TITLE 13

Domestic Relations

CHAPTER 9. ADOPTION

Subchapter I. Minors


For the purposes of this chapter:

(1) "Adoptee" means a person whose birth parent's or parents' rights were terminated or who has been adopted in this State.

(2) "Adult adoptee" means an adoptee who is 18 years of age or older.

(3) "Authorized agency" means any agency duly approved, certified, recognized or licensed by the proper authority of any other state or country in which that agency is located to place children for adoption.

(4) "Birth parent" means:

a. The biological mother of a child;

b. The named father of a child who consented to the termination of his parental rights; or

c. The father whose paternity is presumed pursuant to Chapter 8 of this title.

(5) "Child" means any male or female who has not attained his or her eighteenth birthday.

(6) "Department" means the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families of this State.

(7) "Identified adoption" means an adoption in which the birth parents and adoptive parents first know each other, without the services or assistance of an intermediary, and then seek placement or adoption services from the Department, a licensed agency or an authorized agency.

(8) "Identifying information" means any data, including that described in § 929 of this title, that can distinguish a party to the adoption from the general public, and shall include, for purposes of subchapter III of this chapter, the full name, full address and birth date of the birth parent or parents and birth sibling or siblings, if any, as well as any other known names and addresses used by the birth parent or parents, birth sibling or siblings or the adoptee.

(9) "Intermediary" means any person for compensation and in his or her professional capacity, firm, corporation, organization or other legal entity, except the Department or a licensed agency, which in any way acts, or offers to act, as a link between a birth parent and an adoptive family in any proposed placement of a child or any person who receives remuneration for so acting or offering to act.

(10) "Legally free" means that there has been a prior termination or transfer of parental rights by judicial order.

(11) "Legally separated" means any person or persons who, by a decree of the appropriate court of any other state of the United States, other than a decree of absolute divorce, entered in accordance with the laws of that state, has been accorded the right to reside separate and apart from his or her spouse, or is a party to a decree of divorce from bed and board or its equivalent.

(12) "Licensed agency" means any agency granted a license by the Department to provide adoption services in the State.

(13) "Original birth certificate" means the certificate issued at the time of birth of the child which contains identifying information regarding birth parents and the child's full name at birth and which may provide such details as the time and place of birth.

(14) "To place" includes any of the following activities, each of which may be performed only by the Department, a licensed agency or an authorized agency: The selection of an approved family for the child; the arrangement for the child's move into an adoptive home; or the relocation of the child with an adoptive family.

Code 1935, § 3550; 41 Del. Laws, c. 187, § 1; 43 Del. Laws, c. 207, § 1; 48 Del. Laws, c. 134, § 1; 13 Del. C. 1953, § 901; 57 Del. Laws, c. 363, § 1; 59 Del. Laws, c. 466, §§ 1, 2; 60 Del. Laws, c. 241, § 1; 62 Del. Laws, c. 420, §§ 1, 2; 64 Del. Laws, c. 108, § 6; 68 Del. Laws, c. 259, § 1; 69 Del. Laws, c. 433, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) Family Court shall have jurisdiction of proceedings under this chapter.

(b) A petition for adoption shall be filed either in the Family Court of the county in which the licensed or authorized agency placing the child is located, or the Family Court of the county in which the petitioner resides.

(c) In any case in which, before the proposed adoption has been finally approved or disapproved, the petitioner or petitioners move into a county other than the county in which the original petition was filed, or into another jurisdiction, the Family Court of the county in which the petition was originally filed may continue to exercise jurisdiction over the proceeding until a final decision has been rendered on the petition.

(d) Whenever the Family Court shall assume jurisdiction for the purposes of terminating parental rights over a child, it shall be deemed to have retained jurisdiction for the purposes of proceeding under this chapter for the adoption.

Code 1935, § 3551; 41 Del. Laws, c. 187, § 1; 48 Del. Laws, c. 134, § 2; 13 Del. C. 1953, § 902; 57 Del. Laws, c. 363, § 2; 57 Del. Laws, c. 402, § 2; 60 Del. Laws, c. 241, § 2; 62 Del. Laws, c. 402, § 1; 68 Del. Laws, c. 259, § 1.;

An unmarried person or a husband and wife jointly, who are not legally separated or who are not living apart from each other, or a divorced or legally separated person, being a resident of the State at the time of filing the petition or with whom a child has been placed for adoption under § 904 of this title, and being over 21 years of age, may petition the Family Court for an order authorizing the petitioner or petitioners to adopt a child not his, hers or theirs. Nothing herein shall in any way affect the right of any person to adopt a person who has reached age 18 as provided in subchapter II of this chapter.

