a certified copy of a valid foreign custody decree, together with a notarized translation
  • The original or certified copy of a valid birth certificate, together with a notarized translation
  • An affidavit of fees and expenses

Background Studies

Citation: Ch. Code Art. 1281.5; 1283.5

No child who is the subject of an intercountry adoption shall be placed in the home of the prospective adoptive parents prior to their obtaining a certification for adoption that meets the requirements of articles 1171 through 1173 (regarding preplacement approval of adoptive homes in private adoptions) and prior to approval from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The department shall investigate the proposed adoption of the foreign orphan and submit a confidential report of its findings to the court. The findings shall include the following:

  • The conditions with respect to the availability of the child for adoption
  • The physical and mental condition of the child
  • Other factors regarding the suitability of the child for adoption in petitioner's home
  • The moral and financial fitness of the petitioner
  • The conditions of the proposed adoptive home with respect to health, adjustment, and other advantages or disadvantages to the child

The department may delegate the performance of this investigation to a licensed private adoption agency, but the department remains responsible for ensuring the accuracy and thoroughness of the resulting report and for the safety and welfare of the child.

Placement Supervision and Reporting

Citation: Ch. Code Art. 1283.1

After an interlocutory decree has been entered, the department shall maintain contact with the proposed adoptive home directly or through another agency. The number of visits to the home and the time for them shall be within the discretion of the department. However, no less than two visits shall be made to the home, one of which shall occur within 30 days before the final decree of adoption.

The department may delegate the performance of this investigation to a licensed private adoption agency, but the department remains responsible for ensuring the accuracy and thoroughness of the resulting report and for the safety and welfare of the child.

A second confidential report must be presented to the court preceding the hearing on the final decree of adoption. The findings of this report shall be based upon the same findings as prescribed in article 1283.5 and shall disclose any changed conditions and all new pertinent information.

Effect of Adoption Decree on Parental Rights

Citation: Ch. Code Art. 1283.15; 1240

The final decree of adoption shall have the same force and effect as any final decree of adoption rendered by a court of this State and automatically entitles the child to U.S. citizenship under the Intercountry Adoption Act.

Except as otherwise provided in this title, upon a final decree of private adoption, the parents of the child whose rights have not been previously terminated by a surrender or a judgment of termination and all other blood relatives of the child are relieved of all their legal duties and divested of all their legal rights with regard to the adopted child, including the right of inheritance from the adopted child and his or her lawful descendants. The adopted child is relieved of all his or legal duties and divested of all his or her legal rights with regard to the parents, except that the right of the child to inherit from his or her parents and other blood relatives is unaffected by the adoption.

Obtaining a U.S. Birth Certificate

Citation: Ch. Code Art. 1283.16; Rev. Stat. § 40:79(c)

The full name of the adopted child may be changed in the final decree of foreign orphan adoption, and, if changed, the surname shall be the same as that of the adoptive parent. In accordance with Rev. Stat. § 40:79, the clerk of court shall forward, on a form supplied by the department, the certificate of the decree to the State registrar. The State registrar shall make a new certificate of live birth of the person adopted in the new name, if the name has been changed in the decree.

A person born in a foreign country who is adopted in the State of Louisiana, but who is not a U.S. citizen, or who is a naturalized U.S. citizen, and a person born in a foreign country and adopted outside the United States by adoptive parents who are residents of the State of Louisiana at the time of the adoption, may obtain a new birth certificate according to the following conditions, limitations, and procedures:

  • When a certified copy of the original foreign birth certificate of the adopted person, and if the certificate is not in English a certified verbatim translation of the certificate are available, the State registrar, upon receipt of the certificate translation and a certified copy of the order or decree of adoption, shall prepare a birth certificate in the new name of the adopted person and shall seal and file the foreign certificate and order or decree of adoption.
  • When the certified copy of the original birth certificate of the adopted person and certified translation are not available, the court having jurisdiction of adoptions in the parish, upon evidence presented by the department from information secured at the port of entry or upon evidence from other reliable sources, may make findings on the date, place of birth, and parentage of the adopted person. Upon receipt of a certified copy of such findings of the court, together with a certified copy of the order or decree of adoption, the State registrar shall prepare a birth certificate in the new name of the adopted person and shall seal and file the certified copy of the findings of the court and the certified copy of the order or decree of adoption.
  • A birth certificate issued pursuant to the provisions of this section shall show specifically the true or probable country, island, or continent of birth. Except as provided in the following paragraph, the birth certificate shall be annotated with the provision 'not proof of U.S. citizenship.'
  • When a certified copy of a certificate of naturalization is received by the State registrar together with the documents required by this section, the date and number of the certificate of naturalization shall be included in the birth certificate, and the birth certificate shall be accepted by all State agencies as evidence of U.S. citizenship.