Now that Pennsylvania recognizes same-sex marriages, same-sex partners can also benefit from the simpler process of a kinship or step-parent adoption. This means no home study is required. The adopting parent would still complete the requisite background checks. At the adoption hearing the court will verify that all requirements for an adoption have been met. The adopting parent(s) should be prepared to indicate their understanding of the responsibility they are taking on as parents.

For couples conceiving using assisted reproductive technology, it may be possible to have your name included in your child’s birth certificate prior to finalization of the adoption hearing. Specifically, for female same-sex couples where one partner is the birth mother, the other partner’s name can be included in on the birth certificate so long as they are married. However, having your name on the birth certificate is not necessarily enough to protect your rights as a parent so you are advised to still consult with an attorney regarding adoption as soon as possible.