Outlined below is general information to help you understand the steps involved in adopting a child(ren).
Pennsylvania has numerous agencies licensed to provide quality adoption services. You may check the Agency List to find agencies in your local area.
After selecting an agency, you will be invited to complete an application to begin the adoption process. Most applications will gather information about your family composition and background as well as the characteristics of the child(ren) that you would like to adopt.
Adoption agencies may invite you to attend an orientation session before completing your application. The orientation process describes realistic expectations of adopting a child from the foster care system.
The Family Profile is a document created from a series of meetings between you and an adoption professional. These meetings will give you an opportunity to gain better insight into the challenges of adopting a child from the foster care system and examine how your family may respond. Your family must be approved by an adoption agency before the matching process can begin.
The approved Family Profile is used by the agency to share information about your family with agencies responsible for the waiting children. We recommend that families with an approved Family Profile register on the Pennsylvania Adoption Exchange (PAE). All families who have family profiles provided by SWAN are registered by the agency that completes the family profile. PAE routinely reviews the characteristics of families and children and notifies their agencies when a suggested match is identified. Agencies also try to match children and families in their local recruitment efforts.
When you have been tentatively selected by a county agency to adopt a child, you will get a chance to meet the child and spend time together to determine if the suggested match is a good one for both your family and the child.
This is the point when the child moves into a pre-adoptive family’s home.
Agencies normally plan a six month period after placement for the child and family to begin to build a stable relationship before finalizing the adoption. During that time, an adoption worker will visit regularly with the family to offer support and assistance.
When the placement continues to be positive, a request is submitted to the court for a hearing. A number of legal obligations must be addressed such as a verification that the child is legally free for adoption, the agency with custody will consent to the adoption, etc. At the hearing, the judge reviews information about the child and family and may approve the adoption.