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Louisiana law prevents illegal 're-homing' of adopted children

Adoption can be a fulfilling experience, but a percentage of Louisiana adoptions don't work out. Adoptions can be disrupted or dissolved. According to adoption.com, a disruption occurs when adoptive parents decide they no longer want the legal process to continue, while dissolution describes a change of heart about parenthood after an adoption has been finalized.

Studies have shown the largest percentage of disruptions occur when people adopt children with special needs or who are 12 and older. Across-the-board rates of adoption disruption and dissolution range from 10 to 20 percent. Children in these unfortunate situations may be returned to foster care or placed with other adoptive parents.

In some cases, adoptive parents hoping to "re-home" a child have sought help online. Last year, Reuters uncovered a disturbing trend. Parents have been placing adoption ads to search for new families for unwanted children and joining groups that apparently make that human transfer possible.

Until recently, Louisiana did not have a law that prohibited the practice of child custody transfers without court involvement. The governor recently signed legislation making it illegal for anyone in the state to "re-home" a child to someone other than a family member, without court approval. Violators may be fined $5,000 and imprisoned for as long as five years.

Reuters learned some parents were willing to send their adopted children to virtual strangers. One re-homing website, eventually removed from Yahoo, posted re-homing requests about once a week, every week for five years. The overwhelming majority of posts involved children from overseas adoptions.

Private custody transfers are no longer legal in Louisiana and only a few other states. Instead of or in addition to these laws, some states outlaw unauthorized adoption advertising.

People interested in adoption may idealize the experience. A family law attorney can help individuals achieve the dream of becoming parents, while keeping the legal process grounded in reality.

Source: KFGO, "Louisiana curbs private custody transfers of children" Jonathan Kaminsky, Jun. 20, 2014

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