Adoption at Any Age Can Protect a Child from a Toxic Parent
When we think of adoption, we usually think of a child. However, Pennsylvania’s Adoption Act allows for a person of any age to be adopted. There are reasons why a person who grew up with a toxic or absent parent but was not adopted as a child may still want to go through the process of being adopted as an adult.
An adoption is often a beautiful occasion in which a happy family is brought together. The person who has been acting in the parental role, and with whom the child has a strong parental bond, legally becomes the parent. The adoptee has a safe and stable home in which they are loved and wanted by someone who has their best interests at heart, and cares deeply enough to establish a legal parent-child relationship. It honors the present parent figure as the adopting parent and also gives the adoptee a loving and stable home where they are safe and supported.
A child is often adopted because their biological parents were absent, neglectful, abusive, perpetrators of certain atrocious crimes, or actively rejected their own children. The biological parents may have severe drug and alcohol addictions and mental health disorders. The adoptee often feels that their biological parents are a force in their lives that brings instability and fear that they could at any moment be ripped from safety and placed in a hostile environment. An adoption gives the child stability not only in that they are secure with a loving and stable home in the adoptive parent, but also in that they are protected from a lifetime of interference from the biological parent, who may be highly toxic to their biological child.
There are ways in which a toxic parent can bring trouble to their child’s life well into adulthood. Under Pennsylvania’s filial support laws, an adult child could be sued and made to pay for an indigent parent’s expenses. Pennsylvania’s legislature and courts have been making it easier and easier for grandparents to get into court to obtain custody of their children’s children. A toxic parent could not only make your life miserable but could also have standing (i.e. the legal right) to go into court and seek custody of your children. Even after death, your parent can interfere and claim an interest in your property. In the absence of a solid estate plan, the toxic parent has inheritance rights, and could challenge a will that does not benefit them.
An adoption removes the toxic parent’s hold on the child’s life. Following adoption by an adoptive parent, the biological parent is no longer the adoptee’s parent. They have no rights to financial support, to custody, or to inheritance. When the adoptee is an adult, it is not necessary to obtain the biological parent’s consent or litigate to involuntarily terminate parental rights. The court is able, by statute, to dispense with these requirements that exist in child adoptions, except for the requirement for the consent of the Adoptee. In other words, if you are making this decision as an adult, the court trusts that you know your own mind. It does not force you to locate an absent parent or fight a toxic parent to substitute someone you believe is a better parental figure for you and grandparent for your children.
If you are interested in an adult adoption, contact Scaringi Law at 717-657-7770 now to ask about a free initial consultation with one of our adoption attorneys.