Adoption - Support and Search Groups in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania County Court Responses to Adoption Inquiry Letters

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Pennsylvania County Court Responses to Adoption Inquiry Letters

Pennsylvania adoption law allows adoptees and birthparents certain means to attempt to contact one another or exchange information. In addition to the 2 state registries, one should use the services of the county court where the adoption was finalized.

To birthparents, it may "feel" like the adoption is finalized when the papers are signed and the child is gone. Actually, the deal is not finalized until the adoptive parents have actually adopted the child. This is usually done in whatever county they are living in when they adopt the child. So the county of finalization is generally the county the adoptee is adopted TO.

"Great..." you say. "How do I know what county my offspring went to?". Usually you can obtain this from your agency, your attorney, or by writing to the Bureau of Vital Statistics in New Castle, PA. Just explain: "I would like to file a waiver of confidentiality with the appropriate county court of finalization, so please tell me what county the adoption was finalized in."

This county court of finalization is where all the records are (in addition to any with the attorney and agency). So, searching adoptees and birthparents want to approach this County Court (usually the Orphan's Court) and get some information:

1- Do you provide search services?
2- May I request non-identifying information on my birthfamily/adoptee?
3- May I file a waiver of confidentiality with the court to give up my anonymity to the other party?
4- What's all this going to cost?
5- Do you have form letters for me to use, or do I need to write my own?

In order to put together helpful info on each county court's pricing and procedures, they all were sent a letter of inquiry in February 1999 and another one two years later in April 2001.


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