Adoption is a wonderful idea. You open your home and family to a new member and give a child a loving home. It is beautiful, but it can be difficult, perhaps particularly for non-traditional families.
Are there any special considerations for members of the LGBT+ community when adopting in Pennsylvania?
Adoptions are always legally complicated. And, unfortunately, Pennsylvania does not grant protection from LGBT+ discrimination in the adoption approval process. As such, there may be many documents to consider when adding to your family.
Important documents to create and keep
Since 2014, same-sex marriage has been legal in our state. In Pennsylvania, there are several important documents that married couples with adopted children should keep at all times. These include the adoption decree(s), birth certificates for all children, your marriage certificate, standby guardianship forms and your estate planning documents. The estate planning documents include items like your will, trust documents and powers of attorney.
An adoption decree is especially important because this document asserts that you both have parental rights to your children. If you want to expand your family, you deserve the same rights and protections granted to all parents. That is precisely what you are becoming when you adopt: the legal parent.
If you are an unmarried couple, there are additional considerations. You will likely need to consider a process called second-parent adoption, where couples who are unmarried may apply for both parents to have parental rights.
What if I need assistance with an adoption or any of these documents?
If you are a member of the LGBT+ community, and you want to adopt a child or multiple children in Pennsylvania, you deserve the same respect and support as any other local.
However, the fact is LGBT+ discrimination still exists. If face barriers to adoption or seek support, you can seek the advice of a local family law attorney who not only accepts you, but also can provide individualized support in growing your family.