Code 1935, § 3551; 41 Del. Laws, c. 187, § 1; 48 Del. Laws, c. 134, § 2; 13 Del. C. 1953, § 903; 49 Del. Laws, c. 385; 57 Del. Laws, c. 402, § 2; 59 Del. Laws, c. 466, § 3; 62 Del. Laws, c. 402, § 1; 68 Del. Laws, c. 259, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) No petition for adoption shall be presented unless prior to the filing of the petition the child sought to be adopted has been placed for adoption by the Department, a licensed agency or an authorized agency, and the placement has been supervised by the Department or a licensed agency, but no such placement or supervision shall be necessary in the case of:

(1) A child sought to be adopted by a stepparent;

(2) A child sought to be adopted by a blood relative, except as provided in § 926 of this title;

(3) A child sought to be adopted by a guardian or permanent guardian so long as guardianship or permanent guardianship has been granted for at least 6 months prior to filing the adoption petition.

(b) No placement for an identified adoption in which an intermediary has been involved shall be approved or permitted by the Department or a licensed agency.

(c) No child shall be placed for adoption in this State pursuant to § 926 of this title unless the placement is approved and supervised by the Department or a licensed agency.

(d) When the prospective adoptive parents are legal residents of the State, but live elsewhere, the approval and supervision required by this section shall be provided by an authorized agency located in close proximity to the family, as will the social report required by § 912 of this title.

(e) An adoptive placement shall not be made until a preplacement evaluation that complies with the Delaware Requirements for Child Placing Agencies has been completed by the Department or licensed agency.

Code 1935, § 3551A; 48 Del. Laws, c. 134, § 3; 13 Del. C. 1953, § 904; 57 Del. Laws, c. 363, § 3; 64 Del. Laws, c. 108, § 6; 68 Del. Laws, c. 259, § 1; 73 Del. Laws, c. 171, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 32, § 1.;

In any case where the Department or a licensed agency refuses to place a child for adoption when requested by the parent of the child, or refuses the request of any person that a child be placed with him or her for adoption, or terminates any placement prior to adoption contrary to the wishes of the birth parent or prospective adoptive parent of the child, the decision of the Department or a licensed agency in so refusing or so terminating shall be final unless within 30 days after notice of refusal or termination, the birth parent or proposed adoptive parent shall appeal to the Family Court of the county in which the adoption is proposed. The Department or licensed agency shall not remove a child who is legally free for adoption from an adoptive placement prior to the adoption without good cause.

Code 1935, § 3551K; 48 Del. Laws, c. 134, § 3; 13 Del. C. 1953, § 905; 51 Del. Laws, c. 143, § 1; 57 Del. Laws, c. 402, § 2; 62 Del. Laws, c. 402, § 1; 64 Del. Laws, c. 108, § 6; 68 Del. Laws, c. 259, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

The petition shall state:

(1) The name, address and marital status of the petitioner or petitioners;

(2) The sex and date of birth of the child whose adoption is sought;

(3) The relationship of the petitioner to the child;

(4) The name of the person, persons or organization legally qualified to consent to the adoption and the basis for the existence in such person, persons or organization of the right to so consent;

(5) The date of the child's placement in the adoptive home, or, in the case of a child to be adopted by a stepparent, the date of the marriage of the stepparent and the child's natural parent;

(6) The name to be assumed by the child upon adoption;

(7) If, in the case of an adoption by a stepparent or blood relative, there has not been a prior legal termination of parental rights, the petition shall also include:

a. The name and residence of the mother and natural father or any presumed father, as defined in Chapter 8 of this title, of the child whose adoption is sought. If either or both parents are deceased, a statement to that effect, with a certified copy of the death certificate or certificates attached.

b. The mother's marital status at the time of the child's conception and birth. In the event that the mother was not married at the time of the child's conception or birth, or in the event that she was married at the time of the child's conception or birth but her husband at those times is not the child's natural father, an affidavit by the mother setting forth either:

1. The name and last known address of the natural father; or

2. A statement that the mother knows the name of the natural father but is unwilling to disclose the name of the natural father; or

3. A statement that the mother does not know the name of the natural father; or

4. The name of the natural father, and a statement that the mother has never known his address.

c. In the case of a stepparent adoption where the petitioner is the wife of the alleged natural father and the child to be adopted has been born out of wedlock to the father and another woman, evidence of paternity blood testing which does not exclude the alleged natural father.

(8) In the case of a child being brought into this State from another state or country for adoption in this State, proof of compliance with all requirements of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, as set out in Chapter 3 of Title 31, relating to such placement.

(9) After execution of the petition by the petitioner or petitioners, there shall be attached so as to preserve the confidential nature of the information contained therein, as required by § 923 of this title, the exhibits set out in paragraphs (7)a., b. and c. of this section; provided, however, that confidentiality is not required in the case of a petition by a stepparent or blood relative or where the birth parent or parents and adoptive parent or parents have exchanged identifying information as provided in § 929 of this title and copies of the written agreements required thereunder are attached:

a. The birth certificate of the child.

b. The legal name of the child whose adoption is being sought.

c. All required consents, or facts justifying the absence of consent, or a certified copy of the Court order terminating or transferring parental rights.

(10) All petitions for adoption filed shall have attached thereto affidavits of the petitioners stating the amount of the service fee charged by all agencies and any other expenses paid by the adopting family in the adoption process, and attesting that no intermediary assisted in locating the child.

Code 1935, § 3551B; 48 Del. Laws, c. 134, § 3; 13 Del. C. 1953, § 906; 55 Del. Laws, c. 248, § 1; 57 Del. Laws, c. 363, § 4; 59 Del. Laws, c. 466, § 4; 60 Del. Laws, c. 241, §§ 3, 4; 68 Del. Laws, c. 259, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) A petition for adoption shall contain a consent to the proposed adoption. The consent shall be in writing, notarized and attached to the petition as an exhibit. If consent is obtained or given outside this State, it must be executed in accordance with this section and § 908 of this title.

(b) A written consent to adoption, duly acknowledged, must be given by any child 14 years of age or over unless the Court, upon further investigation or inquiry, deems it to be in the best interest of the child that such consent be waived. Such consent, when obtained, shall be attached to the petition as an exhibit thereto.

Code 1935, § 3551C; 48 Del. Laws, c. 134, § 3; 13 Del. C. 1953, § 907; 57 Del. Laws, c. 363, § 5; 59 Del. Laws, c. 466, § 5; 68 Del. Laws, c. 259, § 1.;

(a) Except in the case of an adoption by a stepparent or blood relative, no petition for adoption shall be filed unless the child to be adopted is legally free for adoption. The consent to the adoption shall be granted by the Department or by the licensed or authorized agency in whom the parental rights are vested.

(b) In the case of an adoption by a stepparent or blood relative, the consent to the adoption shall be granted as follows:

(1) By mother of a child; and

(2) The biological father and any presumed father of a child; provided, however, that the consent of the alleged biological father or presumed father need not contain an admission that he is the father. In the event that the named biological or presumed father disclaims paternity, an affidavit signed by him to that effect shall be attached to the petition in lieu of a consent from the natural or presumed father. It is further provided that in the event of a petition containing statements described in § 906(7)b.1., 3. or 4. of this title, after a hearing in which it is established on the record that the mother and father of the child are not living together as husband and wife openly and that they have not done so nor married since the birth of the child, the Court may, following consideration of the social report, dispense with the requirement of the father's consent in compliance with § 932 of this title.

(3) If, in the case of an adoption by a stepparent or blood relative, any person from whom consent is required is deceased, a certified copy of the death certificate of such person shall be filed with the petition in lieu of consent.

(c) If the individual in whom the right to consent exists is under the age of 18 years, this fact shall not be a bar to the giving of consent nor render the consent when given invalid.

Code 1935, § 3551C; 48 Del. Laws, c. 134, § 3; 13 Del. C. 1953, § 908; 57 Del. Laws, c. 363, § 6; 59 Del. Laws, c. 466, § 6; 61 Del. Laws, c. 178, § 1; 68 Del. Laws, c. 259, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

In any case in which consent has been given in accordance with the provisions of § 907 of this title, and the person, Department, licensed agency, authorized agency or child over age 14 giving the consent desires to withdraw the consent, he or she shall file, within 60 days from the date of the filing of the adoption petition containing the consent, a petition asking the Court to revoke his or her consent and dismiss the adoption petition. The Family Court shall refer the petition to revoke and dismiss to the Department or licensed agency, and the Department or licensed agency shall, within 30 days of the reference, make a formal report thereon to the Court. Promptly upon receipt of the report, the Court shall rule upon the petition to revoke and dismiss.

Code 1935, § 3551D; 48 Del. Laws, c. 134, § 3; 13 Del. C. 1953, § 909; 57 Del. Laws, c. 402, § 2; 62 Del. Laws, c. 402, § 1; 64 Del. Laws, c. 108, § 6; 68 Del. Laws, c. 259, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

In any case in which the petition to adopt is withdrawn, the Court may order the removal of the child from the prospective adoptive home if, in the opinion of the Court, such removal is in the best interest of the child. If such a removal is ordered, the Court shall include in the order a grant of authority to the Department or to a licensed agency to make the removal and to provide for the future disposition of the child.

Code 1935, § 3551D; 48 Del. Laws, c. 134, § 3; 13 Del. C. 1953, § 910; 64 Del. Laws, c. 108, § 6; 68 Del. Laws, c. 259, § 1.;

(a) If either natural parent, in a notarized statement made prior to the placement for adoption, specifies the religion in which he or she desires the child to be raised, the Department or licensed agency shall make placement in accordance with such statement. If the natural parents declare indifference to the religion in which the child should be reared, or if their religion is not known, or if there is none, then the Department or licensed agency shall make placement without regard to religion.

