Anyone who wants to adopt a child should become well-informed about the process and what to expect. It is not a decision prospective parents should take lightly.
In Pennsylvania, although anyone may adopt a child, there are a number of prerequisites and expenses, depending on the type of adoption and many other factors.
Types of adoption
According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, there are five types of adoption:
- Adoption from the foster care system
- Private adoption
- Independent adoption
- Intercountry adoption
- Stepchild adoption
Each of these comes with different expenses, expectations and processes. Federal and state assistance may be available to help with the costs, depending on the type of adoption. Factors such as court fees, medical expenses of the birth mother, travel expenses, agency or attorney fees and others may affect the costs.
The home study
The CWIG explains that in Pennsylvania, the person or people who plan to adopt a child through a domestic adoption must be subjects of a home study. One of the following people or entities will conduct the home study and prepare a preplacement report:
- An adoption agency
- A licensed social worker who the court has authorized to perform home studies
- A local public child care agency
An investigation will include prospective parents and any other resident of the home who is 18 years old or older. Information on each person includes a state criminal history report and a fingerprint check for federal criminal history. Applicants must also have a certification that they are not in the central register of child abuse perpetrators in Pennsylvania or any state where they resided in the past five years.