• OCTOBER 27, 2023

Adoption Laws in PA: Everything to Know

Pennsylvania adoption laws are some of the best in the country. While the state has little restriction on who can put a baby up for adoption or adopt a baby, the laws are there to protect the child. Most of the laws apply to adoptive parents, not the biological parents, to make sure the child is going to a safe and loving home. It makes going through the adoption process easy for birth mothers. We’re going to cover the most important adoption laws in PA so you can understand your rights as a birth mother and the laws that protect children during the adoption process.

Pennsylvania adoption laws for birth parents

. Adoption is a legal process, completely bound by laws. The most important law is that both biological parents need to waive their parental rights to complete an adoption. For birth fathers that means agreeing to the adoption and terminating parental rights before or after the baby is born. Birth mothers need to wait until 72 hours after the birth to waive their parental rights. It’s meant to ensure that you have enough time to consider your options and be confident that adoption is the right choice for you.

Once you waive your parental rights, a judge will review the case and give the adoptive parents legal custody of the baby. After that, the adoption is complete and there’s nothing else you need to do as a birth parent.

Closed adoption laws

When you choose adoption, you can plan for a closed or open adoption. In a closed adoption, you have no contact with the child and you won’t get updates on their life. These adoptions can be good if you know you want the adoption to stay private. Pennsylvania’s adoption laws give birth parents the right to anonymity and the adoption records can be sealed. You can choose how long they can be sealed for, like if you don’t want the child to be able to find you until after they turn 18.

Open adoption laws

The other option is an open adoption, where you do have contact with the child or the adoptive family. You can choose how much contact you want, like photo updates or even visitation rights. Open adoptions are flexible and Pennsylvania adoption laws protect your right to an open adoption. With a Post Adoption Contact Agreement (PACA), you can have a legally enforceable document that outlines how much contact with the adoptive family after the child is in their legal custody. An adoption attorney can give you legal assistance to create one and make sure you get as much access to the child as you agreed to in the PACA.

Pennsylvania adoption laws for adoptive parents

Pennsylvania adoption law is one of the most open in the country. Anyone can adopt in Pennsylvania, no matter what their gender, sexuality, religion, or marital status is. Some adoption agencies, like religiously affiliated ones, do have limits on who can adopt. Those are the choices of the individual adoption agency, but many adoption agencies (like ABSA) welcome all hopeful adoptive parents. If you’re considering adoption, asking about the waiting families is a good way to learn more about the adoption agency’s policies and which families you can choose from.

While there are no limits on who can adopt, there are many protections in place to make sure each adopted child has a responsible adoptive family. In Pennsylvania, basic clearance is required for adoptive parents so any children up for adoption are protected.

On top of that, all  adoptive families go through a home study. The home study is an additional check to prove that they are able to be parents and create a welcoming home for a child. Adoptive parents will go through the home study process whether they have children already or not to show that they are ready to welcome a new child. Home studies  include background checks too to make sure they don’t have a criminal history. Looking for an adoptive family that has already done a home study is a great way to evaluate potential parents for your child. 


Local adoption laws in Pennsylvania are some of the best in the country. The laws provide great protection for children and birth mothers without being restrictive and confusing. But, that doesn’t mean the adoption process is always crystal clear. If you have questions about putting your baby up for adoption in Pennsylvania, our caring case workers are here to help. Get in touch with us 24/7 to learn more about your options and how an adoption agency can help.