Delaware Adoption Guide

Everything you need to know about Delaware adoption!

Kenneth Knudson November 29, 2016

Welcome, Delawareans! This guide was written to provide you with a single place to find information about adoption within Delaware. It will walk you through everything from laws that will impact your adoption to reviews of adoption service providers in Delaware.

We’ve divided this guide into five parts: first, general information about adopting in DE, then sections dedicated to domestic infant adoption (starting in Slide 6), foster adoption (Slide 19),  international adoption (Slide 29), and stepparent adoption (Slide 33). And don’t miss our slide filled with links to helpful adoption resources (Slide 36).

Please Note
1. Please Note

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness, and reliability of the information provided in this slideshow guide, you should not rely on it to make decisions. Instead, you should rely on licensed professionals in making decisions relative to adoption. The information in this guide is subject to change without notice. Adoption.com is not responsible for the consequences of relying on this information. In no event shall Adoption.com be liable for any direct, indirect, special, or incidental damage resulting from, arising out of, or in connection with the use of this information.

Did You Know?
2. Did You Know?

-Delaware became the first state to ratify the US constitution on December 7, 1787

-Delaware is the only state without any National Park

-Milton, DE, was named after famous English Poet John Milton

-The Delaware Indians were some of the most advanced Indians on the entire eastern seashore

-The peach blossom is Delaware’s official state flower

SOURCE: http://www.50states.com/facts/delaware.htm

Adoption in Delaware at a Glance
3. Adoption in Delaware at a Glance

-Kids in foster care waiting to be adopted in 2015: 515

-Foster adoptions completed in 2015: 68

-International adoptions completed in 2015: 9

SOURCE: http://www.adoptuskids.org/adoption-and-foster-care/how-to-adopt-and-foster/state-information/delaware

https://travel.state.gov/content/adoptionsabroad/en/about-us/statistics.html

Can I Adopt in Delaware?
4. Can I Adopt in Delaware?

Age: 21

Marital status: Single, married, or divorced

Work: Stable enough to provide for family

Personality: Warm, trusting, outgoing

Experience: 27 hours of pre-service training

Home: Rent or own home

Other requirements: Participants must pass a background check and provide character references to the adoption agency

DISQUALIFYING CRIMES: Spousal or child abuse/neglect, crimes against children, and violent crimes including homicide, sexual assault

SOURCE: http://kids.delaware.gov/fs/fostercare_requirements.shtml

Developing a Support System
5. Developing a Support System

It’s essential to have a good network of family, friends, and neighbors to support you through your adoption process.

It’s also important to connect with other adoptive parents. You can begin making these connections in our forums. You may also want to consider joining a support group for adoptive parents.

Domestic Infant Adoption In Delaware
6. Domestic Infant Adoption In Delaware

Before you get started, check out our Baby Adoption Guide to learn more about the overall process of adopting an infant in the United States. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back to get the details about adoption in Delaware.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Get Professional Help
7. Domestic Infant Adoption: Get Professional Help

In Delaware, you are able to work with local and private agencies or attorneys to complete an adoption.

You can browse and read reviews about adoption service providers in Delaware.

For more information about picking an adoption agency, learn about the Top Fifteen Things to Look for In An Adoption Agency.

Some people pursuing a private adoption find it beneficial to work with a professional adoption facilitator, an individual or organization that matches birth parents with adoptive parents in exchange for a fee.

Paid adoption facilitators/adoption advertising is limited or restricted in many states. The following are the guidelines outlined in Delaware statutes regarding adoption facilitators and adoption advertising:

Use of Advertisement:
Only the Department for Children, Youth, and their Families or a licensed agency may advertise the availability of adoption services or for placement of a child.

Use of Facilitators:
No adoption placement that utilized an intermediary will be approved in Delaware.

SOURCE: Tit. 13, § 930

Domestic Infant Adoption: Complete a Home Study
9. Domestic Infant Adoption: Complete a Home Study

Regardless of whether you choose to adopt through an agency or adoption attorney, hopeful adoptive parents need to complete a home study to qualify for adoption.

This is different than a single home visit. The process includes completing paperwork, writing essays, obtaining letters of recommendation, completing a physical, and undergoing a criminal history background check. In a home study, a caseworker may visit multiple times in order to write a report culminating in approval for adoption.