(b) If the proposed adoptive parent is a stepparent or blood relative, there shall be no restriction regarding the religious affiliation.

(c) Whenever the provisions as set forth in subsection (a) of this section appear to create a hardship for the child to be adopted in obtaining a suitable and prompt placement, the Family Court, in its discretion, may waive these requirements in the best interest of the child.

Code 1935, § 3551E; 48 Del. Laws, c. 134, § 3; 13 Del. C. 1953, § 911; 56 Del. Laws, c. 323; 57 Del. Laws, c. 402, § 2; 62 Del. Laws, c. 402, § 1; 68 Del. Laws, c. 259, § 1.;

(a) Upon the filing of a petition for adoption, the Judge of the Family Court in which the petition has been filed, after determining that the petition has been properly filed and that the petitioner or petitioners are eligible to adopt under this chapter, shall order a social study report by the Department or licensed agency or authorized agency unless the report was filed with the petition.

(b) The report shall include:

(1) Information regarding the child, its background, its eligibility for adoption;

(2) Information regarding the adoptive parent or parents, and the proposed adoptive home;

(3) Information regarding the physical and mental condition of the child;

(4) Information regarding the suitability of the placement;

(5) A statement as to whether all requirements of this chapter have been complied with;

(6) In stepparent/relative cases, a statement that the birth parent whose parental rights are being terminated has been advised of the right to file an affidavit as provided by subchapter III of this chapter;

(7) A recommendation.

(c) If the placement is made by the Department or licensed agency, the report shall be rendered within 60 days from the receipt of the order for the report unless the report is filed with the petition for adoption. In the case of adoption by a stepparent or blood relative, the report is to be rendered within 60 days following the completion of the social study, and shall include a statement of the cost of the study.

(d) If the Court orders any further social investigation or any supplement of the social report, any such investigation shall be conducted and a supplement shall be prepared by the Department or the licensed or authorized agency party to the proceedings.

Code 1935, § 3551F; 48 Del. Laws, c. 134, § 3; 13 Del. C. 1953, § 912; 51 Del. Laws, c. 143, § 2; 55 Del. Laws, c. 248, § 2; 57 Del. Laws, c. 402, § 2; 59 Del. Laws, c. 466, § 7; 62 Del. Laws, c. 402, §§ 1, 8; 64 Del. Laws, c. 108, § 6; 67 Del. Laws, c. 106, § 3; 68 Del. Laws, c. 259, § 1; 69 Del. Laws, c. 433, § 9.;

(a) A petition for adoption may be filed when the requirements of § 904 of this title have been met, the child is legally free for adoption, and the adoptive placement of the child has been supervised for a period of 6 months by the Department or licensed agency.

(b) In the case of a child to be adopted by a stepparent, guardian, permanent guardian or a blood relative, the petition for adoption shall be filed only after the child has resided in the home of the petitioner for at least 1 year; except that, on recommendation of the Department or licensed agency, a petition may be filed after 6 month's continuous residence of the child in the petitioner's home. In the case of adoption by a stepparent, guardian, permanent guardian or blood relative, it is not necessary that the child be legally free prior to the filing of the petition.

Code 1935, § 3551G; 48 Del. Laws, c. 134, § 3; 13 Del. C. 1953, § 913; 51 Del. Laws, c. 143, § 3; 59 Del. Laws, c. 466, § 8; 60 Del. Laws, c. 241, § 5; 64 Del. Laws, c. 108, § 10; 68 Del. Laws, c. 259, § 1; 73 Del. Laws, c. 171, § 2; 77 Del. Laws, c. 32, § 2.;

(a) In the event of the death of a sole petitioner, or of both petitioners, the proceedings shall abate and the petition shall be dismissed.

(b) When, after a petition for adoption has been filed, 1 of 2 petitioners dies, or as a result of divorce, annulment or separation, legal or otherwise, the petitioners would no longer be qualified to petition jointly, the proceedings shall be stayed. The Family Court in which the petition was originally filed shall then decide on the basis of a report to be obtained by it from the Department or licensed agency, whether the proceedings shall continue or whether the petition should be dismissed.

Code 1935, § 3551O; 48 Del. Laws, c. 134, § 3; 13 Del. C. 1953, § 914; 57 Del. Laws, c. 402, § 2; 62 Del. Laws, c. 402, § 1; 64 Del. Laws, c. 108, § 6; 68 Del. Laws, c. 259, § 1.;

(a) Within 60 days from the date of the receipt by the Court of the report, the Court shall render a decision upon the petition. If the Court is of the opinion that the petitioner or petitioners are qualified properly to maintain, care for and educate the child, that the child is suitable for adoption and that the best interest of the child will be promoted by the adoption, a decree of adoption shall be entered. If the Court is of the opinion that such a decree should not be entered, it shall notify the petitioner or petitioners and, if requested by any petitioner, it shall order a hearing to which all interested parties shall be duly summoned, and, based upon the report and evidence adduced at the hearing, the Court shall issue its decree granting or refusing the prayer of the petitioner.

