A child may be placed for adoption by a licensed private or public child placement agency or by a private individual, usually a physician or an attorney. This person or agency is known as an intermediary. The placement process is governed by the Adoption Act, and the placement process can be quite complicated. Ultimately, a hearing will be held before the Orphans’ Court to approve the adoption. Our office can prepare the necessary documents and present the required information through your testimony at the adoption hearing.
Adoption Attorneys in Lancaster PA
A step-parent adoption is relatively simple if the parent consenting to the adoption signs a Consent to Adoption. A Consent to Adoption must also be executed by the child, if the adoptee is over 12 years of age. If the other parent refuses to sign a Consent to Adoption or to voluntarily relinquish his or her rights, a petition must be filed to terminate parental rights if grounds exist under the Adoption Act to do so. The most common ground, when an agency is not involved, is where the parent has failed to perform parental duties by conduct for a period of at least 6 months immediately preceding the filing of the petition.
The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has approved a new Orphans’ Court Procedural Rule simplifying the process of registering foreign-born children, which allows the child to obtain a Pennsylvania birth certificate. An amendment to another Rule permits a name change for children who are younger than twelve years of age during the registration process.
Until recently, Pennsylvania did not recognize “open adoptions.” Effective in March of 2011, adoptive parents and birth relatives may enter into a voluntary agreement for continuing contact with the adoptee. The agreement is subject to approval by the Court and if the child is 12 years of age or older when the agreement is executed, the child must consent to the agreement as well.
Devine Law Offices can answer your questions regarding adoptions in Pennsylvania. We can assist you in completing your adoption whether you are adopting an unrelated child, adopting a step-child, registering a foreign adoption, or re-finalizing a foreign adoption.