In 1977, Louisiana ended adoptees' right to obtain upon demand a court order opening their birth records. The state thereafter required that there be "compelling reasons" and that the records be opened "only to the extent necessary to satisfy such compelling necessity."

Rejecting adoptees' constitutional challenges to sealed records, some courts suggested, to the contrary, that the states' important interest in protecting the privacy of birth parents might itself be "compelling" in constitutional terms. Even in a state in which birth records had been available to adult adoptees until two years earlier, the Louisiana Supreme Court stressed in 1979 that the court, rather than the adoptee, should undertake inquiries concerning whether he had a right to inherit from "blood relatives" because, among other reasons, it could be that the birth parents were "assured of permanent anonymity" and "that either or both may have a right to personal privacy which includes a right to remain anonymous." Courts also articulated related societal concerns that granting access to identifying information to adult adoptees could somehow reduce the availability of adoptive families or drive birth parents either to keep their children or resort to abandonment or black market transactions, in situations in which the best interest of the children would be served by lawful adoption proceedings. A dissenter in the Louisiana case, however, did observe that "for several decades an adoptive child has had the right to learn his parentage (before the recent 1977 amendments to the statute), without noticeable effect on inhibiting adoptions." "It might be argued," the justice added, "that the social values involved in protecting the anonymity of the blood parents are adequately served by preserving their identity for the first twenty years of their child's life."

Excerpts from "THE IDEA OF ADOPTION: AN INQUIRY INTO THE HISTORY OF ADULT ADOPTEE
ACCESS TO BIRTH RECORDS" by Elizabeth J. Samuels
.

Copyright © 2001 by Rutgers University

Louisiana Law

Art. 1189.  Grounds for disclosure

The petition for disclosure must show compelling necessity overriding the general policy of confidentiality for adoption records by demonstrating any of the following:

(1)  That there are inheritance rights which are or may be due from his biological parents under Civil Code Article 214.

(2)  By proof that there is a medical necessity requiring information about his biological family or his own pre-adoption health history in order to treat the petitioner or his descendants.

(3)  By proof that both he and a person reasonably believed to be his biological parent or biological sibling have registered with the department pursuant to Chapter 15 of this Title.

(4)  That such information is otherwise required to be disclosed by federal or state law.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1997, No. 715, §1.

Art. 1190.  Authority of the court

A.  Upon reviewing a petition for disclosure on grounds of either inheritance rights or medical necessity, the court may deny it for lack of a proper showing of compelling necessity.  Before granting a petition, the court may appoint a curator ad hoc and shall set the petition for a hearing.

B.  Written notice of the date, time, and place of any disclosure proceedings shall be served and a return made in the same manner as a petition on any custodian of records sought to be disclosed at least fifteen days prior to the hearing.

C.  A petition seeking information to verify a match of voluntary registration pursuant to Chapter 15 of this Title or other information required by law to be disclosed shall be granted.  The court may appoint a curator ad hoc to open and review the adoption record and original birth certificate.  The curator shall report back to the court with his findings within thirty days of the date of his acceptance of his appointments.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §12, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1992, No. 705, §1, eff. July 6, 1992; Acts 2003, No. 812, §1.

http://www.legis.state.la.us/lss/lss.asp?doc=72661
Updated  5/07

Art. 1127.  Request for disclosure of nonidentifying medical records or genetic information

A.  Any child surrendered to an agency or a surrendering biological parent, may, upon written request to an agency, obtain nonidentifying medical or genetic information from the agency without the necessity of filing a petition for disclosure from the agency as required by the provisions of Chapter 5 of Title XII of this Code.

B.  Upon such a written request, the agency shall make a good faith effort to review and abstract nonidentifying genetic or medical information, similar in content to the Statement of Family History.

C.  Such nonidentifying medical or genetic information shall be made available for a reasonable charge.

D.  For the purposes of this Article, an "agency" shall include an agency or institution that is no longer licensed by the state for the placement of children for adoption, but was licensed by the state to perform such service at the time the child was surrendered to the agency or institution.

Acts 1991, No. 235, §11, eff. Jan. 1, 1992; Acts 1992, No. 705, §1, eff. July 6, 1992; Acts 1995, No. 1108, §1; Acts 1999, No. 884, §1; Acts 1999, No. 1062, §3, eff. Jan. 1, 2000.

http://www.legis.state.la.us/lss/lss.asp?doc=72612
7/08

 

2008 LA Regular Session proposed changes to adoption law. Please read more about it here!!!