Adoption Laws and Regulations in Philadelphia

Philadelphia is well known for its tourist attractions. You can find the Liberty Bell, the Super Bowl Champion Team, or the delicious Philly cheese steak. With all that this beautiful city has to offer, it’s no surprise that one would want to share it with their child. If you reside in Philadelphia and plan on adopting a child, there are important laws and regulations to take note. It is vital to brush up on adoption laws and regulations in the state of Pennsylvania before beginning the process.

Who Can Adopt?

The state of Pennsylvania allows anyone over the age of 18 the opportunity to adopt. There will be other qualifications or disqualifiers. However, age is typically not an issue as long as the adoptive parent is an adult in good health and meets other qualifiers. The hopeful adoptive parents will undergo a home study that will include everyone in the home and a more extensive background check of anyone over the age of 18 in the home. According to, a home study in Pennsylvania will cover the following:

What is a home study?

The report shall be based upon a study of the home environment; family life; parenting skills; age; physical and mental health; social, cultural, and religious background; facilities and resources of the adoptive parents; and their ability to manage their resources.”

Once the home study has been completed, it must be approved by the courts in order for a hopeful adoptive parent to become eligible to adopt. One more interesting and differing law from other states is the statute that allows for placement of a child with prospective adoptive before a home study has completed in urgent situations. As states, 

“If the home study has not been completed, the child may be placed with the prospective adoptive parent if the intermediary has no reason to believe that the parent would not receive a favorable recommendation, the agency conducting the home study assents to the interim placement, and the intermediary notifies the court.” 

Adoptive parents may also be required to pay for medical expenses of the birth mother for both the birth of the child and any prenatal care. This differs from many states that also require expenses:  transportation, living expenses, and pregnancy-related expenses. Counseling expenses may also be requested for the birth mother after placement has occurred.

Who can be adopted?

Pennsylvania also has unique laws regarding the adoption of children over the age of 12. A child over the age of 12 must consent to the adoption before an adoption can be finalized. These laws also allow children over the age of 12 to decide whether they would like contact with their birth parents. These laws are set in place in order to protect and respect older children with the ability to make decisions about their life.

An adoption are finalized six months after placement. At this time, a report will be filed with the courts by an assessor. The assessor states how the child is doing in the home and any new finding regarding the adoptive family. The court will then either grant or deny finalization of the adoption. Unless some drastic change has occurred, new information has been presented, or the child is in some sort of danger or distress, a finalization hearing is usually a celebratory formality.

Are you ready to pursue adoption? Visit or call 1-800-ADOPT-98 to connect with compassionate, nonjudgmental adoption specialists who can help you get started on the journey of a lifetime.