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ADOPTION IN
Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania

Domestic Infant Adoptions can be completed through an adoption agency or adoption attorney. Click here for a directory of adoption service providers in Pennsylvania.

International Adoptions must be completed through an adoption agency or adoption attorney. Find an international adoption service provider here.

Foster Care Adoptions in Pennsylvania can be completed through the Department of Human Services.

Gallery of children waiting to be adopted.

Join the Pennsylvania adoption group in our community!
The information contained on this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice. Always seek the advice of a licensed and qualified professional. While the content of this website is frequently updated, information changes rapidly and therefore, some information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies, omissions or typographical errors.

Pennsylvania Adoption

Adoption Pennsylvania

By: Mallory Sechler

 

Are you faced with creating a plan for your unborn child? Unsure of what decision is the best for you and your family? It is likely you feel in the need of support and specific answers to your questions to help you make informed decisions. We want you to know we are here for you and have the answers you seek about adoption PA.

When making a plan for the future of your child, there are many options you may have already considered. You want the absolute best for your child and naturally, you want to do all you can to ensure the decision that is best for them. We see you and we stand with you as you navigate the heavy waters of choosing the perfect plan for your family.

If you are finding yourself on this page, adoption may be a plan you have considered. It is a plan many expectant families have chosen after thoughtful consideration, and we hope that you feel educated and supported in any decision you make. We are a community of adoption professionals, birth families, adoptive families, and adoptees that want the best for you and your child and want you to feel as loved and educated as possible in your decision-making process.

Considering adoption is an incredibly selfless choice that proves your dedication to the well-being of your child. It is not a decision that could ever be decided lightly and we understand the gravity of this process for you and your family. There are several significant options to weigh, but throughout the entire process, the most important thing to remember is that you are ultimately in control of the choices you make for yourself and your child.

Considering adoption in PA?

Adoption laws vary from state to state and can look very different, depending on where you live. If you are considering an adoption in the state of Pennsylvania, we have compiled a list of laws and regulations that can help you make an adoption decision. These are simply a highlight of the laws and procedures, and we strongly encourage you to find an agency or an adoption attorney in your area to help you learn more detailed information on creating an adoption plan that is centered around your needs.

1. Expectant mothers are given 72 hours after giving birth before making their final decision to sign consent.

These 72 hours belong to only you and your child. This is your uninterrupted time to bond with your child and decide on the perfect plan for your family. Just 72 hours seems like it could never be enough time to make this decision, but parents often find they can obtain enough information and experience in this time-frame to make an informed decision.

2. Expectant fathers can sign consent to the adoption before the child is born.

If an expectant father has already decided to pursue an adoption plan for his unborn child, he can sign consent at any point before the birth of the child.

3. Birth mothers have 30 days after consent is signed to void their signed consent and choose to parent their child.

Many states have an irrevocable law that states birth mothers cannot change their minds after consent is signed, but adoption PA law makes it possible for birth mothers to change their plan up to 30 days after they have signed consent. This allows your previously signed consent to be voided, giving you the option to parent your child.

4. Both open and closed adoption plans are supported.

Choosing an open or closed adoption is a choice that belongs to expectant families and most adoptive parents are very open to their wishes. The needs and desires for every family are different but it is oftentimes helpful to read the stories from other birth mothers to help you make an informed decision.

What is open adoption?

Open adoption means that the birth families and adoptive families remain in contact throughout the life of the adopted child. That contact looks different for many families, but it can come in the form of pictures being exchanged, all the way to face-to-face interactions multiple times throughout the life of your child. This contact is mutually decided between the birth and adoptive families, and there are no legally established rules as to how an open adoption is conducted.

What is a closed adoption?

A closed adoption means that there is no communication between the birth families and adoptive families. In many cases, a closed adoption means there is no information of any kind exchanged between either family.

The majority of adoptions today happen to be open adoptions, but this is again a choice that belongs to you and one that you can choose to best fit your needs and wishes as you explore the entire process.

5. The adoption process is 100% free for expectant families.

Carrying the burden of legal fees is not something an expectant family is expected or responsible to cover. Fees and expenses are not something you should have to worry about, and in the state of Pennsylvania, they are not something you would be responsible for.

