The face of adoption in Pennsylvania has changed dramatically in the last 30 years. Adoptive parents are no longer married, or Caucasian or even childless. The rules in Pennsylvania governing the ability of parents to adopt have changed dramatically. A review of the current rules may offer encouragement to couples (and even single persons provided the adopted child does not medically or legally require a two-parent household) to proceed with an adoption application.
Single-parent adoptions: the beginning
The single-parent adoption process in Pennsylvania is essentially identical to the process for married couple adoptions. The basic requirements are nearly identical. The prospective parent (or parents) must be at least 21 years of age. Any person may be adopted, but individuals over the age of 12 must give their consent. Pennsylvania allows adoptions without regard to the sexual orientation of the adopting parents. A criminal offense that might prevent an adoption is a conviction for a sexual offense. The parent or parents may also have to consider the Termination of the Biological Parent’s parental rights, which can further complicate the adoption process.
Warning signs for adoptive parents
Experts in adoption suggest four guardrails for anyone considering adoption. The prospective parent (or parents) should ensure the existence of a support system to help the new parents adjust to the burdens of parenthood. New parents should also plan for emergencies, both large and small. Welcoming the newborn into the adoptive family is an important task. Newly adoptive parents, especially single parents, must prepare themselves to withstand the many negative impressions that may exist in the community.
Other things to consider
Adoption, like the birth of an infant, can have a significant life-changing impact of the life of the new parent (or new parents). Time management and financial management are two areas of life that are likely to feel the impact of the arrival of a new family member. The arrival of an infant may also affect the personal life of the parent (or parents). Dating and relationships can become very complicated after the arrival of an infant.
Getting appropriate legal advice
Anyone interested in adopting a child may wish to consult an attorney who is knowledgeable about the adoption process and its impact on the parent’s personal life.