Service Details

Service Details

Adoption

Growing Your Family Through Adoption

One of the most rewarding areas of law in which our lawyers practice is the area of adoption. Our lawyers understand the significance of adding a child or children to your family and will ensure that your adoption is handled with precision and professionalism. While always a joyous occasion when finalizing an adoption, at times getting to the finalization stage can be difficult emotionally, financially and legally. We understand these challenges and have years of experience in meeting them.

Private Adoptions

We can assist you with all aspects of a private adoption from facilitating the placement of a child in your home and ensuring that all legal requirements for such placement and later adoption are satisfied, to ensuring that a child who has already been in your care remains in your care and ultimately becomes a legal part of your family.

Stepparent and Family Adoptions

With the changing dynamic of the family, many family members are assisting with the rearing of the children of relatives including grandchildren, nieces, nephews and stepchildren. Often, these situations, which are initially temporary, become permanent in nature and, as such, families wish to solidify and legalize their relationship with the child or children they are caring for. In these situations, a family adoption can be completed for you and, if all parties are in agreement, can be completed quickly, easily and inexpensively. Even in situations where all parties are not in agreement, an adoption can be finalized following a termination proceeding. Our attorneys are experienced in the termination of parental rights, whether by consent or otherwise, and consider it a privilege to be able to assist families in legalizing the addition of a child to their family.

Collaborating with Child Placement and Adoption Agencies

In addition to private and family adoptions, our attorneys work closely with the Lancaster County Children and Youth Social Service Agency and other placement and adoption agencies in order to finalize adoptions for families who have children placed in their homes through such agencies. Adoption finalizations are typically simple proceedings which can be completed for a flat fee, which fee is often subsidized through the Statewide Adoption Network, thereby allowing families to adopt with little to no expense to them. We are privileged to have long standing relationships with many child placement and adoption agencies locally and across the United States and welcome the opportunity to assist any family with the finalization of their adoption.

Termination of Parental Rights and Contested Adoptions

While finalizing an adoption can be one of the most rewarding aspects of practicing in the area of adoption law, getting to the finalization stage can often be difficult and confusing. Because adoptions cannot occur until the parental rights of the biological parents have been terminated by agreement or otherwise, often legal representation is needed in order to terminate the parental rights of the biological parent or parents. Such termination can occur by agreement whereby biological parents will execute consents to the termination of their parental rights and the adoption of their child or, in the alternative, rights can be terminated by an involuntary termination proceeding. Our attorneys are well-versed in adoption law and have years of experience in terminating parental rights, both by consent and involuntarily. They are also experienced in handling numberous adoptions where biological family members have intervened. Our attorneys understand the emotional fragility of families going through the termination process and the importance of being successful so that the child to be adopted has permanency and security. Our attorneys will guide you through the process of termination to ensure that a final adoption can be achieved. When a termination is contested or, in the alternative, a biological family member intervenes in the finalization of an adoption, our attorneys will advocate aggressively for your rights and the rights of your child.

International Adoptions

Many families have the pleasure of adding a child of international origin to their family. We are pleased to offer services to finalize your child's international adoption or, if his or her adoption was finalized in his or her country of origin, to conduct re-adoption proceedings in the United States in order that your child of international origin can change his or her name and/or secure a Pennsylvania birth certificate. Our attorneys have experience in international adoptions from various countries around the world and will work with you and your agency to make the adoption or re-adoption process flawless.

 Recent Updates & Recommended Articles from the Lancaster Law Blog:

  • Legalization of Same-sex Marriages in Pennsylvania Causing Adoption Reversals
    • In a historic 2014 ruling, the U.S. District Court in Whitewood v. Wolf made same-sex marriage legal in Pennsylvania. This ruling, while finally allowing a sizable segment of the population the same legal freedoms heterosexual couples have always enjoyed created problems for some same-sex couples that had done their best to take care of one another in a pre-Whitewood world.
  • Adoption The Greatest Gift of All
    • During the holidays, we all become nostalgic about the things in our lives that have touched us, have changed us in some way or has simply been a blessing.  When I think of those things at this time of year, I immediately go to the blessings of my family and dear friends.  For so many of us family is the most important part of our lives, and I have been so lucky to have had the pleasure of being part of adding to many of my clients’ families over the last 20 years. 
  • Adoption in Central Pennsylvania
    • I recently had the pleasure of speaking with a writer for Central Penn Parent magazine about what has been referred to as foster-to-adopt or legal risk adoption. Lisa Buffington posted Foster care, adoption and forever families in July.  While I agree that adoptions of children who are involved in the foster care system can be lengthy and at times, an emotional roller coaster, I think foster care adoptions are often given a bad rap so I was pleased to have the opportunity to help dispel some of the myths surrounding these adoptions.