Understanding LGBT Adoption in Pennsylvania: Your Rights and Options
Pennsylvania wants you to forge a family. More than 2,000 children were adopted in Pennsylvania in 2020.
One reason why this number is so high is LGBT adoption. Pennsylvania has allowed LGBT couples to adopt children for years.
Yet this does not mean that the child adoption process is easy. If you’re looking to adopt a child, you have to be mindful of a few things.
What are the laws that govern LGBT adoption? How can LGBT couples adopt children? What should potential parents know about private adoption agencies?
Answer these questions and you can forge your family together in little time. Here is your quick guide.
The Basics of LGBT Family Law
Title 23, Statute 2312 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes states that any individual may become an adopting parent. This means that anyone of any gender identity or sexual orientation can apply for child adoption.
Single LGBT people and couples can apply for adoption. A partner can also file an adoption petition so they can adopt their partner’s child. They go through the same process as heterosexual and cisgender people.
Several statutes impact the child adoption process. Anyone looking to adopt should examine the process and their options for adoption carefully. They need to review all of their paperwork with a lawyer’s help to make sure their information is accurate.
Processes for Adoption
There are a few types of adoption in the state of Pennsylvania. Most LGBT couples opt for second-parent adoption.
One partner in a relationship already has a child. The other partner applies to be the second guardian for the child.
This gives the child full inheritance rights from their non-biological parent. In the event that their non-biological parent dies or becomes disabled, the child can receive Social Security benefits as well.
But LGBT child adoption covers all types of adoption in Pennsylvania. A couple can apply for joint adoption, adopting a child that is not biologically related to either partner.
Private Adoption Agencies
An LGBT couple can go to a private adoption agency in order to adopt. Yet they are beholden to the customs and practices of the agency. Some adoption agencies refuse services to LGBT couples.
Fulton v. City of Philadelphia was a Supreme Court case decided last year. The Court ruled unanimously that Catholic child adoption agencies can refuse services to LGBT couples and keep their city contracts.
The Court’s decision may lead to restrictions on gay adoption. For now, gay couples maintain the same rights as straight couples, though they may need to avoid Catholic adoption agencies.
The Essentials of LGBT Adoption
The law makes LGBT adoption complicated. Adoption statutes apply to all Pennsylvania residents equally. All applicants go through the same process.
Most couples decide on second-parent adoption so a child has inheritance rights from both partners. Yet many couples can adopt a child from another family.
However, private adoption agencies can exclude LGBT couples from the adoption process. This means that queer couples have limited options to pursue private adoptions.
If your adoption rights are under attack, you should get help. Crosson Richetti & Daigle serve Pennsylvania LGBTQ couples. Contact us today.