If you are embarking on an adoption journey, you are probably excited, hopeful, anxious and fearful all at once. Though the end result of welcoming a child into your family may be as simple and straightforward as can be, the process itself requires a complex series of legal steps that can be time consuming, frustrating, and confusing. The best thing that you can do to make the process as painless as possible is to avail yourself of an experienced attorney who will work hard to give you a thorough understanding of adoption law, as well as to help you through the process. At The Igwe Firm, we are compassionate, patient attorneys with a long record of successfully helping families to achieve their adoption goals, and we can help you too.
In order to understand adoption law, you should start off by knowing the difference between an agency adoption and a private adoption. In an agency adoption, you are working with a company that is organizing and facilitating the process. This company may be local or national, religious or secular, operating for profit or nonprofit. They often match families to available children and make most of the arrangements, including conducting the needed home studies and evaluation of the environment that the adoptee would be entering both on behalf of interested government entities and to meet their own requirements.
By contrast, private adoptions may be between family members, done through a private agency, or without any intervening agency at all. In private adoptions the adopting families need to prepare all of the appropriate applications and paperwork and take care of getting them filed with the court systems. Home studies may still need to be carried out, and clearances will need to be obtained, depending upon what county you live in and the makeup of the household.
Whether you work through a private adoption or through an agency, it is most important that prospective parents understand the rights of the birth parents regarding physical and legal custody rights. The birth parent’s rights must be terminated for an adoption to be legal, and this can only be done in a court of law, even if all parties are in agreement. The court must also determine that the prospective parents are fit. Only once all of these requirements are met can a decree of adoption be bestowed, and this gives the new parents all of the same rights and obligations that were once in the hands of the birth parents.
The state of Pennsylvania has strict laws regarding what venues are appropriate for adoptions and each court can have different procedural requirements. In order to minimize any confusion or complication, it is strongly advised that you work with an experienced Pennsylvania adoption attorney who can make sure that you are thoroughly prepared and that no unforeseen circumstances arise. The lawyers at The Igwe Firm understand how emotional and important an adoption can be, and we work hard to make sure that every detail is carefully addressed in order to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible. Call us today to set up an appointment to see how we can help.