5 Steps on How to Legally Adopt a Child in Pennsylvania
March 29, 2022

If you’re thinking of adopting a child in Pennsylvania, then you might want to start by learning about the procedures and documents that you’ll need. There are certain elements that you should understand, including the steps to legally adopt a child in Pennsylvania.

How to Adopt a Child in Pennsylvania

1. You Need to Commit Yourself to Adoption to Grow Your Family

Many people are initially interested in adoption in PA, but they aren’t aware of the substantial investment of money and time that is often necessary to complete the process.

If you’re not certain about whether or not you want to adopt, don’t waste your time or the reliance of the birth mother, who could go through the adoption process with another family.

If you are aware of the emotional commitment and financial responsibility involved, it’s time to move forward and find an adoption agency or law firm that can help you through the process.

2. Choose the Right Pennsylvania Adoption Professional to Work With

When you’ve decided to adopt, you want to find a Central Pennsylvania adoption attorney or Pennsylvania adoption agency that’s reputable and has a good track record for adoption success.

Ask them about the kinds of adoption cases they’ve handled in the past and how many adoptions they’ve facilitated.

You’ll also want to make sure they have experience with the type of adoption you’re interested in. For example, if you’re interested in learning about international adoptions, you will want to find an adoption professional who has handled this type of adoption before.

3. Decide Which Type of Adoption You Want to Have

There are four main types of adoptions:

  • Surrogacy: This occurs when a woman agrees to bear a baby for someone. Also known as a gestational adoption, it involves the birth mother giving the baby to the adoptive parents after the baby is born.
  • Domestic: This is the process through which a child is adopted from a birth mother that lives in the same country in which you live. Commonly, people choose this type of adoption because it’s easier to maintain a relationship between the birth and adoptive parents.
  • International: This is the process in which a child is born in another country and then brought to the United States to be adopted. Sometimes, a child must be legally adopted in their country of birth and then adopted in the United States as well. International adoptions are expensive and time-consuming and are not always successful. However, the process is still growing in popularity in the United States.
  • Foster Care: Foster Care is intended to be temporary. It occurs when the state has taken over custody of a child. This typically happens after the child has been abused, neglected, or abandoned by the child’s parents.

The length of time in which a child stays in foster care can vary, depending on the age of the child, the location of the placement, and the type of foster home, among other things.

If attempts at reunification with the parents are unsuccessful, a child can be adopted out of foster care, sometimes by the foster parent. In Pennsylvania, foster care adoptions are handled by the County Child Protective Services Agency.

4. Start the Adoption Process as Adoptive Parents

The first thing the adoption professional will do is to take time to interview you, which is important so that they know if you’re ready and able to be an adoptive parent.

They’ll also ask you to fill out some documents and provide information about your background.

Most types of adoption in PA require a home study. A home study can take up to six months to complete. The adoption professional will conduct interviews to understand your living situation and how you will provide for and take care of the child.

5. Finalize Your Adoption Process

Once you agree to enter an adoption opportunity with the expectant mother, she will have at least 72 hours after giving birth to finally decide if she will give her full consent to the adoption of her baby. The birth mother will usually sign the consent form that authorizes you to adopt the child. You should then take the consent to an adoption lawyer and have them review it to make sure the adoption process is valid.

If you’re adopting outside of Pennsylvania, you’ll need to accomplish the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) to complete the adoption process.

Are You Ready to Adopt a Child in PA?

If you’re interested in adopting a child in Pennsylvania, you should know that the PA adoption process takes time and patience. The most important thing is to find the right adoption professional to work with to make sure that your adoption in PA goes as smoothly as possible.

If you need the assistance of an adoption attorney in Pennsylvania, contact Daley Zucker now.  Our team of family lawyers can help you through the process of adopting a child. Schedule an appointment today!

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