Adopting a Child Who Was Adopted by His Grandmother

In Silfies v. Webster, 713 A.2d 639, 643 (Pa. Super. 1998), the appellants, Mr. and Mrs. Silfies, sought to adopt G.W. whose grandmother, Ms. Webster, had become his adoptive parent. In 1994, when G.W. was three years old, Ms. Webster had contacted an attorney regarding options for the care of G.W. The attorney then contacted the Silfies, who were then searching for a child to adopt. In April of 1994, a meeting was arranged at Ms. Webster's home, during which the Silfies met G.W. After the meeting, G.W. began to visit the Silfies two to four times a week. Around October of 1994, these visits began to include overnight stays. These visits continued on a regular basis through August of 1995, and in June of 1995, the Silfies filed a report of intention to adopt. Shortly thereafter, Ms. Webster sent a letter to the Silfies' attorney, along with G.W.'s birth and adoption certificates stating that Ms. Webster was "agreeable to the adoption," but that she would like to maintain rights as G.W.'s grandmother. Silfies, 713 A.2d at 641. Though the Silfies' attorney sent a "Grandmother Visitation Agreement" to Ms. Webster, she never signed the agreement, and between August of 1995 and March of 1996, the visits between G.W. and the Silfies became irregular. On March 28, 1996, the Silfies instituted an action for the custody of G.W., and Ms. Webster filed preliminary objections based on the Silfies' purported lack of standing. The trial court granted the preliminary objections and dismissed the Silfies' custody action. On appeal, the Silfies argued that the trial court's decision was erroneous because the Silfies stood in loco parentis to G.W. See id. at 642-43. Though we noted that the Silfies had a reasonable expectation of adopting G.W., we also stated: Ultimately allowing G.W. to be adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Silfies was also the intent of Ms. Webster when she began allowing the visitations and overnight stays of G.W.7 Thus Mr. and Mrs. Silfies must be classified as "prospective adopting parents." The Court have held, previously, that prospective adoptive parents who have stood in loco parentis to a minor child have standing to commence a subsequent legal proceeding involving the child.7. Ms. Webster testified at the hearing of 7/19/96 that she no longer consents to the adoption of G.W. However, as discussed, supra, at the time Mr. and Mrs. Silfies had filed their Report of Intention to Adopt with the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County, Ms. Webster indicated via her letter to the Silfies' attorney that she was "agreeable to the pending adoption." Id. at 643.