(b) At any time after the report has been filed but prior to the Court's rendering a decision, the Court may order the removal of the child from the proposed adoptive home if, in the opinion of the Court, such removal is in the best interest of the child. If such a removal is ordered, the Court shall include in the order a grant of authority to the Department or to a licensed agency, to make the removal and to provide for the future disposition of the child.

(c) The decree of adoption shall state:

(1) The name by which the child is henceforth to be known;

(2) The sex and age of the child;

(3) The name of the child at the time the petition was filed.

(d) Upon the entry of a decree of adoption the Clerk of Court shall issue to the adopting parent or parents a certificate of adoption stating the date of the decree, the age and sex of the child, the name by which the child is henceforth to be known, and the names of the adopting parent or parents. Neither the original name of the child nor the names of the birth parents shall be included in the certificate of adoption.

Code 1935, § 3551H; 48 Del. Laws, c. 134, § 3; 13 Del. C. 1953, § 915; 55 Del. Laws, c. 248, §§ 3, 4; 57 Del. Laws, c. 402, § 2; 60 Del. Laws, c. 241, § 7; 62 Del. Laws, c. 402, § 2; 64 Del. Laws, c. 108, § 6; 68 Del. Laws, c. 259, § 1.;

The costs in all cases of adoption under this chapter shall be taxed by the Court on the person or persons filing the petition, and they shall pay the same to the Clerk of Court.

17 Del. Laws, c. 612, § 4; Code 1915, § 3066; Code 1935, § 3552; 13 Del. C. 1953, § 916; 62 Del. Laws, c. 402, § 2; 68 Del. Laws, c. 259, § 1.;

(a) Appeal from any order or decree entered in any adoption proceedings shall lie to the Supreme Court. No appeal shall lie from any order or decree involving proceedings for adoption unless taken within 30 days from the date of such order or decree.

(b) The Department, licensed agency or any person party to the proceedings may file such appeal.

(c) In any case in which the effect of the decision of the Supreme Court, on appeal, is to deny the petition for adoption, the Supreme Court shall remand the cause to the Family Court for a determination as to whether or not the child shall remain in the proposed adoptive home. If a removal is ordered, the Family Court shall include in the order a grant of authority to the Department or a licensed agency to make the removal and to provide for the future disposition of the child.

Code 1935, § 3551L; 48 Del. Laws, c. 134, § 3; 13 Del. C. 1953, § 917; 57 Del. Laws, c. 402, § 2; 62 Del. Laws, c. 402, § 1; 64 Del. Laws, c. 108, § 6; 68 Del. Laws, c. 259, § 1.;

Upon the expiration of 6 months from the date of the entry of the decree of adoption, any irregularities in the proceedings shall be deemed cured, and the validity of such decree shall not thereafter be subject to attack either through collateral or direct proceedings.

Code 1935, § 3551L; 48 Del. Laws, c. 134, § 3; 13 Del. C. 1953, § 918; 68 Del. Laws, c. 259, § 1; 73 Del. Laws, c. 171, § 3.;

(a) Upon the issuance of the decree of adoption, the adopted child shall be considered the child of the adopting parent or parents, entitled to the same rights and privileges and subject to the same duties and obligations as if he or she had been born to the adopting parent or parents.

(b) Upon the issuance of a decree of adoption, the adopted child shall no longer be considered the child of his or her birth parent or parents and shall no longer be entitled to any of the rights or privileges or subject to any of the duties or obligations of a child with respect to the birth parent or parents; but, when a child is adopted by a stepparent his or her relationship to his or her birth parent who is married to the stepparent shall in no way be altered by reason of the adoption.

Code 1935, § 3551I; 48 Del. Laws, c. 134, § 3; 13 Del. C. 1953, § 919; 68 Del. Laws, c. 259, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.;

(a) Upon the issuance of a decree of adoption, the adopted child shall lose all rights of inheritance from its natural parent or parents and from their collateral or lineal relatives. The rights of the natural parent or parents or their collateral or lineal relatives to inherit from such child shall cease upon the adoption.

(b) Upon the issuance of a decree of adoption, the adopted child shall acquire the right to inherit from its adoptive parent or parents and from the collateral or lineal relatives of such adoptive parent or parents, and the adoptive parent or parents and the collateral or lineal relatives of the adoptive parent or parents shall at the same time acquire the right to inherit from the adopted child.

