• OCTOBER 27, 2023

Birth Mother Rights in PA: What to Know

Pennsylvania is one of the best states for adoption, especially as a birth mother. We’re going to share everything you need to know about Pennsylvania’s adoption laws and birth mothers’ parental rights.

Important adoption laws in PA

One of the great things about Pennsylvania is that most of the local adoption laws regulate adoptive parents to make sure they’re fit to take legal custody of a child. That makes it easy to go through the adoption process as a birth mother.

Parental rights in Pennsylvania

The most important legal part of the adoption process for birth parents is relinquishing  parental rights. Birth mothers must give up their parental rights to the child for the adoption to be completed. 

Starting 72 hours after the birth, you can start the legal process for adoption. After that, a judge will sign off on the adoption and the adoptive family will have legal custody of the child. Waiving your parental rights is the only legal piece that you need to worry about as a birth mother. Since it happens after the birth, you can even put a baby up for adoption after you’ve given birth

Birth fathers also need to consent to an adoption and terminate parental rights. In cases where the biological father isn’t known, an adoption agency can help you terminate parental rights for multiple fathers. In other cases where you know the father but don’t want to communicate with him, an agency can also do the communicating for you.

Financial support in Pennsylvania

Another reason to choose adoption in Pennsylvania is that you can get financial support. Unlike other states, Pennsylvania law around adoption financial support is more broad. Adoption agencies can help expectant mothers both before and after the birth if they choose adoption. 

For example, an expectant mother can get help covering medical costs for doctor’s appointments before the birth. After the birth, an adoption agency can also help with any costs raising the baby before the adoption is finalized. 

There’s a lot of flexibility in Pennsylvania adoption laws that can make pregnancy less expensive. But, birth mothers never have to pay for adoption. The only costs you might have to cover are doctor’s appointments and living expenses, which adoption agencies can help with.

Adoption between Pennsylvania and another state

It’s possible to have adoptions cross state borders. As a birth mother, you can place a child for adoption in Pennsylvania, or choose to have your child grow up in another state. Some adoptive parents even look for babies for adoption in the state since Pennsylvania adoption laws make the process easy for birth mothers.

Choosing an out of state adoption is a great option if you know you want a closed adoption. Closed adoptions mean that there is no contact with the adoptive parents, the child, and the birth parents. If you know that you don’t want to know about your child’s life after the adoption, consider a closed adoption with a family in another state. It helps put some distance between you and the child that a local adoption doesn’t.

In Pennsylvania, birth parents have the right to stay anonymous no matter where the child ends up. If you decide to have a closed adoption, the records can be sealed. That means nobody can see information about the birth parents until a specific time, like when the child turns 18.

If you do want contact with your child, then a local open adoption is a great choice. An adoption attorney or an adoption agency can help you set up a Post Adoption Contact Agreement (PACA) so you can stay in touch with your child and establish visitation rights. A PACA is a legal document that outlines how often an adoptive family and a birth parent are in contact. It’s a good way to ensure that you get life updates about your child if you want them, or even visitation rights.

The best way to make sure your adoption goes the way you want is to work with an adoption agency. With their adoption professionals you can learn more about your options for open and closed adoptions, or get help creating a PACA.

As an adoption agency, A Baby Step Adoption can help you navigate a Pennsylvania adoption. Our caring case workers will help you understand your parental rights and provide legal assistance to make sure your adoption goes the way you want. Get in touch with us today and we’re happy to talk about your situation and support in any way we can.