Expanding your family through adoption is an exciting and rewarding milestone. There are many important considerations as you seek to legally adopt a child into your home. The process can be challenging and overwhelming at times, but resources are available to help you navigate the Pennsylvania legal system.
We offer confident, strong representation for families in Stroudsburg, Palmerton and Bethlehem who wish to adopt a child. We can help you understand all available options and your rights and responsibilities as an adoptive parent.
This is true whether you are engaged in a private adoption or are seeking to legally adopt a stepchild or grandchild. We respect the uncertainty that can surround such a significant decision. We have provided information below to help you better understand state adoption laws and practices.
The Qualifications for Adoption in Pennsylvania
The qualifications and procedures for adoption vary with the type of adoption taking place and the circumstances of the child and his or her birth parents. Note that in some adoption situations, you may be required to secure the services of an attorney.
Generally speaking, adoption falls under one or more of the following categories:
- Private adoption – This may include a formal “independent” arrangement between you and the birth parents. Family adoptions, such as a stepparent or grandparent adoption, also fall under this category.
- Agency adoption – This may include placement through an adoption agency.
- Interstate adoption – You must comply with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children if you wish to adopt a child residing outside of Pennsylvania. A child cannot be relocated to another state without first gaining approval from the birth parent’s state.
- International adoption – This includes any adoption in which the adoptive child was born in and/or lives in a country other than the United States. In these cases, you must meet agency and federal requirements, as well as securing U.S. citizenship for your child.
A family law attorney can help you to understand the special concerns and considerations with each type of adoption, as well as what is required from you as you move forward in the process. This includes helping you stay in compliance with all federal and state laws, such Pennsylvania’s adoption statute (as outlined in Title 23: Domestic Relations, Part III, chapters 21-29).
Determining What is Best for You, Your Family and Your Child
There are a number of important considerations throughout the course of an adoption these include, but are not limited to:
- termination of parental rights (including steps to ensure protection of your family’s long-term interests);
- preparing for required home studies;
- securing familial and health history of the adoptive child;
- age of the birth mother (notice must be given to a birth parent’s parent when the birth parent is 17 years or younger); and
- much more.
A family law attorney can provide informed, legal guidance from the pre-placement period to the finalization of the adoption.
Help for Families Who Wish to Adopt
Learn more about your options today by scheduling a confidential case consultation with our family law attorneys located in Bethlehem, Palmerton and Stroudsburg. Call us today at 570-257-4509 or simply fill out our contact form.