(c) Nothing contained in this section shall limit in any way the right of any person to provide for the disposition of his or her property by will. The rights of a child adopted after the making of a will by the adopting parent or parents shall be the same as the rights of an after-born child, as prescribed in § 301 of Title 12. When the adopting parent is a stepparent, married to the birth or legal parent, nothing contained in this section shall affect the rights of inheritance between the child and the birth or legal parent or their collateral or lineal relatives.

Code 1935, § 3551J; 48 Del. Laws, c. 134, § 3; 13 Del. C. 1953, § 920; 68 Del. Laws, c. 259, § 1.;

(a) Upon the entry of a decree of adoption, the Clerk of the Family Court shall forward to the Department of Health and Social Services, Office of Vital Statistics, a report on the form provided for this purpose, which shall include the following information:

(1) Prior legal name of the child and his or her sex;

(2) Date and place of birth of the child;

(3) Name of the father as stated on the original birth certificate, if stated;

(4) If applicable, that father's primary address and Social Security number;

(5) Maiden name of birth mother;

(6) Birth mother's primary address and Social Security number;

(7) Child's name after adoption;

(8) Name of adoptive father, place and date of his birth, and his occupation;

(9) Maiden name of adoptive mother, place and date of her birth, and her occupation; and

(10) Address of adoptive parents.

(b) If the adoptive child was born in another state, the Clerk of the Family Court in which the order was entered shall forward the same information to the Bureau of Vital Statistics, or like agency, in the state of the child's birth.

Code 1935, § 3551M; 48 Del. Laws, c. 134, § 3; 13 Del. C. 1953, § 921; 57 Del. Laws, c. 402, § 2; 59 Del. Laws, c. 466, § 9; 62 Del. Laws, c. 402, § 1; 68 Del. Laws, c. 259, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 481, § 4.;

(a) If a child born in this State is adopted in this State or in another state, the State Registrar shall file a new certificate of birth upon receipt of a certified copy of the decree of adoption from the proper authorities of the state in which the adoption took place.

(b) If the adopted child was born outside this State, and a certificate of birth cannot be secured from the place of birth, the State Registrar may file and issue a special birth certificate as herein provided, upon receipt from the agency responsible for the adoption of evidence of the birth, considered satisfactory by the Registrar.

Code 1935, § 3551M; 48 Del. Laws, c. 134, § 3; 13 Del. C. 1953, § 922; 68 Del. Laws, c. 259, § 1.;

(a) Except as provided in subchapter III of this chapter, all information regarding any adoption which is furnished to any State Registrar shall be confidential and not open to public inspection. The names of the biological or previous legal parent or parents or the former name of the child shall not be furnished to the adoptive parents, nor shall the name of the adoptive parents be furnished to the biological or previous legal parent or parents and, after the entry of the decree of adoption, the original record of birth shall be impounded and all birth certificates shall be issued in the adoptive name only, if a new name has been assumed, and shall contain no reference to the former name or background or the fact of adoption.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provision in the Delaware Code to the contrary, an adoptee 21 years of age or older may obtain a copy of his or her original record of birth from the State Registrar pursuant to § 3110(b) of Title 16, even if that record has been impounded. This section shall not apply if the birth parent has, within the most recent 3-year period, filed a written notarized statement with the Department of Health and Social Services Office of Vital Statistics denying the release of any identifying information.

(c) If an adoptee 21 years of age or older seeks vital records about any event occurring before January 18, 1999, the Office of Vital Statistics shall consult Family Court to determine whether there is an affidavit on file expressing a desire by either birthparent to keep information about the adoption confidential.

(1) If there is an affidavit on file with Family Court authorizing the release of information, the Office of Vital Statistics shall request a copy of the affidavit and, upon receipt of the affidavit, release the authorized records.

(2) If there is an affidavit on file with Family Court denying the release of information, or if there is no affidavit on file with Family Court, the Office of Vital Statistics shall send notice, as described below, by United States mail to the birthparent or birthparents.

a. The Office of Vital Statistics shall search a computerized telephone or address database, as well as Delaware's Division of Motor Vehicles and voter records in order to determine the most likely address of the birthparent. Such notice shall be sent to that address. If no current address is available, then notice shall be sent to the last known address for the birthparent or birthparents. Such notification shall be mailed within 30 days from when the adoptee requested release of the records.

b. The Office of Vital Statistics shall notify the birthparent or birthparents of the legal requirements for maintaining confidentiality and shall provide them with the appropriate forms. The Office of Vital Statistics shall also advise the birthparent or birthparents that in the event that a written notarized statement denying the release of information is not received within 35 days from the date of the mailing of the notification required in paragraph (c)(1)a. of this section then the Office of Vital Statistics will release the records to the adoptee.

1. If the Office of Vital Statistics receives a written notarized statement denying the release of information, then it shall not release the records.

