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Should we be afraid to adopt our nephew who we are raising because my sister-in-law doesn't know who his father even is?

Nanticoke, PA |

S.I.L. had son 2011. No idea who sons father was so listed as not known. Asked husband and me to take care of son from when he was only few weeks old due to her having severe depression/mental issues. Now he is 2 1/2 and it is just like he was born to us like our other kids. S.I.L. doing good with counseling and right medications. She does not see him very much at all even though we live close by. She just told us she just does not want to be a mother at all and asked us if we would adopt him. Yes we want to but are nervous about his not known father. If we adopt can we somehow officially protect ourselves from Not Known ever maybe someday finding out about son and then trying to take him from us? Or would Not Known always just have the right to maybe take our adopted son back from us?

Attorney Answers 3


It is possible to adopt the child. You need to consult an attorney in your county who is experienced in handling adoption matters. In that way, you can find out the specific procedure in your county for providing notice.

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You should consult with an adoption attorney in your area regarding your county's specific procedures. In PA, the parental rights of both of the biological parents are typically terminated prior to the adoption taking places thus preventing them from coming back later. While it can be a lot trickier to have the rights terminated when you do not know a persona's whereabouts, it can still be done.

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I believe that adopting a child with a "Not Known" father is one which will always leave you wondering if "Not Known" will show up one day to cause trouble. But, that is not a good enough reason to deter you from adopting this child. The logistics of notifying someone whose identity is unknown are difficult. The courts in our different counties have differing ideas as to what constitutes proper notice. That's why it has been suggested that you consult with an experienced adoption attorney in your area. You've raised and loved this child. You can only do the best you can under the circumstances presented to you. Chances are that will be enough. The best of luck to you and your family.

Be sure to click Best Answer if you found this helpful. Disclaimer: Please note that this response does not in any way an attorney-client relationship between Kathryn L. Hilbush and the recipient. My responses are general in nature. They do not constitute legal advice. You are advised to consult an attorney regarding this and any other legal matters.

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