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Adoption: Bringing, And Keeping, Families Together

Adoption solidifies the adoptee’s place as a member of the adopting parent’s family, giving them all of the same rights and privileges as a naturally born heir.  In Pennsylvania, even an adult over the age of 18 years old can be adopted.  The attorneys of Raphael Ramsden & Behers can help you navigate Orphans Courts to finalize the adoption of the newest member of your family.  Our attorneys and staff will guide you every step of the way from obtaining the necessary background checks and consents, to the home study, through the final adoption hearing.  

Agency Adoptions - The adoption of a child to individuals who are not related to the child often take place through an agency.  The agency may be private or public.  

Private adoption agencies are composed of both high-end agencies as well as those run by charities and social service organizations. These agencies place children whose parents or expectant parents came to the agency willfully to pursue their adoption. 

Public adoption agencies typically handle children who are dependents of the state, having arrived through a variety of circumstances, some having been abandoned, orphaned or abused. 

Kinship Adoptions - However, adoptions do not have to go through agencies.  Independent adoptions occur when parents willingly allow their child to be adopted by others that they know, and the families work directly rather than go through an agency.

The adoption of a child related to one or both of the adoptive parents is called a kinship adoption.  This is when the child is being adopted by a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or even a sibling.  Dependency courts are fond of kinship adoptions to try to maintain familial connections.

Step-Parent Adoptions - Similar to kinship adoptions, step-parents may wish to adopt the child of their spouse.  Usually, the consent of the other biological parent is required.  However, in some circumstances, like with any adoption, the other biological parent’s rights may be terminated. The step-parents need not be married to adopt.  

Same-Sex Adoptions - In 2002, a 6-0 decision by Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court established a pathway for step-parent adoptions for same-sex couples.   Again, the adopting parents need not be married.  This area of the law is constantly developing, much like other areas of family law involving same-sex couples.

Terminating Parental Rights – While most adoptions are a very happy time for a family, there are occasions when your parental rights may be threatened.   In such instances, you have rights, but it is important to act timely as silence, or simply not showing up to a noticed hearing, could possibly be mistaken for permission.   Nothing is more important to keeping your family together and, as a family law firm, we will help you to preserve your family if that is your desire.  

If you are considering growing your family by adoption, or are fighting to keep your family together, we can help.  Call us at 412-471-8822, and let our skilled adoption attorneys provide you with the representation that you need.   Whether this is a happy time for your family, or a trying time, we have the skills and resources that you need.  Call or email today to schedule your appointment.    

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