2. If no such written statement is received within 35 days from the date of the mailing of the notification required in paragraph (c)(1)a. of this section or if the birthparent or birthparents specifically authorizes release, then the Office of Vital Statistics shall release the records to the adoptee.

Code 1935, § 3551M; 48 Del. Laws, c. 134, § 3; 13 Del. C. 1953, § 923; 68 Del. Laws, c. 259, § 1; 69 Del. Laws, c. 433, § 3; 71 Del. Laws, c. 481, § 5; 72 Del. Laws, c. 1, § 1; 74 Del. Laws, c. 110, § 139.;

Except as provided in subchapter III of this chapter, all court records of any adoption shall be treated as strictly confidential and shall be kept by the Clerk of the Court in a sealed container which shall be opened only upon the order of the Judge of Family Court concerned. Nothing in this section shall be construed in such a way as to restrict the Department or licensed agency from releasing nonidentifying information in its records to any of the parties to the adoption. Except as otherwise provided in § 929 and subchapter III of this title, identifying information, such as names and addresses, shall not be released except by order of the Court or with the consent of all the parties involved when it is deemed by the agency to be in the adoptee's best interest, except in cases where the adopted individual's health or the health of any blood relative of the adopted individual is concerned and the adoption agency has refused to release the health information to the individual, the Court may, through petition by the adopted individual, permit the party to inspect only that part of the adoption agency or Court record containing medical information for health reasons. The Court shall order open to inspection by the individual the part of the record containing the needed medical information if the Court finds that any medical information in the Court or adoption agency record of the individual's adoption is needed for the health of the individual or of any blood relative of the individual. This section shall apply to information as to the identification and location of any biological sibling of the individual if the individual's health or the health of any blood relative of the individual depends on the sibling's participation in any medical treatment. If Family Court receives a report stating that a birth parent, another offspring of the birth parent or the adoptee has a genetically transmitted disorder or a family pattern of a disease, Family Court shall instruct the agency that was involved with the adoption or the termination of parental rights to conduct a diligent search for the adult adoptee, adoptive parents of a minor adoptee or birth parent or parents to inform them of the report.

Code 1935, § 3551N; 48 Del. Laws, c. 134, § 3; 13 Del. C. 1953, § 924; 57 Del. Laws, c. 402, § 2; 62 Del. Laws, c. 402, §§ 1, 2; 62 Del. Laws, c. 420, § 3; 64 Del. Laws, c. 108, § 10; 64 Del. Laws, c. 387, § 1; 67 Del. Laws, c. 106, § 2; 68 Del. Laws, c. 259, § 1; 69 Del. Laws, c. 433, §§ 3, 4.;

Except as provided in subchapter III of this chapter, anyone wishing to inspect any of the papers filed in connection with any adoption shall petition the Judge of the Family Court concerned setting forth the reasons for the inspection. The Judge shall refer the petition to the Department or licensed agency for investigation and recommendation. If in the opinion of the Court, the information is necessary, and the interest of the adopted individual, the biological or previous legal parent or parents or of the adoptive parents will not be prejudiced by its disclosure, the Court shall issue an order permitting the release of the information and setting forth the terms under which it shall be released.

Code 1935, § 3551N; 48 Del. Laws, c. 134, § 3; 13 Del. C. 1953, § 925; 57 Del. Laws, c. 402, § 2; 62 Del. Laws, c. 402, § 1; 64 Del. Laws, c. 108, § 6; 68 Del. Laws, c. 259, § 1; 69 Del. Laws, c. 341, § 1; 69 Del. Laws, c. 433, § 3.;

No child shall be brought or received into the State for the purpose of adoption without the approval of the Department, pursuant to § 381 of Title 31. No petition for adoption of a child brought or received into this State in violation of this section shall be presented or granted.

Code 1935, § 3551P; 48 Del. Laws, c. 134, § 3; 13 Del. C. 1953, § 926; 57 Del. Laws, c. 363, § 7; 60 Del. Laws, c. 241, § 6; 64 Del. Laws, c. 108, § 10; 68 Del. Laws, c. 259, § 1.;

(a) Adoptions finalized by a Court with appropriate jurisdiction in a foreign country or in another state or territory of the United States shall be valid in this State provided that the final adoption decree was issued in full accord with the adoption laws of that foreign country or that state or territory, and that the child was not brought into this State until after the finalization of adoption.

(b) No adoption proceeding or order therein which occurs in a foreign country or in another state or territory of the United States shall be valid or recognized by any court in this State as respects persons who are residents of this State where a child is brought into this State prior to the finalization of the adoption, unless the adoption proceedings shall be in substantial compliance with the adoption laws of this State. This subsection shall not apply to any adoption proceedings or order therein initiated in a foreign country or in another state or territory of the United States as respects persons who are not residents of this State at the time of the commencement of such adoption proceedings.

