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Who Must Consent:
  • The parents or surviving parent.
  • The guardian or custodian.
  • The husband or former husband of the natural mother unless there is proof that he is not the natural father.
Consent of Adoptee:
A child 12 years or older must consent to the adoption.

When Parental Consent is Not Needed:
  • The adoptee is 18 years or older.
  • The parent of a newborn fails to maintain contact for 4 months.
  • The father of a child conceived through incest or rape.
  • Parental rights have been terminated.
  • Parent has failed to perform parental duties.
  • There is repeated and continued abuse or neglect.
  • The parent is the presumptive but not natural father of the child.
  • The child is in the custody of an agency because the whereabouts of the parents are unknown.
  • The child has been removed from the parent for 6 months.
When Relinquishment Can Be Signed:
  • Consent may not be executed until at least 72 hours after the child's birth.
  • A putative father may execute a consent at any time after receiving notice of the expected or actual birth of the child.
How Relinquishment Must Be Signed:
  • Sections 23 Pa. 2501-2505 deal with voluntary relinquishment to an agency or directly to prospective adopters; provide for court hearings to approve relinquishments or court approval of consents executed out of court.
  • There are also procedures for when parents do not petition for relinquishment within 40 days of executing consent, and making counseling available. The contents of out of court consents are detailed.
  • Consent shall include the date and place of its execution and names, addresses, and signatures of at least two witnesses and their relationship to the consenter.
Time for Revocation:
A parent can revoke consent until the court has entered either a termination order that confirms consent or an adoption decree. The PA legislature is considering a provision to set a limit of 20 days.

• Glossary of Terms
• Legal Considerations in Adoption
• Parental Rights
• Putative Father Registries: What They Are and How To Use Them
• Resources for Expectant/Placing Parents

Relinquishment Summaries by State: Index

Source: National Adoption Information Clearinghouse. Reprinted with permission.

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