Before you can begin an adoption process, there are several decisions to be made. Do you want to adopt and infant or an older child? Do you want to adopt in Pennsylvania or internationally?
First and foremost, you need to know if you are eligible to adopt. If you are over the age of 21, have no criminal charges regarding children and have the financial means and space in your home to support a child, you will most likely be eligible to adopt in Pennsylvania.
If you are interested in domestic infant adoption, or are a birth parent who would like to make an adoption plan, you can do so through a licensed adoption agency, or through an adoption attorney. Be sure that any attorney that you choose has experience in adoptions. Any agency or attorney must be licensed in Pennsylvania.
If you are pregnant and feel that you do not have the resources to care for a child, or to make an adoption plan, Pennsylvania does have a Safe Haven law. This allows you to leave your baby (under 28 days old) at a hospital. The law states that the parent must express that they intend for the hospital to accept the child and the child has not been abused or neglected.
With so many countries that you can adopt from, it is important to do your research and work with an agency that is experienced in adoptions from the country you`re interested in. Each country has different regulations, terminologies and time frames. Working with the right agency will make your adoption go much more smoothly. The agency must be licensed in Pennsylvania.
Older children and children with special needs are looking for adoptive families. These adoptions are facilitated through Pennsylvania Statewide Adoption Network (SWAN). For the purposes of adoption, special needs has a broader definition. It applies to children who have a physical or emotionally disability as well as children who have a difficult time being placed because of their age, children with different ethnic backgrounds, as well as sibling groups that need to be placed together.
Adoptive parents who are pursuing special needs adoption are required to complete 24 hours of training prior to accepting placement of a child. These classes are intended to teach you the issues that special needs children may have and how to handle them.
No matter what type of adoption you pursue in Pennsylvania, you will need a home study. What does a home study involve? It is an inspection, for lack of a better word, of your home, your background, your financial ability to raise a child, your parenting skills or tools, your marriage (if applicable) and many other aspects of your life. To some people it feels intrusive, but you will go through the same types of questions, no matter which avenue of adoption you choose to pursue.
If you were adopted in Pennsylvania, or placed a child for adoption in Pennsylvania and are interested in reunification, you can register on the Pennsylvania Adoption Registry. This service is offered through the Pennsylvania Division of Vital Records. This is a passive registry, and you will only be notified if both parties have indicated an interest in a reunion. A birth parent may disclose medical information but not give consent for contact.
View profiles of hopeful adoptive parents or create your own adoption profile today on ParentProfiles.com (A service of Adoption Profiles, LLC).
See All Pennsylvania Couples Hoping to Adopt through ParentProfiles.com.
Are you ready to be a parent? There are tens of thousands of children in the United States foster system and many more available children worldwide. There are many children in Pennsylvania who are hoping to be adopted.
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Note: Our authors are dedicated to honest, engaged, informed, intelligent, and open conversation about adoption. The opinions expressed here may not reflect the views of Adoption.com.