Adoption Law New Changes

Legal Insight

What’s new on the adoption front

Local attorney Noel E. Vargas Jr. has been a part of
over 1,000 adoption placements and has assisted members of the Louisiana
Legislature in the composition and passage of several adoption
statutes. A member and fellow of the American Academy of Adoption
Attorneys, he currently is executive counsel for A.B.L. Adoptions
Louisiana. In 2007, he was presented the Angels in Adoption Award by the
U.S. Congress. Vargas discussed with us what’s new in international
adoptions, adoption law, and how social media has changed the adoption

International adoption

A few years ago, The U.S. signed the Hague Adoption Convention, an
international agreement followed by most of the civilized world designed
to safeguard children’s rights in intercountry adoptions. Vargas says
that now international adoptions have become very complicated with
massive amounts of paperwork; he refers interested clients to a
Hague-accredited associate through the American Academy of Adoption
Attorneys. Vargas has other concerns about international adoptions.

“When you go internationally, you don’t know
what you’re getting as far as the background and medicals of a child.
That’s especially true in the Eastern Bloc. And bureauocracy is another
detriment. In countries like Guatemala they’re like, oh, well, we don’t
want any more children to go out now, so they’ll suddenly just shut it

 Changes in adoption law

Vargas tells of one “rather significant” change that a lot of judges and
lawyers don’t know about: a post-placement agreement. This has been
used in foster care adoptions with older children, but Vargas says now
you can have a post-placement agreement for any adoption. He says that
both parties have to agree to it and it has to be approved by a judge.

The social network

The most significant change in adoptions has occurred over the past year
and a half, says Vargas, is Facebook. “It’s changed the entire
landscape. More reunions are being made. If birthmothers and adoptive
parents want to stay in touch, get a page. It’s right there. When we get
profiles of adoptive couples for birthmoms, boom, they’re right there.”

 Adoption and assisted reproduction technology

Assisted reproduction has become part of the adoption landscape. When a
surrogate carrying a couple’s biological child delivers that child,she
is considered by the State of Louisiana to be the biological mother. “In
order for you to have legal rights to your biological child, you have
to adopt,” says Vargas. “Our technology laws have not caught up, and I
don’t think they will for a very long time because we’re a conservative
state. As a matter of fact, there’s a statute that makes surrogacy
contracts illegal. If you enter a contract with a third party regarding a
surrogacy agreement, that contract is uninforecable and if you pay any
money, you’re throwing money over the Mississippi bridge.”

Adoption Resources

Adoption Services of Catholic Charities

Adoption Services (searchable website)

American Adoptions

International Adoptions/The Hague:

National Council for Adoption:


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