Pennsylvania Adoption Laws

Adoption laws historically have varied from state to state, but are becoming more uniform. Pennsylvania Adoption laws allow any child and only certain adults to be adopted, while any unmarried adult, unmarried minor parent of adoptee, or married couple may adopt. Additionally, Pennsylvania adoption laws also allow for Pennsylvania children age 12 and older requires the child’s consent to the adoption.

The table lists the basics provisions of Pennsylvania’s adoption laws. You can learn more by contacting our Reading, PA adoption attorneys.

    • Code Section:  Title 23 §§2101 to 2910
    • Who May Be Adopted: Any person
    • Age that Child’s Consent Needed: 12 years and older
    • Who May Adopt: Any Person
    • Home Residency Required Prior to Finalization of Adoption: Not required, but may do temporary placement
    • State Agency/Court: Pennsylvania Adoption Cooperative Exchange (PACE) in Dept. of Public Welfare/Common Pleas
    • Statute of Limitations to Challenge: For voluntary terminations, within thirty days of the birth parent’s signing the consent to adopt. Otherwise, no specific statute of limitations but certain conditions must be met.

Who Can Adopt In Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania law is clear that any individual may become an adopting parent. In cases where a married couple want to adopt, both spouses generally must adopt unless one spouse gives the other consent to adopt alone. Unmarried couples can adopt in Pennsylvania, but there are more steps that must be taken before it can be done.

Who Can Be Adopted In Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania’s adoption laws do not restrict who may or may not be adopted. This means that adults can be adopted too.

Whose Consent Is Needed For Adoption?

Generally, the birth parents must consent to an adoption. However, there are circumstances where a child may be adopted without the consent of the birth parents. Also, consent is required from any adult who is adopted and any child age 12 or older.

Residency Requirement For Adoption In Pennsylvania?

Many states require a period of in state residency before adopting in that state. Pennsylvania is one of the few states that does not have a residency requirement. Pennsylvania courts and adoption agencies still have the right, however, to require a temporary placement before the adoption is finalized.

Open Vs. Closed Adoptions

Birth parents and adopting parents may be concerned about an adopted child’s rights to get in contact with their birth parents. If the birth parents agree to the contact, the adoption is known as an open adoption. How old the child will be before contact and the method of contact allowed may change from case to case in the form of a voluntary post adoption contact agreement. If the birth parents do not consent to the contact, it is called a closed adoption. In this circumstance, some records may be maintained for medical reasons, and to track potential genetic disorders.

Contact Our Pennsylvania Adoptions Lawyers

If you would like to know more about Pennsylvania’s adoption laws, and the rights of both the adopting parents and the birth parents, contact our attorneys as they have many years’ experience handling adoption cases in the Berks County, Lancaster County and Lebanon County, Pennsylvania areas.