Adopting a child is a beautiful way to build a family, but it can also be a complicated process. Adoption involves a complex framework of paperwork and legal procedures involving several parties. As such, many prospective parents get frustrated along the way, especially when they hit roadblocks.
In this article, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions regarding adoption in Pennsylvania. At whatever stage you are in your adoption process, these answers will be helpful. You might also want to discuss with an experienced attorney who practices family law in West Chester PA.
What are the Requirements to Adopt a Child?
Pennsylvania adoption laws allow any individual to adopt a child, irrespective of age, gender, and marital status. Similarly, there’s no legal restriction on whois adoptable in the state. However, individual adoption agencies usually have their own set of requirements regarding adoption.
Agencies and professionals will also conduct home studies before approving an adoption. They’ll review significant aspects of your life during the study to determine if you’re a suitable candidate. For instance, they’ll want to know about your background, education, family, and motivation to adopt.
They’ll also ask about your health and review your finances. You mustn’t have flawless finance or be in perfect health. However, you should be able to prove that you’re financially stable and physically and mentally able to care for a child.
The home study process also requires prospective parents to pass a criminal background check. An intending parent who was a previously convicted felon must undergo clearance from a social worker or the court before being approved to adopt. If the applicant’s record proves to be violent or poses a danger towards children, he/she will not be eligible to adopt.
How Do I Begin the Adoption Process?
There are different ways to kickstart your adoption journey. You can reach out to public adoption agencies or licensed private adoption agencies in your local area. If you’d like to adopt independently, there’s the option of hiring an attorney who specializes in family law in West Chester, PA.
How Long Does Adoption Take?
The timeline for each adoption will depend on the prospective parents’ requirements regarding the child. Some typical requirements include gender, ethnicity, and age. For instance, the wait time to adopt a caucasian baby is up to five years or at least one year after the home study. Whereas adopting infants from other ethnicities may be as short as six months.
How Much Does Adoption Cost?
While there’s no specific amount for adoption, the cost will depend on the route you take. Generally, adopting through a local public agency is less expensive than adopting from a private agency. Additionally, an independent adoption may cost more than going through agencies, and adopting from another country is usually the most expensive.
However, it’s essential to note that it’s illegal for adoptive parents to pay a birth parent’s living expenses in Pennsylvania. The adoption cost can only cover medical and hospital bills for the child and birth mother and the adoption agency’s expenses.
Pennsylvania adoption laws exist to protect both adoptive and birth parents throughout the entire process. However, it’s always safer to work with a professional who understands family law in West Chester, PA, when adopting a baby.