6. Counseling and support are also free for expectant families.

Participating in a counseling program is something expectant mothers and fathers have free access to help you make the most informed and well-thought-out decisions possible. It is something we highly encourage you to participate in, as creating an adoption plan is not something you should have to decide or navigate alone. You can also join the conversation over on our forum to receive support and join in a community with other expectant families, birth families, adoptive families, adoptees, and adoption professionals.

Be sure to check out the free pregnancy support and counseling available to you to help you make the right decision for you. We know that any choice you make can feel difficult and we want you to feel as comfortable as possible with the plan you choose. Counseling and support can be personalized and tailored specifically to your needs, allowing you to feel as confident as possible in your decisions.

Creating an adoption plan

While adoption law varies from state to state, there are some areas of adoption that are universal to any adoption plan, regardless of where you live. When deciding to create an adoption plan for your child, it is so important that you feel educated, supported, and empowered to make your decision with care and confidence. All of the options to consider can be overwhelming, and we hope we can serve as your community of love and support as you create the best plan for your family.

Choosing adoption is not something you should ever have to decide alone. If you have family or friends that support your consideration of adoption, reach out to them. Share your plans with them and ask them for their support. It is true that it, “takes a village,” with so many things in our lives, and making an adoption plan is certainly one of them. If you do not have a support system in your life, we have an incredible community here at adoption.com and we hope you take advantage of our many resources for expectant families.

One of the most important decisions you will make in an adoption plan is choosing a family for your child. How do you choose the perfect family? What steps do you have to take to find a hopeful adoptive family? How do you possibly make such a huge decision? We know that it can never be an easy decision, but we have outlined a few steps you can take to help you make the best choice possible. For more information on families hoping to adopt, you can view their parent profiles to learn more about their hearts and hopes to adopt.

As with any decision in life, it is so important to do your research. We hope this article has served as a starting point for choosing an adoption plan in the state of Pennsylvania, but you will want to do all you can to learn more about the laws in your state. As we have said, adoption laws do vary from state to state and can be very different across state borders. Be sure to research post-placement contact agreements and allowable expenses to stay informed on these important moving parts of adoption.

What is a post-placement contact agreement?

Post-Adoption Contract Agreements, often referred to as, “PACAs,” are an agreement for post-adoption contact between the birth family members, the adopted child, and the adoptive parents. This agreement must be approved by the court to be enforced, and for your security, it is something you can outline in your adoption plan. Modifications can be made to the agreement when permitted parties return to court to make any necessary changes that may have been forgotten or need to be modified as the adoption plan progresses to meet the needs of each party included.  Knowing the specific laws to a PA post-placement contact agreement is something an adoption professional in your area will be able to help you with as you navigate the adoption process.

We know this entire process is something that feels incredibly overwhelming. It is not something that you are taking lightly and it is a decision that takes a great deal of time, research, and consideration. We know that the decisions you are facing will never be easy to make.

As you continue to create a plan for your child, we hope you will reference this blog to help you find the proper resources and information to help you feel educated, empowered, and informed.

Pregnancy Wiki is an additional resource for you to learn about pregnancy, lifestyle changes, adoption, labor and delivery, postpartum care, and parenting. Your health and wellness is the most important thing throughout this process, and Pregnancy Wiki is a great space for you to feel equipped for all areas of pregnancy and beyond.

As an adoptive mother, it has been my privilege to walk alongside my daughter’s birth family as we work together to create the best life possible for her. I am incredibly grateful for the resources available for her birth mother as she created an adoption plan for her daughter. While this process can feel incredibly difficult to navigate, I pray that you feel loved and supported by all areas of the adoption community and adoption triad. You are strong, you are brave, you are bold, and you are doing everything necessary to make sure your child has the best life possible, regardless of whether or not the plan you choose includes adoption.  Never forget that the power to decide is in your hands and there are many resources available to you no matter your decisions.

We are here for you. We are cheering for you. We are believing you will make the best decision for your child. And we support any decision you make! Be sure to take advantage of our many resources, regardless of your home state, to help you feel as empowered as possible.

Our team of adoption professionals is here for you to answer your questions, help you find agencies, attorneys, and connect you with many other services that will help you make an informed decision when it comes to creating an adoption plan and beyond. You can search adoption providers by state and find more information on Pennsylvania adoption law here.

As I tell my daughter each night, you are strong, you are brave, you are smart, you are kind, you are beautiful, and you are loved. Know these truths as you make the best decisions for your family and visit us here often anytime you need love, encouragement, and support!


Photolisting See All

 

Can I Adopt in Pennsylvania?

