What is the Difference Between Foster Care and Adoption?

Adopting is adding a non-biological person to your legal family. Foster care is a temporary arrangement where a child is given over to a temporary caregiver by the state because the biological parents are unfit to parent at that particular time.

Generally, the purpose of foster care is to help parents who are unable to care for their children learn the skills they need to adequately provide for their children with the eventual goal of family reunification. However, sometimes family reunification goals are untenable and those children may become candidates for adoption.

At What Age Does a Child Need to Give Consent for Adoption in PA?

A child age 12 or older must consent to an adoption under Pennsylvania law. Those under 12 are not required to provide consent.

At What Age Can Someone Be Adopted?

You can adopt someone of any age in PA. That means adults can adopt other adults, as long as both parties give their consent. Minors can, in select cases, also adopt children. This is uncommon but may occur when an older sibling adopts a younger one.

Who Can Adopt in Pennsylvania and What Do Adoptions Typically Look Like?

PA is known for having fewer restrictions on adoption than many other states. Married couples must both agree to an adoption, unless one gives consent for their spouse to enter the adoption by themselves. PA permits two types of adoptions:

  • Open adoption: When the birth parents allow themselves to be contacted by the adopted child.
  • Closed adoption: When the birth parents decline to be contacted by the adopted child, though medical records generally remain open so the child can see their genetic history.

When Are Adoption Surrenders Signed in PA?

Adoption surrenders are voluntary statements signed by the biological parents giving away the rights to their child. Birth fathers may approve them at any time. A birth mother may sign up to 72 hours after giving birth.

Is There a Revocation Period?

Yes. Birth parents can change their mind on the adoption surrender for up to 30 days. After that point, there must be evidence of fraud for a surrender to be revoked.

Are There Any Residency Requirements for PA Adoptions?

No. Although many states do have residency requirements for adoptions, PA is not one of them. A court or adoption agency can request a temporary placement for those who adopt from out of state to ensure it’s a good fit before it becomes permanent.

What Home Requirements Does a PA Adoption Entail?

Prospective adoptive parents are required to complete a home study within three years of an adoption. The court generally appoints a social worker or adoption agency to carry out the study. It will include information on the fitness of the prospective parents to adopt and if the home environment is appropriate for children.

Note that there are no income requirements for adoption in Pennsylvania. While many things will be taken into account during the home visit, the prospective adoptive parents do not have to hit any type of household income minimum.

Contact Us to Learn More About How to Adopt in PA

Now that you know a bit more about the parenting information you must provide, you may be wondering what the next step is in getting an adoption underway. The adoption process is tedious and full of complex requirements so it is advisable to hire a lawyer who can assist you with the adoption to ensure a smooth transition.

Get in touch with MPL Law to discuss your adoption case. Our York office can guide you through this exciting but challenging time, just as we have for many clients in the same situation. We look forward to getting to know you and your family while addressing your unique circumstances. Contact us today to set up a consultation.

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