Mr. Bluestein is a Fellow of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys. He has been a part of the organization since 1993. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys.
Recently the Chair of the Childrens’ Rights Committee of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, he provides adoption services for birthparents, agencies, and prospective adoptive parents in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, in a wide array of cases spanning the nation…..
The Adoption, Surrogacy, and Gestational Carrier family building situations in which he is involved frequently occur not only in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, but touch states across the nation.
Top 10 Things to Know About Adopting in Pennsylvania
- Under Pennsylvania law, a birth-parent has 30 days in which to change his or her mind after signing a Consent, with or without a reason. The mom cannot sign until at least 72 hours after the birth of the child.
- In Pennsylvania, a birth-father or putative (claimed) father may sign a Consent to Adoption any time after conception, in which case his 30 days to revoke will begin to run from the moment of birth.
- There are nine (9) grounds upon which the parental rights of a biological parent may be involuntarily terminated (against his or her will), and each ground must be proven by strong evidence, which we call in the law “clear and convincing evidence.”
- In terminating the parental rights of a parent, to pave the way for an adoption to be finalized, the Court must consider the developmental, physical and emotional needs of the child.
- Under Pennsylvania law, only legal expenses for the adoptive parents attorney and medically related expenses for the birth mother may be paid.
- A home study is required in an adoption to be done of the adopting parents, except in the case where the adoption is by a step-parent, grandparent, brother or sister, or the uncle or aunt.
- In a contested adoption, (where one or both of the biological parents are contesting the termination of his/her/their parental rights), an attorney, called a “Guardian Ad Litem,” is appointed by the Court, for the child.
- Unusual, but, a biological parent who is a minor (under age 18) may still consent to an adoption, and his or her parent is not required to consent. The grandparent of the baby must still get notice of the hearing to terminate the rights of the minor parent.
- The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in 2002 ruled that the Court may grant an adoption to a gay or lesbian single parent or couple (or an unmarried heterosexual couple), if it promotes the needs and welfare of the child to be adopted. The Court has the final say as to whether it does promote the needs and welfare.
- Did you know that a person who is at least 18 years old may be adopted by another, without the consent of the biological parents? It’s true — see Section 2713 of the Adoption Act at 23 Pa.C.S.A. Section 2713.
Top 10 Things to Know about New Jersey Adoption Law
- Both private/independent and agency adoptions are permitted in New Jersey.
- Various reasonable living and other expenses are permitted to be paid to or for a birthparent in New Jersey which include: Medical, Legal, Housing, Food, Adoption and Vocational Counseling.
- In an agency placement, a birthparent may sign a Surrender (Consent to Adoption) at least 72 hours after the birth of the child, which Surrender is irrevocable when signed. This 72 hour revocation period is not applicable when an agency is not involved in the placement.
- A man claimed to be the father may sign a Denial of Paternity which is deemed to be or acts as a Surrender.
- A birthparent must be offered counseling and a particular counseling resource must be named in writing for the birthparent. The birthparent may receive the counseling or may decline it, but must sign a notarized statement saying that he or she received or declined the counseling.
- Both the biological parent(s) and the adoptive parents in a New Jersey placement must sign a statement indicating that he/she/they know that any expenses which are paid for the benefit of the biological parent need not be returned if the birthparent changes her / his mind about the adoption within the time in which he / she is allowed to revoke or cancel the Consent.
- The adoptive parents may not demand a return of monies in connection with the return of the child if the Surrender or Consent is validly revoked, within the allowed time period.
- Any decision as to whether to bring an agency into an adoption plan as compared to maintaining it as a private or independent adoption must include a consideration of varying time elements for termination of parental rights. Termination of parental rights can be accomplished more quickly in a consensual adoption where an agency is involved in New Jersey. The relative costs and expenses are always a factor for consideration.
- No Surrender or Consent to an adoption in New Jersey may be signed within the first 72 hours after the birth of the child.
- The legal process of an adoption in New Jersey begins with the filing of a Complaint for Adoption. Notice of the filing of that Complaint is required to be given to the biological parents, except in a number of circumstances, where Notice can or may be waived, in accord with the Adoption Statute.