One of the most rewarding areas of law in which our attorneys practice is the area of adoption. Our attorneys 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 helping families navigate them.
Adoption through Foster Care
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. This 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.
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.
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 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 quickly and easily. 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.
Second Parent Adoption
As families continue to change both in appearance and the relationships they include, parents and partners are looking for ways to protect their children. Second parent adoption is a process that allows people to adopt their partner’s child without terminating the other parent’s rights. This allows the adoptive parent legal rights such as the ability to make medical decisions on behalf of the child, as well as grants them custody in the event of the death of the biological parent. It also allows them to claim dependency for tax purposes.
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.
Registration of Foreign Adoption Decrees
Adopting a child from a foreign country or while you lived in a foreign country raises significant questions and presents unique challenges. For those who are considering adoption, understanding the process in advance can remove a great deal of stress. For those who have already adopted their child, you need to know how to have the adoption recognized in the United States. No matter where you are in the adoption process, our attorneys can answer your questions and, more importantly, help you navigate the process for having your foreign adoption recognized.
ART & Surrogacy
Artificial reproductive technologies and surrogacy work together to provide options to people who otherwise may not be able to have children. However, there are numerous potential practical and legal issues that could complicate the process. Whether you are considering traditional surrogacy or gestational surrogacy, you need someone who can guide you along the way. We work with partners and surrogates who are exploring this option and help facilitate their transition to parenthood, ensuring that their rights and the rights of their unborn child are protected.
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. 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 numerous 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.