If the natural parent(s) do not agree with the adoption, there is a hearing to determine if their rights should be involuntarily terminated. In this situation, an attorney must be appointed to represent the interests of the adoptee(s). An attorney may also be appointed for the parent contesting the adoption. When presiding over a petition for involuntary termination, the court must first consider whether grounds for involuntary termination have been established. Grounds for termination include instances where a parent has failed to perform any parental duties for at least six months, where a parent has demonstrated incapacity, abuse or neglect, or the child has been removed from the care of the parent(s) by an agency and parents have not been able to successfully remedy the situation which led to removal.
The adoptee may be appointed an attorney to represent their interests in the context of an adoption matter. Specifically, if a petition for involuntary termination of the natural parent(s)' rights is pending. When presiding over a petition for involuntary termination, the court must consider the needs and welfare of the child(ren) involved. A major factor is the emotional bond between the parent and child and potential consequence of severing that bond. A parent's representation of love and affection for a child without further corroboration, are not sufficient to prevent termination of their rights based on the best interests of the child.
Parental rights can generally only be dissolved in conjunction with an adoption matter. A biological parent can consent to an adoption, voluntarily relinquish their rights or be subject to involuntary termination. Pursuant to 23 Pa.C.S. § 2511, there are nine (9) grounds for involuntary termination of parental rights: