When Dylan David and his wife Kristine entered the largely unregulated world of adoption, they lost their money, lost the child to a higher bidder, and had no legal recourse.
The Baton Rouge couple had agreed to pay $ 2,500 in expenses to an expectant mother who would allow them to adopt her child. The mother kept asking for more money, and then they found out that she had also raised $ 12,000 from another couple, David said. Law enforcement told the couple that the mother did not break any laws, mainly because the existing laws covering this situation were so vague.
“We had a failed adoption,” David said on Monday after flying from the offshore oil rig where he works to attend a State Capitol rally celebrating a new law he and his wife have. helped to get adopted.
“It certainly takes away the fear that what happened to us will happen again,” David said. They plan to try the adoption again once Act 562 comes into effect on August 1.
The new law limits adoption fees to $ 7,500, details the type of paperwork needed and makes lying about prenatal expenses a felony punishable by a fine of up to $ 50,000 and up to 10 years in prison.
Anti-abortion advocates pushed the new law as part of a package to make adoption an easier alternative to medical termination of pregnancy.
“The existing law was ambiguous,” said Republican state representative Rick Edmonds, pastor of Baton Rouge and former executive of the Louisiana Family Forum, a conservative faith group that lobbies on social issues.
“I call it the ‘Adoption Protection’ law. It provides a framework so that adoption isn’t so confusing, ”Edmonds said.
The new law replaces the word “reasonable” with “real” when listing the types of expenses that a expectant mother can expect future parents to pay. In addition to the medical and legal costs leading to what is called an “authentic act of voluntary surrender” that were included in the current law, the new law includes expenses such as temporary accommodation, maternity clothes and clothing. personal hygiene products. The law specifically excludes living expenses such as vehicles and leisure activities.
“Now you have a list of specific expenses, specific costs. The Children’s Code absorbs everything and the lawyers and agencies and others who work on adoptions – and expectant parents – know precisely what is required and how much it should cost, ”Edmonds said.
No lawmaker voted against the bill and Governor John Bel Edwards signed it into law last week.
The rally at Memorial Hall also celebrated a second adoption bill in the package advocated by anti-abortion groups including the Louisiana Family Forum, the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops and Louisiana Right to Life.
The “Adoption Option Act” aims to publish a website that would provide pregnant women and parents who wish to adopt a comprehensive list of government agencies and private organizations that can facilitate adoptions.
Current law requires the Louisiana Department of Health to publish alternatives to abortion. Although the website has information on adoptions, it is presented from the perspective of parents seeking a child for adoption, with very little guidance for a pregnant woman seeking adoption, supporters of the news said. law.
Pregnant women who are considering an abortion will receive detailed information on how to give birth and get the child up for adoption under the Legislation.
Act 319, which comes into effect on August 1, requires the Department of Children and Family Services to maintain a website, linked to the LDH website, that has more information on adoptions as well as the first steps easily understandable to help pregnant women looking for this alternative to abortion.
A working group would be formed to develop education initiatives and disseminate information on adoptions.
Louisiana Right to Life pushed the legislation after a Hollywood documentary that premiered at the Governor’s Mansion last month.
What started as a Jesuit oratory competition five years ago has turned into a documentary, presented by Hollywood, which will be pre …
“I lived on Parker Avenue” followed David Scotton, a LSU law student, from his Metairie home in Indiana to meet the woman who gave birth to him and put him up for adoption in 1993. She was at an Indianapolis abortion clinic with the doctor ready to perform the procedure when she changed her mind. At home, wondering what to do, friends and family of the birth mother told her about a law firm that deals with adoptions.
“I had drafted a bill before and then this documentary came along and it blended in perfectly with my efforts,” Edmonds said.
No lawmaker voted against House Bill 449 and Edwards proclaimed it into law on May 15.
Follow Mark Ballard on Twitter, @MarkBallardCnb.