Public vs. Private
Adoption agencies can generally be broken down into two categories - public adoption agencies and private adoption agencies. Each category has advantages and disadvantages, so parents considering arranging an adoption through an agency in Pennsylvania should review their options carefully before deciding.
Prospective Adoptive Parents will generally find the process much easier if they retain the services of an experienced and knowledgeable family law attorney. Even though there is no requirement to retain legal counsel during the adoption process, working with an attorney experienced with adoption proceedings can be priceless as the process and hearings often become legally complex.
Private Adoption Agencies
Choosing to arrange an adoption through a Pennsylvania private adoption agency has the benefit of access to extensive counseling for adoptive parents, children, and even the biological parents of the adopted child. Counseling can not only help to smooth the transition to a new family, but it can also serve to protect the adoption down the road. Studies have found that biological parents who have not received counseling have a higher probability of changing their minds when it comes time for the adoption to be completed. This can be a heartbreaking process.
However, prospective adoptive parents should be aware the private adoption agencies can be very selective when it comes to the adoptive parents they will work with. Because there are so many parents interested in adopting and relatively few pregnant women and infants looking for adoptive parents, private agencies can be more discerning with their choice of clients. Screening factors can include: age, marital status, income, health, religion, sexual orientation, personal history and family size.
Public Adoption Agencies
Public agencies offer more of a variety when it comes to the children that need to be adopted. Many children in need of adoption in public agencies are older, having spent time in group homes or foster families. Because public agencies have a greater number of children in need of adoption they are typically less selective and have less stringent requirements for prospective adoptive parents.
However, public agencies have drastically fewer resources than private agencies. Accordingly, few public agencies offer other services, like counseling. But with fewer services, public agencies typically charge significantly less than private adoption agencies and, in some cases, adopting through a public agency may be free.
Waiting Period and Agency Adoptions
Adoptions don't happen overnight and depending on the agency a couple chooses to use a waiting period may be required before a child can be placed in the home of his or her new adoptive parents. The purpose of the waiting period is usually to ensure that all the necessary consents have been signed and other formalities have been taken care of. However, as a practical matter, often times a child is permitted to be placed in the home during this waiting period with the understanding that if the birth mother decides not to give her consent, the child will removed. Accordingly, adoptive parents bear the significant risk associated with these called "Legal Risk Placements."
Finding the Right Adoption Agency
Parents considering adoption in Pennsylvania often don't know where to start when it comes to finding the right agency. There is a lot of information available on the internet, but adoptive parents should be cautious as not all adoption agencies are reputable. In general, a good place to start is the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare website where a directory of licensed adoption agencies can be found.
If you have found an agency that you think might work for you, be sure to check their reputation as well as accreditation. Our law firm has relationships with many Western Pennsylvania Adoption Agencies and can provide guidance and answer questions about various options for adoptive parents.
Contact Our Allegheny County Adoption Agency Attorneys Today
Contact our Pittsburgh adoption lawyers to speak with one of our experienced Allegheny County adoption lawyers and learn how we can help you build your family through adoption. You may also telephone our PA adoption law firm in Pittsburgh at 412-281-9906, Southpointe (Canonsburg, Washington County) at 724-436-5500, Cranberry Township (Butler County, PA) at 724-776-9906 or toll-free at 1-855-VARI-LAW (1-855-827-4529). Our Pittsburgh and Southpointe law offices are open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. and evenings by appointment. Our Cranberry Township office is open by appointment only. We're different from many other Pittsburgh adoption lawyers, click here to learn why.
Appointments may also be available in other meeting locations throughout Western Pennsylvania upon advance arrangements with our office. Ask the secretary scheduling your appointment for details including appointment locations.
Our Western PA family law office routinely accepts adoption cases in Allegheny County, Beaver County, Butler County, Lawrence County, Mercer County, Washington County, and Westmoreland County. Our Pittsburgh adoption attorneys accept adoption cases in other Western PA counties such as Armstrong County, Erie County, Fayette County, Greene County, Somerset County and Venango County on a case-by-case basis.