Louisiana adoption records are now easier to obtain. In 2022, the state passed a law to give any Louisiana-born person over the age of 24 who was adopted the right to obtain their original birth certificate. This means those individuals who seek these records have access to the identities of their birth parents. If you have ever searched “birth records Louisiana,” you may be interested in this legal change.
What the New Law Means
Louisiana lawmakers approved a bill – HB450 – to allow adoptees to obtain uncertified copies of their original birth certificates from the state once they reach age 24. Before this law, birth records were sealed indefinitely alongside other adoption documentation, unless an adoptee filed a court petition and could give a compelling reason to open it. Unsealing the records often cost adoptees thousands of dollars for an attorney who specialized in adoption law in Louisiana.
Upon passing, the law meant more than 600 Louisiana-born adoptees had the right to learn the names of their birth parents.
History of Adoption Records in Louisiana
Before this new law was passed, a 1977 Louisiana law sealed all records of closed adoptions. When an adoption is finalized, the state produces another birth certificate listing the adoptive parents as the person’s parents. The original birth certificate is placed under seal as if it does not exist.
The 1977 law was made to protect adoptive families from the stigma of adoption. Adoption has come a long way since the 1970s. Most adoptions today are open, and it is more common to see positive examples of adoption in the media.
Over the past several years, genealogy services, such as Ancestry.com and 23andMe.com, have grown in popularity. With the help of these sites – which use DNA testing and internet research – many people can uncover their birth parents’ identities.
House Bill 450 sparked fierce debate among adoptees and others with interest in the adoption world. Many anti-abortion groups opposed the legislation, arguing that it could discourage women from placing their babies for adoption out of fear that they may be tracked down years later.
The bill’s sponsor, however, Rep. Charles Owen (R), refuted those claims. He has a personal connection to adoption, having been adopted as a baby himself. As he explained, he has never had any real interest in contacting his birth parents. In his experience, it was the other way around. His birth mother reached out to him for a reunion when he was 35 years old.
As Rep. Owen stated, adoptees are not intruding on the lives of their birth parents. They simply want to know their own history.
The Benefit of Open Adoption
Thanks to this new law in Louisiana, adoptees have access to learning about their family history. Understanding one’s history has a profound impact on a person’s life and sense of identity. Studies show that adoptees in open adoptions are happy with their situation. When a child grows up knowing they were adopted and that their birth parent made the selfless and loving choice to place them for adoption, they feel loved. They grow up knowing their birth parent made the difficult decision to ensure a life full of safety, stability, and opportunity. They grow up knowing they are loved by two families, not just one.
There are many benefits of open adoption for birth parents and adoptive parents, as well. Birth parents can rest assured that their child will not disappear from their lives forever. They will have an ongoing relationship with their child’s adoptive family. They can feel free to pursue their personal and professional goals, while staying connected with their child’s adoptive family and knowing their child is in good hands. At a full-service, private adoption agency like Adoptions With Love, birth parents have the power to choose the adoptive family for their child. They can also determine the form and frequency of ongoing communication. Whether a birth mother wants to email, text, or speak on the phone – this can all be worked out with the help of a reputable and experienced adoption agency.
Adoptive parents benefit from open adoption because it gives them open, ongoing access to vital information. Medical records can help a family make informed decisions regarding their child’s health. Family background can help guide an adoptive family when sharing age-appropriate information with the child. When a family adopts a child of a different race or ethnicity, the ongoing contact with the birth parent(s) can help offer insight into cultural differences. The birth parent(s) can also help assist the adoptive family in passing down cultural traditions.
Learn More About Open Adoption
Adoption in Louisiana is evolving. The change to Louisiana adoption records is a sign of progress for everyone in the adoption community. If you would like to learn more about adoption in Louisiana, reach out to Adoptions With Love today. We can help guide you through this life-changing journey. Call 800-722-7731 or contact us online.