Considerations for Single-Parent Adoption in Pennsylvania
Is it possible to adopt a child as a single person in Pennsylvania, and does it make the process more complicated or difficult? What are the things you should consider before adopting as a single parent? Is the legal framework different for single people?
According to U.S. Census Bureau data, nearly a third of the adoptions of children from foster care nationally during 2011 were completed by people who were not married. More than 13,000 single women and 1,400 hundred single adopted children in the United States that year. In Pennsylvania, there are no legal requirements that mandate that a person must be part of a couple in order to pursue an adoption. The only required first step is that you are at least 21 years of age.
Types of Adoption in Pennsylvania
Since there are no legal restrictions on adoption tied to relationship status, single people can pursue the same options that are available to couples, including foster care, international and domestic adoptions. The state of Pennsylvania offers resources to facilitate adoptions. The Pennsylvania Adoption Exchange maintains a database of children who need a family and people who’ve been approved to adopt.
Adoptions of children from other countries implicate the rules and regulations of the other country as well as those that apply to adopting a child in Pennsylvania. Some countries might have laws prohibiting adoption by single people. A PA adoption attorney might be able to explain the applicable rules and laws.
Considerations for Single-Parent Adoptions
Regardless of the specific adoption type, single parents should follow some advice as they approach the process. First, it’s important to have a support system in place that consists of family and friends. Raising a child is among the most stressful and potentially overwhelming tasks in which a person can undertake even with the presence of a partner. If you are interested in pursuing a single-parent adoption in PA, it’s best to think about upon whom you can rely and let friends and family know you might need their support when you get stressed out or have to be in a few places at once.
With regard to your support system, ask yourself:
- Do you have people you would feel comfortable calling on for help and accepting help from?
- What do your friends and family think about your decision to parent on your own?
- Who will come to your home to help when you or your child gets sick?
- Do you know people who live nearby who could provide help, if necessary, at a moment’s notice?
- Is there someone upon whom you can rely and trust to give you a break overnight or for the weekend?
The second piece of advice regarding adoption for single parents is to not worry about the negative ideas of others if you encounter them. Some people may have long-standing prejudices that prevent them from seeing how important and positive single-parent adoption can be. When the child is old enough to understand, sit down with him or her and discuss the many different ways in which a happy family might be formed. Third, make an emergency plan. It is the primary job of a parent to be prepared for things like financial necessities, sickness or injury.
Choosing to Adopt
The decision to adopt a child is one of the most important decisions you will make in your life. Even in two-parent households, both individuals are scarcely able to find the time to protect, care for and raise their children while also working and managing their own mental, physical and emotional requirements. Single parents may have to work harder to prove stability and financial responsibility to birth parents and adoption agencies as well.
For single people who are interested in adopting, a PA adoption attorney might be able to help by communicating with officials on their behalf or drafting and filing necessary documents. Please contact our Philadelphia office at (215) 563-2150 for more information about adoption in Pennsylvania.