In the state of Pennsylvania, there are numerous adoption agencies available to help families seeking to grow through the adoption process adopt a child. After an agency has been selected, the adoptive parents need to complete an application to begin the adoption process. In general, the application will ask about the composition of the potential adopter's family, their background and the characteristics of the child they are seeking to adopt.
The family may also be invited to attend an orientation session. In addition, a Family Profile will be created following a series of meetings between the potential adopters and an adoption professional. The family seeking to adopt must be approved by the adoption agency prior to adoption. The Family Profile also allows the family seeking to be adopted to be matched with children waiting to be adopted.
Once a tentative match has been made, a pre-placement visit allows the potential adopters to visit and interact with the child. The pre-placement visit helps to determine if the placement is a good fit for the family and the child. Following that, is placement when the child is placed in the pre-adoptive family's home. There is normally a 6-month period following placement during which time the adoption worker will regularly visit the family and provide support. The goal is to create a stable environment before finalizing the adoption.
If the placement proceeds positively, the request to approve the adoption will be made to the court which will conduct a hearing. It is important to determine that legal requirements are met including that the child can legally be adopted and that the adoption agency approves of the adoption. Because there are a variety of emotional and complex legal concerns that can be involved in the adoption process, it is helpful for families in Pennsylvania considering the adoption process to be familiar with what it entails.
Source: Pennsylvania Statewide Adoption & Permanency Network, "Eight Steps to Adoption," Accessed Sept. 19, 2017