Parents must be at least 21 years old to adopt or foster. You can be single, married, or divorced. You can own or rent a home. You will have to attend 24 hours of parent preparation classes. All members of the household 18 and older will need to submit to background checks. Current physicals will need to be obtained from a doctor. The home will have to pass a safety check. Applicants will need to submit character references, as well a complete an adoption home study.

 

What Adoption Regulations Exist in Pennsylvania?

Advertising: A person or agency acting between parents and adoptive parents to place a child can only do so if a favorable home study has been completed by the adoptive parents. Intermediaries can only receive compensation for services in connection with reimbursement of hospital expenses, counseling, medical, legal, and agency related expenses. § 2102; 2530; 2533

 

Relinquishment: Birth parents must wait at least 72 hours after birth to consent to an adoption. Putative fathers may give consent at any time. Consent executed by a birth father becomes irrevocable 30 days after birth, or 30 days after consent, whichever occurs later. Consent executed by the birth mother becomes irrevocable more than 30 days after consent. Individuals who consent to an adoption may challenge the validity of the consent on the grounds that consent came under fraud or duress: 60 days after consent is given or after the birth of the child, whichever occurs later; 30 days after the final adoption decree. § 2711

 

Birth parent expenses: Adoptive parents may reimburse birth parents through a third party for the following expenses: birth related medical and hospital expenses; medical, hospital, and foster expenses prior to the decree of adoption. § 2533(d)

 

Post adoption contact agreements: Contact agreements become legally enforceable only when approved by the courts. § 2734(b); 2738; 2736

 

Birth father rights: Unmarried fathers may file with the Department of Public Welfare an acknowledgement of paternity with consent of the birth mother. If the birth mother refuses to consent, the Department of Public Welfare create a claim to paternity, and the birth father has no rights to the child other than receiving notice of adoption proceedings. § 5103  

Finalization: The average time between TPR and adoption finalization in 2014 was 9.2 months.

Review Pennsylvania adoption laws in detail.

 

Is Adoption Assistance Available in Pennsylvania?

Many of the children waiting to be adopted in Pennsylvania have special needs. Federal (Title IV-E) and state (non-IV-E) programs exist to help adoptive parents meet their child’s needs. In Pennsylvania, the maximum amount cannot exceed the foster care maintenance amount, which is determined by county and the needs of the child. For more information on adoption assistance please visit NACAC.org.

 

Can I adopt a Child from another country?

It is always possible to adopt a child from another country, even if you live in the United States. Children under 18 adopted from a Hague Convention country entering the U.S. with an IH-3 visa may automatically receive U.S. citizenship.

 

Children adopted from a non convention country must qualify as orphans before receiving U.S. citizenship. When U.S. citizens finalize an adoption abroad, they must apply to the USCIS for an IR-3 visa for the child. An IR-3 visa classifies the child as an immigrant and may provide the child with citizenship upon arrival in the States.

Readoption after a foreign adoption decree is an option in Pennsylvania, but not a requirement. Parents wishing to receive a State birth certificate for their adopted child must submit either a readoption or recognition of foreign adoption decree.

 

State Contacts

 

Gallery of children waiting to be adopted: https://adoption.com/photolisting?page=1&search_type=state&range=42

 

State subsidy contact person:

TaWonda Jones-Williams

Division of Fiscal Policy

Bureau of Budget & Fiscal Support

Office of Children, Youth & Families

Department of Public Welfare

Annex, Health & Welfare Bldg.

P. O. Box 2675

Harrisburg, PA 17105

Phone: 717-787-5199

Fax: 717-705-0364

Email: TJONESWILL@state.pa.us

http://www.dhs.pa.gov/

 

Summary

Adoptions in PA can be completed through the Department of Human Services.

 

Parents must be at least 21 years old to adopt. You can own or rent. You can be single, married, or divorced. Applicants will need to complete 24 hours of parenting classes.

A person or agency acting between parents and adoptive parents to place a child may only do so if a favorable home study has been completed. Birth parents must wait 72 hours to consent to an adoption. Individuals may challenge the validity of the consent on the grounds of fraud or duress up until 30 days after the final adoption decree.

 

Adoptive parents may reimburse birth mothers through a third party for birth related hospital, medical, and foster expenses up until the adoption decree.

A paternity registry does exist in PA for unmarried fathers, and contact agreements are legally enforceable when approved by the court.

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