Types of Adoption in Pennsylvania
Each family is different and depending on the needs of the adoptive families, birth parents, and children, parties to an adoption have several options to choose from. Adoptions may be accomplished through an agency or independently, and children can be adopted locally or internationally. Follow the link to learn more about each type of adoption.
Agency Adoptions in Pennsylvania : Pennsylvania Adoption Agencies are experienced in matching children and families and are often familiar with the various legal matters involved with adoption. Agencies can help prospective adoptive parents with a variety of services from finding the right biological parents to performing home studies, which are required for most Pennsylvania adoptions.
Independent Adoptions in Pennsylvania: As the name would suggest, independent adoptions are arranged directly between birth parents and adoptive parents with no intermediary agency or matching process. Independent adoptions have the advantage of the comfort and security that comes with a close personal relationship between the birth parents and adoptive parents; however, those pursuing independent adoptions often experience risks and bear additional burdens not typically associated with agency adoptions.
Open Adoptions in Pennsylvania: As the name suggests, the open adoption process allows the adoptive parents to meet and usually stay in touch with the birth parents. Although families have enjoyed “open adoption” arrangements for decades, until the passage of Act 101 in 2010 which amended Pennsylvania’s Adoption Act, open adoption agreements were not enforceable in Pennsylvania. Today, Pennsylvania birth parents and Pennsylvania adoptive parents can enter into enforceable contracts for continuing contact or communication after the adoption is finalized. The legal effect of this change is that if the agreement violated, birth relatives may petition the court to enforce the agreement.
Closed Adoptions in Pennsylvania: closed adoptions, or adoptions in which the birth parents didn’t know where the child came from (and the child did not know who his or her birth parents were), are rare in the United States today, but remain common in international adoptions. When adoptions are closed, the files and court documents are usually sealed and families must go through a legal process to “open” a closed adoption and access information. Today, most adoption agencies encourage some degree of openness between the biological family and adoptive family after an adoption is completed.
Step-Parent Adoptions in Pennsylvania: Step-parent adoptions can be easier and quicker to accomplish than other adoptions because many courts waive requirements, like home studies, when the parties are related. However, the main issue most step-parents face in adopting a step-child is obtaining consent from the other birth parent. While it is possible to complete a step-parent adoption without the other birth parent’s consent, the process can be difficult and may be unsuccessful depending on the facts and circumstances of the case.
Same-Sex Adoptions in Pennsylvania: According to Pennsylvania Adoption Law anyindividual may become an adoptive parent. The Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled in 2002 to expressly permit Same-Sex adoption via the process of second-parent adoption in Pennsylvania.
International Adoptions in Pennsylvania: Adopting internationally can be the most complicated of all the different types of adoptions . Parents adopting a child who is a citizen of another country must satisfy both Pennsylvania laws and the laws of the child’s citizenship.
Contact Our Pennsylvania Adoption 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, Clearfield office at 814-290-0587 or toll-free at 1-844-VARI-LAW.
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.