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Requirements to Adopt in Pennsylvania

Anyone hoping to adopt a child in Pennsylvania will need to meet the requirements for adoption first. But, these adoption qualifications vary depending on the type of adoption you pursue, as well as the adoption professional you adopt through. For example, prospective adoptive parents who intend to adopt from foster care in Pennsylvania must meet different requirements than those who plan on adopting internationally.

Fortunately, we've gathered some information to help you understand these adoption requirements in Pennsylvania, regardless of which path you are considering. If you ever have questions about our agency's requirements for adoption, call us at 1-800-ADOPTION to learn more.

These frequently asked questions about the requirements for adopting a child in Pennsylvania may help you understand if adoption is the right path for your family:

How old do you have to be to adopt in Pennsylvania? Is there an adoption age limit?

Pennsylvania is considered to be one of the least restrictive states on who may adopt a child. There is no minimum age to adopt specified in Pennsylvania adoption laws, nor is there any legal adoption age limit enforced. Even a minor can adopt in some situations.

However, individual adoption professionals usually have their own set of adoption requirements regarding age. American Adoptions requests that adoptive parents be between 22 and 50, although exceptions have been made. Pennsylvania foster care agencies require foster and adoptive parents to be at least 21 years old.

Contact your adoption professional to ask about their adoption requirements if you believe your age may be an issue.

Do you have to be married to adopt in Pennsylvania?

No, you do not have to be married to adopt in Pennsylvania; single persons may adopt in PA. If someone who is married wishes to adopt a child in Pennsylvania, both spouses will have to adopt unless one spouse gives the other consent to adopt on their own.

Again, your adoption professional will likely have their own adoption requirements about married couples and individuals who want to adopt. American Adoptions, for one, does not currently work with single individuals and requires couples to have been married for a minimum of two years.

However, exceptions have been made, so call 1-800-ADOPTION to learn more.

Can same-sex couples adopt in Pennsylvania?

There are no laws in Pennsylvania about same-sex couples adopting. American Adoptions welcomes Pennsylvania LGBT couples who wish to adopt.

Can a felon adopt a child in Pennsylvania?

During the Pennsylvania adoption home study process, prospective adoptive families will undergo background checks. Convicted felons may be approved to adopt in Pennsylvania if their social worker and the court finds that the prospective adoptive parent’s criminal record was non-violent and did not involve child or domestic abuse or neglect.

Previously convicted felons must be cleared on an individual basis after applying to adopt through their adoption agency to ensure that their criminal offenses pose no danger to a child placed in their care, so contact your adoption professional to learn more.

What do I need to adopt a child in Pennsylvania? And how hard is it to adopt a baby?

Aside from the standard legal adoption requirements in Pennsylvania, you may also want to take into account the additional requirements that prospective adoptive parents must meet in order to adopt. This includes:

The Health Requirements for Adoption

You don’t need to be in perfect health in order to adopt, but hopeful parents must be physically able to care for their child. Pennsylvania adoption agencies and home study professionals will review your recent medical statements to ensure that you’re physically and mentally healthy enough to meet the requirements of adoption in PA.

The Financial Requirements for Adoption

Once again, you don’t need flawless finances. But you do need to verify that you’re financially stable enough to provide for a child. Your PA home study professional will review your recent financial statements for this purpose.

The Emotional Requirements for Adoption

Meeting the emotional requirements to adopt a child in Pennsylvania is likely the most important adoption qualification, but it can’t be proven with documentation. Only you can know if you meet the emotional adoption requirements, which include:

  • Moving past the dream of having a baby biologically, and refocusing on your new dream of having a baby through adoption.

  • Addressing any infertility grief you may have.

  • Educating yourself about the emotional steps of the PA adoption process for adoptive parents, birth parents and adoptees.

  • Getting on the same page as your spouse about your feelings towards adoption and parenthood. Being united in your adoption goals is necessary before moving forward.

  • Learning how to maintain a positive relationship with your child’s birth family, and releasing expectations that you may have about being biologically tied to your child.

  • Staying excited about and committed to adoption through challenges.

Do you meet our agency's qualifications for adoption in Pennsylvania? Are you ready to get started with American Adoptions today? Call 1-800-ADOPTION to speak with an adoption specialist now.

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