Have you decided that adoption is the route you want to take to grow your family? If so, there are many questions that you need to consider when taking the next steps. For example, do you want to take the path of closed adoption or open adoption, is this a step-parent adoption, what are the procedures for adoptions, and can consents be revoked?
Adoption is a legal process that coincides with the termination of the rights of the natural parent or parents, with the termination either being voluntary or involuntary. While the natural parent has a right to raise a child, the child has a right to be raised in a healthy environment. The state has the interest of preserving the parent-child relationship and ensuring a healthy environment for the child. It’s important to remember that adoption is governed by the Pennsylvania Adoption Act, which requires strict adherence to its provisions, and thus the reliance on a family law firm, such as ours, conversant with adoption procedures.
Below are a few topics that you’ll need to consider as you take the route of adoption:
Open vs. Closed Adoption
One decision you’ll have to make when adopting is whether you want to have a closed or open adoption. A closed adoption does not involve communication between the birth parents and adoptee or adoptive parents after the adoption. Open adoptions, on the other hand, involve the birth parents and adoptee or adoptive parents staying in contact after the adoption. Pennsylvania law requires the issue of open and closed adoptions to be addressed during the adoption proceeding.
The consent of various parties is required for an adoption, including children over age 12 and the spouse of an adopting parent. Consent to adoption is not valid if executed before or within 72 hours after the birth of the child.
Every state has specific laws regarding the revocation of consent to the termination of parental rights. In Pennsylvania, birth parents have 30 days to revoke their consent to the termination of their parental rights. In addition, upon a court finding fraud or duress, the birth parent’s consent can be revocable.
Domestic vs. International
Yet another decision to make when adopting is whether you want to adopt a child domestically or internationally. There are many factors to consider for each type. For example, in an international adoption, the adoptive parents will need to buy a visa for their child and should be prepared to travel to the birth mother’s location. Also, the medical information provided to the adoptive parents can be minimal when adopting internationally compared to when adopting domestically.
If you have questions for us about adoption, or to learn more about how we can assist you with your adoption, meet with our lawyers. We understand the topics that need discussed regarding adoption and are here to help. Contact us online or call our law firm at 412-261-4040.
The attorneys of Wilder Mahood McKinley & Oglesby, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, have assisted clients across western Pennsylvania in resolving family law issues since 1978. Our founding partner, Joanne Ross Wilder, wrote the handbook used across the state by practitioners and judges in the family law arena.