Before an adoption can be finalized, certain parties must consent to the adoption. Pursuant to 23 Pa. C.S. Section 2711, a consent must be signed by the following individuals where applicable: (1) the child(ren) being adopted if over 12 years of age; (2) the spouse of the adopting parent if that spouse is not also a petitioner; (3) the natural parent(s) of any minor child(ren) being adopted; (4) the guardian of an incapacitated child up for adoption; and (5) the guardian of a minor child or persons having custody when the adoptee has no parent whose consent is required. Only the consent of the adoptee is needed for an adult adoption. Consents of the natural parents should include the date, full address of place of execution, and be witnessed by two adults whose name, address and relationship to the person executing the consent are provided.
It is good practice to also have the consent notarized and the notary’s complete address should be included. Another practical tip is to be careful who you select as a witness. The persons witnessing the consents may be called upon in court to testify as to the circumstances under which the consent was executed. The court must be satisfied that there was no fraud or duress and the person executing the consent was of sound mind. The best witnesses will be impartial and credible witnesses with no interest whatsoever in the outcome of the adoption. A consent executed outside of Pennsylvania can be valid here if executed in accordance with the laws of the other jurisdiction.