Adopting a child is a life-changing event, but the process of adopting can seem overwhelming and emotional. At Jones Gregg Creehan Gerace, we help adoptive parents navigate the Pennsylvania adoption process as smoothly as possible. Whether you are a parent who would like to adopt a child in a private adoption or a step-parent or grandparent who would like to formalize their custodial relationship with a legal adoption, we are here to help.
We Offer Pittsburgh Clients Experienced Adoption Representation
The adoption and family law attorneys at Jones Gregg Creehan Gerace have an in-depth understanding of Pittsburgh Orphans’ Courts. We use our experience to assist clients with a wide variety of adoption-related matters, such as second marriages, the termination of parental rights, and other extenuating circumstances.
Pennsylvania Orphans’ Courts
If you would like to adopt a child in Pennsylvania, you will need to go through the Orphans’ Court. In Pennsylvania, the Orphans’ Court handles domestic and foreign adoptions, including all private agencies in Allegheny County. All adoption pleadings are processed by the Adoptions Department of the Orphans’ Court, which handles issues such as:
- Petitions for adoption
- Petitions involving the termination of parental rights
- Re-adoption of children who’ve been adopted in foreign countries
- Petitions by adoptees seeking medical histories or non-identifying information
- Petitions by adoptees who wish to search for their biological parents
Our Adoption Services
Our Pittsburgh law firm handles all types of divorce, child custody, and family law matters. We provide our clients effective legal representation at reasonable fees. Our lawyers handle adoption matters that have arisen due to termination of parental rights, second marriages, and other circumstances in which parents can’t take care of their children any longer. We also help parents who would like to adopt a child through a private adoption service. We provide our clients with legal advice regarding the financial and legal requirements for adoption in Pennsylvania, handling a wide range of matters, including the following:
- Grandparent adoptions
- Step-parent adoptions
- Domestic agency adoptions
- Private adoptions
- Surrogate mother matters
Adopting Through a Private Agency
Potential adoptive parents have several options, including working through a private agency, adopting a child from foster care, and working directly with the birth parents. Many adoptive parents choose to adopt through a private agency. Many benefits come with choosing a private agency. You will have access to extensive counseling, there are typically more children available for adoption, and you may even have access to the adopted child’s biological parents. The counseling you received from the private agency can help smooth the process.
However, it’s still crucial that you retain your lawyer to represent your interests while working with a private agency. Private agencies are often very selective when it comes to adopted parents with whom they will place children. Since many parents are interested in adopting and fewer pregnant mothers are looking for adoptive parents, private agencies are often more discerning. Most private agencies are helpful, but some may try to take advantage of adopting parents or provide them with contracts that are unfair to the parents. Our legal team can help review all of the contracts you sign and negotiate with the agency, if necessary. We will make sure your rights are upheld and that you are protected throughout the process.
Public Agencies in Pennsylvania
Public adoption agencies offer more variety when it comes to children who need to be adopted. Many children waiting to be adopted in public agencies are older or have spent time in foster families or group homes. Since public agencies have a greater number of children who need to be adopted, they are typically less selective and have less stringent requirements for prospective adoptive parents.
However, public agencies have fewer resources than private adoption agencies. Adopting through a public agency is often free. If you are considering public adoption, it’s wise to consult with an experienced adoption lawyer. Many different issues can arise in public adoptions, including the termination of parental rights. Working with your attorney can ensure that you understand what’s happening and your rights are protected.
The Waiting Period in Agency Adoptions
Adoptions do not happen quickly. Many private adoption agencies have a waiting period that is required before they will place a child in the home of his or her adoptive parents. The waiting period is intended to ensure that all parties have signed the necessary consents and that all other legal formalities have been completed. As a practical matter, sometimes the child is permitted to be placed in the home during the waiting period to understand that the child will be removed from the home if the birth mother doesn’t give her consent. Adoptive parents also bear a significant risk associated with these “Legal Risk Placements.”
At Jones Gregg Creehan Gerace, we can help you navigate the waiting period process and understand your rights as adoptive parents. We have a relationship with many western Pennsylvania adoption agencies and can provide you with guidance and answer any questions about adopting.
Representing Birth Parents in an Adoption
If you are a birth mother who is considering placing your child for adoption, we can help represent your best interest. We will help you understand the process and ensure that your rights are protected. We understand that the process of placing your child up for adoption can be challenging, and we will represent your interests as you walk through that journey.
Contact a Pittsburgh Adoption Lawyer Today
If you are considering adoption or you’re involved in adoption-related legal issues, you need an experienced family law attorney on your side. Whatever legal issue you face, you’ll receive useful legal advice, vigorous advocacy, and steadfast guidance from our family law lawyers. At Jones Gregg Creehan Gerace, we handle adoption cases in Pittsburg and across western Pennsylvania. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss your needs with you. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.