(c) Adoptive parents seeking an order certifying the validity of their foreign adoption decree shall file the decree with the Family Court in the county in which they reside. An affidavit shall be filed with the decree indicating that the decree was issued in accordance with the laws of the issuing jurisdiction and that the adopted child was not brought into Delaware until the adoption was finalized. Also included in the affidavit shall be the name by which the child is henceforth to be known. The Court shall review the affidavit, decree and other documents, and if the adoption meets the requirements of this section, the Court shall issue an order certifying the validity of the adoption including the child's American name.

Code 1915, § 3063; 38 Del. Laws, c. 162, § 1; Code 1935, §§ 3549, 3551P; 48 Del. Laws, c. 134, § 3; 13 Del. C. 1953, § 927; 68 Del. Laws, c. 259, § 1; 72 Del. Laws, c. 306, §§ 1, 2; 73 Del. Laws, c. 343, § 1.;

(a) No biological parent of any child whose adoption is proposed shall receive any contribution, fee, subsidy or emolument of any sort from any person or organization having any connection or association with the placement of the child for adoption or with the adoption.

(b) No person or organization who is in any way connected with an adoption shall receive any remuneration in connection therewith, except for court costs and legal services; provided, however, that the Department, licensed agency or authorized agency may charge a service fee for each adoption in an amount not exceeding the cost of services rendered, to be paid by the adopting parent or parents. The amount of any such fee shall be made a part of the petition as provided in § 906(10) of this title.

(c) The Department, in its discretion in accordance with federal law and the regulations and interpretations thereof, may award subsidy moneys to the adoptive parent of a child who was in Department custody prior to the adoption petition being filed. The amount and duration of the subsidy shall be in the sole discretion of the Department.

Code 1935, § 3551Q; 48 Del. Laws, c. 134, § 3; 13 Del. C. 1953, § 928; 51 Del. Laws, c. 143, § 4; 59 Del. Laws, c. 466, § 10; 68 Del. Laws, c. 259, § 1; 77 Del. Laws, c. 43, § 8.;

(a) As part of the adoption planning and placement process, the Department or licensed agency may provide, when in the best interest of the child, identifying information to the birth parent or parents and to the adoptive parent or parents as follows:

(1) In the preplacement planning of adoption for children, identifying information shall be limited to the viewing of photographs, provided that such viewing is with the consent of birth parent or parents and adoptive parent or parents and further provided that no additional identifying information is contained in the photographs;

(2) After the placement selection process has been completed, and prior to the finalization of the adoption, identifying information may include, but is not limited to, the exchange of names, addresses, photographs and face-to-face meetings, provided that:

a. The birth parent or parents and adoptive parent or parents request the exchange of identifying information in writing; and

b. Birth parent or parents and adoptive parent or parents and the Department or licensed agency agree to the exchange of identifying information as specified in writing; and

c. The birth parent or parents and adoptive parent or parents acknowledge in writing their understanding that no legal right of or assurance of continuing contact after finalization of the adoption exists; and

d. The birth parent or parents and adoptive parent or parents acknowledge in writing and under oath that there has been no violation of § 928 of this title.

(3) Written consent to the exchange of identifying information, duly acknowledged, must be given by any child 14 years of age or over unless the Department or licensed agency deems it to be in the best interest of the child that such consent be waived.

(b) The Department or licensed agency may participate in the exchange of identifying information after the finalization of the adoption only with the agreement of the parties required to consent in accordance with subchapter III of this chapter or an order of the Court.

67 Del. Laws, c. 106, § 1(b); 68 Del. Laws, c. 259, § 1; 69 Del. Laws, c. 433, § 5.;

No natural parent or prospective adoptive parent, nor anyone acting on behalf of such natural or prospective adoptive parent, and no person, firm, corporation, organization or other legal entity, except the Department or a licensed agency, shall advertise in this State regarding the availability of adoption services or for the placement of a child for the purpose of adoption.

68 Del. Laws, c. 259, § 1.;

Except as provided in this subchapter, whoever places a child in this State for the purpose of adoption, brings or receives a child from outside this State into this State for the purpose of adoption, advertises in this State regarding adoption services or for the placement of a child for the purpose of adoption, or acts as an intermediary for the purpose of adoption, shall be fined not more than $5,000, or shall be imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

68 Del. Laws, c. 259, § 1.;

This chapter is designed to achieve without undue delay the paramount objectives of the best interest of the child, and all questions of interpretation shall be resolved with that objective in mind. Where there appears to be a conflict between the best interest of the parent or parents and the child, the best interest of the child shall prevail.

59 Del. Laws, c. 466, § 13; 62 Del. Laws, c. 420, § 4; 67 Del. Laws, c. 106, § 1(a); 68 Del. Laws, c. 259, § 1.;