What Are the Requirements for Adopting a Child in Pennsylvania?

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s laws around adoption are relatively flexible: both children and certain adults can be adopted, and adopters can be married or unmarried — even minors are able to adopt in certain situations, such as when the adoptee is their child or younger sibling. Despite the fact that the laws are less challenging then is true of other states, there are still rules and requirements that have been put in place. Pennsylvania’s laws around adoption are there to ensure that the rights and well-being of children who are being adopted receive the proper attention, so if you are considering adopting a child in Pennsylvania, you need to be prepared for significant scrutiny.

Here are some of the things you need to know:

  • Under Pennsylvania law, any adult of child aged 12 or older must give their consent to being adopted, and a child’s birth parents must also give consent unless the child has been removed from their home and made available for adoption.
  • People who are considering adopting in Pennsylvania do not need to be residents of the state. However, the courts or the adoption agency that you are working with may require that you live in the state during a temporary placement before they give final approval of an adoption.
  • Pennsylvania allows both open adoptions and closed adoptions. An open adoption is one in which the birth parents agree that the child that they are giving up has the right to contact them at some point in the future. These adoptions frequently entail specific agreements regarding when and how contact can take place and may include prohibitions against the child contacting the birth parent before they have reached a certain age or how the child is permitted to contact the birth parent. Birth parents are also permitted to withhold consent for contact: this is referred to as a closed adoption. When a closed adoption is the preference of the birth parents, they frequently provide genetic information and medical histories in order to make sure that both the child and the new parent have all of the information they need to make informed medical decisions in the future.

If you are considering adopting a child in Pennsylvania, you have many options. There are numerous agencies that you can adopt through or you may prefer a private adoption. No matter how you plan on pursuing enlarging your family, you need to work with an experienced attorney who has the knowledge you need to ensure that everything is done properly. Contact us today to ensure that you are protected.