Adopting from foster care can be one of the most rewarding ways to add to your family, forever changing your life as well as the life of a child in need of a permanent home.
However, your rights and the adoption process can also seem confusing or overwhelming at times. At Bierly & Rabuck, our job is to advocate for you and your foster child and ensure you understand your rights through each step of the process. We offer all of the legal services you need to finalize your foster care adoption, including:
– explaining the foster care adoption process and your rights as hopeful adoptive parents.
– preparing and filing the necessary legal documents with the court.
– representing clients in negotiating a Post Adoption Contact Agreement, if applicable.
– negotiating the adoption subsidy.
– arranging and accompanying you to the finalization hearing.
– obtaining a new birth certificate for your child after finalization.
– providing the general case management and oversight you need through each step of the process.
– and more.
Here, learn more about adopting a foster child with Bierly & Rabuck.
Foster Care Adoption in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, there are generally two ways to adopt from foster care: fostering to adopt or adopting a waiting child from the Pennsylvania foster system.
– Foster to Adopt: Some families choose to become licensed foster parents before adopting from the foster system. These parents are known as “resource families.” They agree to provide temporary care to a child in need and are willing to adopt that child if the court determines that they cannot safely be reunited with their biological family. When a child becomes legally freed for adoption, his or her foster parents are often given the first opportunity to adopt. However, not all foster children will become available for adoption, making foster-to-adopt a less predictable form of adoption from foster care.
– Adopt a Waiting Child: Parents who would like to add to their family permanently, without the uncertainty of a foster-to-adopt placement, may apply to adopt a waiting child without providing temporary foster care. These children have already been legally freed for adoption and are waiting for a permanent family to adopt them. You can view available foster children for adoption through the Pennsylvania foster care adoption photolisting.
Once you have been approved for a foster adoption opportunity with a child, Bierly & Rabuck can provide all of the information, support, and legal services you need to complete the adoption process.
How to Adopt a Foster Child in Pennsylvania
Whether you hope to adopt a foster child that is currently in your care or a waiting child from the foster system, Bierly & Rabuck can provide all of the services and guidance you need to ensure each step of the legal foster adoption process is completed safely and legally. Here’s how to complete your foster care adoption in Pennsylvania:
– Meet with Bierly & Rabuck. When a termination of parental rights (TPR) action has been filed for the child you wish to adopt, you can contact Bierly & Rabuck to learn more about your rights and begin the legal adoption process.
– Prepare and file legal paperwork. Bierly & Rabuck will file an adoption petition to initiate the legal adoption process. Your attorney will also help you complete any other legal paperwork necessary to finalize the adoption.
– Finalize the adoption in court. Your attorney will arrange your finalization hearing and notify you when it is time to appear in court with your child. At the hearing, the judge will sign the final adoption decree, and you can celebrate your new, official family.
Pennsylvania subsidizes attorney fees for families adopting through foster care, making it a low-cost way for hopeful parents to add to their families. While other attorneys may request an up-front retainer fee, Bierly & Rabuck will not require payment until after the adoption has been finalized and these fees have been reimbursed by the state.
It is strongly recommended that every family considering adoption through foster care work with an experienced, independent adoption attorney who will solely represent their interests; relying on an agency attorney may create a conflict of interest when negotiating the adoption subsidy.
If you would like to learn more about foster care and adoption in Pennsylvania, or if you are ready to begin the foster child adoption process, please contact Bierly & Rabuck to schedule a consultation.