Frequently Asked Questions - Adoptive Parents
Who can adopt a baby through Adoption By Choice?
Adoption By Choice accepts applications from couples who have been married for five years, have no more than one child, and are unable to have biological children. Couples who are interested in adopting a baby with a special need (including a baby who is a member of a minority group) may have more than one child.
Do I have to live in Pennsylvania to apply?
You may apply to Adoption By Choice if you live in any state, with the exception of New York. New York requires that an out of state adoption agency working with a resident of their state be dually licensed in New York as well as their home state.
What is a home study and why do I need one to adopt?
A home study is a document that is required by every state before a child is placed with an adoptive family. The home study insures all parties involved in the adoption that the adoptive home is a safe, nurturing and loving environment for a child. Topics covered in the home study include the adoptive parents’ family background, their marital relationship, child rearing practices, employment and finances, medical status, child abuse and criminal history, and home and community environment. If you live in Pennsylvania and you are within a 200 mile radius of Adoption By Choice we can complete a home study for you. If you reside outside of Pennsylvania you must have a home study completed by a licensed agency in your home state.
What are the ages of the children available for adoption?
Adoption By Choice primarily works with birth mothers who are either pregnant or have just delivered a baby, so the majority of our placements are newborn infants. We have had a few rare occasions where a birth parent has been parenting a child for months or even a year, and has contacted Adoption By Choice to plan an adoption for their child.
How long does it take to adopt a baby?
All of the placements are designed by the birth parents, which includes the selection of the adoptive family. Adoption By Choice does not operate with a waiting list, and has no control over how long a family waits to adopt a baby.
How many babies do you place every year?
We average about seven adoptions every year but placements have ranged from four to twenty four.
Does your agency promote open adoptions?
We believe that the best adoptions are based on mutual trust and respect between the birth and adoptive family. Although they may meet only two times before the baby is born, the relationship that develops between the birth and adoptive parents from the personal contact allows the birth parents to feel peaceful about their baby’s future. Adoptive parents also have first hand information to provide to their child when he or she begins to ask questions about their biological family. We do not share identifying information with the birth or adoptive families to protect the confidentiality of both parties.
How does a birth parent select an adoptive family?
When birth parents become firm in their decision to place a baby for adoption, Adoption By Choice will assist them in making a detailed adoption plan. The birth parents will provide the agency with specific criteria they are looking for in an adoptive family. Adoption By Choice Directors will in turn provide the birth parents with profiles of adoptive families who meet their criteria. The profile is created by the adoptive family and includes captioned pictures, a letter to the birth parents, and an agency form with non-identifying factual information about the adoptive family. During the application process adoptive parents have the opportunity to indicate the types of hypothetical scenarios they are interested in. Therefore, birth parents will only be able to view profiles of adoptive families that are agreeable to all aspects of the birth parents’ situation.
What if we aren’t selected by birth parents within a year or two?
Pennsylvania requires that prospective adoptive parents be re-approved through a home study update every year. Adoption By Choice will contact you prior to the anniversary of your approval date to insure that your file remains current and is always available to a birth parent selecting an adoptive family. Agency staff can also review your profile with you for possible changes based on feedback from birth parents.
How do birth parents come to your agency?
Birth parents contact us through a number of avenues. They may have found us online or in the phone book. Or they may have been referred through a friend, family member, medical professional, or another social service agency.
Do you work with birth parents across the country?
We choose to work with birth parents who reside in Pennsylvania so we can provide them with personal and individualized care throughout the adoption process and beyond.
Do you allow adoptive families working with you to apply to other agencies?
Absolutely! We will rejoice with you wherever you end up adopting from!
Do we need to hire an attorney?
Adoptions in Pennsylvania must be finalized in court, and you may retain your own attorney to finalize your adoption. You may also choose to utilize an attorney that our agency has been working with for several decades. This arrangement does not have to be made until the baby has been placed with you.
When does the baby come into our care?
A birth parent’s adoption plan includes a plan for the delivery and hospital stay. Most birth parents would like the adoptive parents to begin caring for the baby soon after delivery so bonding can begin. The adoptive parents may be able to stay overnight at the hospital with the baby. When the baby is discharged the adoptive parents can take the baby home from the hospital, provided that the birth parents remain firm in their adoption decision.
How long does the birth parent have to change their mind about the adoption?
In Pennsylvania the birth mother has to wait 72 hours after she delivers the baby before she can sign the consent to the adoption. Once the consent has been signed it is irrevocable after 30 days. The birth father can sign the consent at any time, but if he signs prior to the baby’s birth the 30 days for revocability doesn’t start until the day the baby is born.
Can we specify the gender of the baby that we want to adopt? Are twins available for adoption?
Adoptive families can specify the gender of the baby, but that will limit your opportunities to adopt. We have had three sets of twins placed through the agency since 1996, and adoptive families have the option of requesting multiple births during the application process.
When are adoption fees paid and what method of payment do you accept?
Prospective adoptive parents pay fees for application and home study at the time of service delivery. When an adoptive family is chosen by the birth parents the placement fee is paid in two payments. The first half of the fee is invoiced when a solid adoption plan is in place, which is usually prior to the baby’s delivery. The second half is invoiced after the birth parents’ parental rights are terminated in court. The placement fee is 100% reimbursed directly to the adoptive family in the event that the placement does not occur. Adoption By Choice accepts cash, checks and credit cards for payment.