What You Need to Know About Pennsylvania Adoption Laws

U.S. states set their own adoption laws individually, so the laws regarding adoption will vary from state to state. Many hopeful adoptive parents working with a national adoption agency like American Adoptions will ultimately adopt across state lines, so it can be helpful to familiarize yourself with your state’s laws, as well as the laws of the expectant mother’s home state once you enter into an adoption opportunity.

For questions about Pennsylvania adoption laws, you can always call 1-800-ADOPTION to receive free information. Always ask your attorney if you have legal concerns about your adoption. The following information should not be considered legal advice, but simply an informational guide about local adoption laws.

The information below will offer you an overview of the basic domestic adoption laws in PA that may affect your Pennsylvania adoption process:

Who Can Adopt in Pennsylvania?

PA adoption laws are some of the least restrictive in the country. Any adult may adopt if they meet the adoption requirements of their adoption professional and the home study process.

There is no adoption age limit, age minimum or marriage requirement listed in Pennsylvania adoption laws. However, individual adoption professionals, including American Adoptions, may have their own preferences for prospective adoptive parents.

While all hopeful adoptive parents must complete the home study process with a Pennsylvania-licensed home study provider, the adoption requirements for adoptive families will also vary depending on the type of adoption they are pursuing.

Who Can Be Adopted in Pennsylvania?

A minor must have their biological parents’ parental rights terminated before he or she can become eligible for adoption in Pennsylvania.

When an expectant mother creates an adoption plan for her baby with an adoption agency, she can voluntarily terminate her parental rights. PA adoption laws state that a woman must wait at least 72 hours following the birth to offer her consent to the adoption and terminate her parental rights, and her consent must be signed by two witnesses. Birth fathers may offer their consent at any time prior to the birth.

The court holds a hearing to confirm consent to the adoption before the final decree of adoption is issued. Birth parents may be required to attend this adoption consent confirmation hearing.

According to PA adoption laws, adoption-eligible adults and children who are 12 or older must consent to be adopted.

Pennsylvania Adoption Laws Regulating Birth Parent Expenses

States also individually regulate how much and what is allowed to be paid to help expectant and birth parents throughout the pregnancy and adoption. PA adoption laws allow the following birth parent expenses to be paid by the adoptive parents:

  • Medical costs related to the birth mother’s prenatal care, birth, and postnatal care

  • Expenses related to the care of the child prior to the decree of adoption being issued

While PA adoption laws don’t enforce repayment of any paid expenses should the birth family decide to parent, American Adoptions offers a unique Risk-Sharing program to financially protect adoptive parents from adoption disruptions.

Requested birth parent expenses are reviewed by Pennsylvania courts, and any expenses deemed “excessive” or “unnecessary” are not permitted to be paid by the adoptive family. Any form of payment, including money, gifts or favors in exchange for the placement of a child into an adoption is strictly illegal.

To learn what adoption laws in Pennsylvania may affect you, call 1-800-ADOPTION now to speak to a PA adoption specialist.





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