Your home study social worker will help educate you about adoption and ensure that you (and your adoptive partner, if applicable) meet the requirements outlined on Slide Three.

Click here to learn more about the Home Study process.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Spread the Word
10. Domestic Infant Adoption: Spread the Word

One of the most important things you can do while waiting for an adoption match is to let everyone know about your hope to adopt. Many adoption connections are made through word-of-mouth referrals.

Another great way to spread the word is through social media. Creating a profile on Adoption.com Parent Profiles allows you to easily share your story with those considering placing their child for adoption. Features like videos and photos, posts, Pinterest-like favorites, and recommendations and endorsements make it easy to create a profile as unique as you are, increasing the likelihood that you will stand out and connect with that right person. Rich communication options like video chat and instant messaging make connecting easy. A mobile-responsive design means that you will never be out of reach.

What’s more, Adoption.com receives over 650,000 monthly visits, which means your profile will receive unparalleled exposure. You can even view and monitor your progress through a detailed statistics page.

Ready to get started? Visit Parent Profiles.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Relinquishment
11. Domestic Infant Adoption: Relinquishment

Without relinquishment of parental rights, no adoption in Delaware is final.

Who is required to give consent?
-The adoption agency who holds parental rights for the child
-Children age 14 or older
-In stepparent adoptions with a blood relative, the birth mother, father, or presumed father must give consent

When consent is not needed
-When the parental rights have been involuntarily terminated, the child’s best interests considered, and one of the following circumstances exist:
-Parents abandon the child
-Parents have mental incompetence making voluntary termination of rights impossible
-Parents are convicted felons where crime places child in danger
-Parents are unable or fail to plan to meet child’s needs
-Parental rights for a sibling of the child have been involuntarily terminated
-Parents subject the child to torture, abuse, sexual abuse, and/or life threatening abuse
-Child suffers serious injury or near death experience due to parental neglect

How do I execute consent?
A petition for adoption must contain a consent for that adoption. Consent granted by the parent must be signed and confirmed in the presence of:
-A judge
-An individual designated by judge to take consent
-Agency employee authorized to take consent
-A third-party lawyer
If the individual exercising consent is in the military, an officer on active duty:
-An officer from a foreign Consular office if individual exercising consent lives abroad

How do I revoke consent?
The person who gave consent must file within 60 days of the adoption petition to revoke consent. The court will then review the case and make a judgement within 60 days.

SOURCE: Tit. 13, § 907; 907; 909

Domestic Infant Adoption: Birth Father Rights
12. Domestic Infant Adoption: Birth Father Rights

In many states a paternity registry allows unmarried fathers to register their information and receive notice of adoption proceedings.

Paternity registry
A man must register his name with the Office of Vital Statistics before the birth of or up to 30 days after the birth of the child in order to receive the right to notice of adoption proceedings.

A man is not required to register in order to receive notice if:
-A parent-child relationship has been established
-The man begins proceedings to adjudicate his paternity before the court terminates his rights

If the child is at least 1 year old, the father is required to receive notice even if he has not registered his name with the Office of Vital Statistics. A father may rescind his registration at any time by contacting the Office of Vital Statistics.

SOURCE: Tit. 13, § 8-401; 8-402; 8-405

Domestic Infant Adoption: Laws about Birth Parent Expenses
13. Domestic Infant Adoption: Laws about Birth Parent Expenses

Hopeful adoptive parents and/or an adoption agency may provide certain expenses for expectant mothers. There are, however, laws governing such support.

Approved Expenses:
The only approved payments are court costs and legal fees.

SOURCE: Tit. 13, § 928

Domestic Infant Adoption: Post-Adoption Contact Agreements
14. Domestic Infant Adoption: Post-Adoption Contact Agreements

A post-adoption contact agreement is a voluntary agreement that determines the amount of contact birth and adoptive families have after the adoption becomes final.

In Delaware, post-adoption contact agreements are not legally enforceable under the statutes reviewed.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Finalization
15. Domestic Infant Adoption: Finalization

The child must live with hopeful adoptive parents for at least 6 months before the adoption becomes final.

SOURCE: Tit. 13, § 904

Domestic Infant Adoption: Adopting in Delaware from Out-of-State
16. Domestic Infant Adoption: Adopting in Delaware from Out-of-State

With private (usually domestic infant) adoptions, it is always possible to adopt a child within New Hampshire, even if you live in a different state.

The Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) was adopted in the 1960s to provide for oversight and protection of children placed for foster care or adoption between states.

If you are adopting a child from another state, you will need to receive permission from the ICPC office in the state where the child is from. Your agency or attorney will send the office copies of your home study and some other paperwork. They will need to approve your packet before you can bring your child home.

Read more about the ICPC.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Traveling to Delaware from Out-of-State
17. Domestic Infant Adoption: Traveling to Delaware from Out-of-State

The health of the adopted child and the length of court procedures will determine the length of your stay in Delaware. Hotels in Delaware average around $110 a night.

Places to visit in Delaware:
-Dover International Speedway
-Rehoboth Beach
-Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library
-Air Mobility Command Museum
-Brandywine Zoo

Foster Adoption in Delaware
18. Foster Adoption in Delaware

Before you get started, familiarize yourself with the overall process of adopting children through foster care. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back here to get the details about foster adoption in Delaware.

Foster Adoption: Children Available for Adoption in Delaware
19. Foster Adoption: Children Available for Adoption in Delaware

There are currently 515 children waiting to be adopted in the Delaware foster care system.


Click here to view a photolisting of the children.

Foster Adoption: Get Professional Help
20. Foster Adoption: Get Professional Help

In Delaware, you can complete a foster adoption either through a licensed agency or directly through the Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families.


To find and read reviews about adoption service providers in Delaware, visit Adoption.com’s Delaware page.

Becoming Part of the Foster Care System
21. Becoming Part of the Foster Care System

In Delaware, a child may be placed with hopeful adoptive parents before their biological parents’ rights have been terminated.

This is called a "legal risk" placement, meaning that is is possible that the child may return to live his/her birth family. However, these placements are not made unless the agency responsible for the child is actively pursuing the termination of his/her birth parents’ rights.

During a placement like this, you will be considered a foster parent and will need to meet all the requirements for foster parents in the state of Delaware.

Other children are legally free and clear for adoption and would not be considered a “legal risk” placement.

Foster Adoption: Post-Adoption Contact Agreements
22. Foster Adoption: Post-Adoption Contact Agreements

A post-adoption contact agreement is a voluntary agreement that determines the amount of contact birth and adoptive families have after the adoption becomes final.

In Delaware, post-adoption contact agreements are not legally enforceable under the statutes reviewed.

Foster Adoption: Finalization
23. Foster Adoption: Finalization

The child must live with hopeful adoptive parents for at least 6 months before the adoption becomes final.


SOURCE: Tit. 13, § 904

Adoption Assistance
24. Adoption Assistance

Financial aid is available for hopeful adoptive parents wishing to adopt a child with special needs. Federal (Title IV-E) and state (often called non-IV-E) adoption assistance programs are designed to help parents meet their adopted children’s varied, and often costly, needs.

The amount you receive varies greatly depending upon your child’s specific needs and circumstances. In order to be eligible, your child must meet one of the following criteria considered to be a barrier for adoption:

-At least 8 years old
-Member of minority race or ethnic background
-Member of sibling group of 2 or more to be adopted together
-Mental or emotional conditions verified by a health professional
-Medical condition, physical condition, or disease that requires ongoing treatment

For monthly assistance rates and state contacts information please visit NACAC.org.

SOURCE: http://www.nacac.org/adoptionsubsidy/stateprofiles/delaware.html

Foster Adoption: Adopting in Delaware from Out-of-State
25. Foster Adoption: Adopting in Delaware from Out-of-State

In adopting a child from foster care, there are opportunities to adopt a child from a different state. If this is the case, you will need to comply with the requirements of The Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children.

The Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) was adopted in the 1960s to provide for oversight and protection of children placed for foster care or adoption between states.

If you are adopting a child from another state, you will need to receive permission from the ICPC office in the state where the child is from. Your agency or attorney will send the office copies of your home study and some other paperwork. They will need to approve your packet before you can bring your child home.

Read more about the ICPC.

Foster Adoption: Traveling to Delaware from Out-of-State
26. Foster Adoption: Traveling to Delaware from Out-of-State

The health of the adopted child and the length of court procedures will determine the length of your stay in Delaware. Hotels in Delaware average around $110 a night.

Places to visit in Delaware:
-Dover International Speedway
-Rehoboth Beach
-Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library
-Air Mobility Command Museum
-Brandywine Zoo

International Adoption in Delaware
27. International Adoption in Delaware

Before you get started, familiarize yourself with the overall process of international adoption. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back here to get the details about international adoption in Delaware.

International Adoption: Photolisting
28. International Adoption: Photolisting

There are millions of beautiful children across the world who are hoping to find a forever family.

Meet some of them through our Photolisting.

International Adoption: Get Professional Help
29. International Adoption: Get Professional Help

With international adoptions, your only choice is to complete your adoption through an agency. Because of the Universal Accreditation Act, all adoption agencies completing international adoptions are required to be credentialed according to federal standards.

Make sure to check with any agency before working with them to ensure they have this accreditation in place!

In selecting an international adoption agency, there are Four Essential Criteria you should probably consider. Check out this directory to browse through reviews of adoption agencies in Delaware.

In order to be approved to adopt internationally, you will need to complete an international adoption-specific home study.

International Adoption: Post Adoption Requirements
30. International Adoption: Post Adoption Requirements

In order for a child adopted from a different country to enter the United States, adoptive parents must meet all requirements set by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the country in which the child resides, and occasionally the adoptive parents’ State of residence.

As part of this process you will need to request a U.S. visa first so the child can enter the States, and then a birth certificate once a final decree of adoption comes through. Although readoption in the U.S. is not always a requirement depending upon the type of visa, many adoption professionals recommend this option to protect the child.

Application for a U.S. Visa
Depending upon the status of the child’s home country, adoptive parents will need to first fill out form I-800A(Hague Convention country) or I-600A(non Convention country). This application demonstrates that you are capable to adopt a child and consists of a USCIS form, home study, and application fee.

The type of visa you apply for depends upon the child’s country of origin. If the child is from a Hague Convention country, fill out form DS-260 to be sent to the Embassy or Consulate who issues the immigrant visa. This step comes before receiving an adoption order.

If the child is from a non Hague Convention country, adoptive parents file for either an IR-3 visa or IR-4 visa.

IR-3 visas are issued when the adoption is completed and finalized abroad, and the adoptive parents have seen the child before finalization in the child’s home country. In this case readoption is not required, and the child entering the States automatically becomes a U.S. citizen.

IR-4 visas are issued when an adoption is to be completed in the U.S. after the child arrives in the States. This usually occurs when parents are unable to visit the child in their home country. The child will become a citizen only when the adoption is finalized in the States and a parent-child relationship has been established.

Application for a U.S. birth certificate
After the final adoption decree, the clerk of the court files with the State Registrar required information along with the decree in order to receive a U.S. birth certificate for the child.

After receiving a copy of final adoption decree, the State Registrar creates a new certificate stating the child’s new name and the name of the parents.

In the event that a child from a foreign country enters the U.S. but has no way of securing a record of birth from the foreign country, the State Registrar can issue a special certificate if the parents provide sufficient evidence of the child’s birth.

SOURCE: Tit. 13, § 927(a)-(b)

Stepparent Adoption in Delaware
31. Stepparent Adoption in Delaware

Before you get started, familiarize yourself with the overall process of stepparent adoption. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back here to get the details about stepparent adoption in Delaware.

Stepparent Adoption: Terminating Parental Rights
32. Stepparent Adoption: Terminating Parental Rights

In order for you to adopt the child of your spouse, the corresponding parental rights will first need to be terminated, either voluntarily or involuntarily.

You will need to consult with an adoption attorney about your desire to adopt. He/she can help you decide if it’s likely that the biological parent would be willing to relinquish rights OR if it would be feasible to pursue involuntary termination of his/her parental rights.

Stepparent Adoption: Petitioning to Adopt
33. Stepparent Adoption: Petitioning to Adopt

Once parental rights have been terminated, you can file a petition to adopt with the courts. You and your spouse will both testify in court regarding the stability of your marital relationship, the bond you’ve developed with your stepchild, and your desire to become the legal parent of your stepchild.

You will generally not be required to complete a background check or home study as part of the stepparent adoption process.

Works Cited
35. Works Cited

http://www.adoptuskids.org/adoption-and-foster-care/how-to-adopt-and-foster/state-information/delaware

https://travel.state.gov/content/adoptionsabroad/en/about-us/statistics.html

http://kids.delaware.gov/fs/fostercare_requirements.shtml

http://delcode.delaware.gov/title13/c009/sc01/

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Kenneth Knudson


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