Delaware Adoption Laws and Policies


A single individual, a married couple, or a divorced or legally separated person. Adopting parent/s must be 21 years of age or older. If adoptee is 18 years or older, any individual or married couple may adopt.


Can adoptive parents advertise for birth parents? No.

Can out-of-state residents finalize an adoption? Yes.

Can adopting parents use an adoption facilitator or another paid intermediary? No.

What birth parent expenses may be paid, and in what time period? The only payments permitted are court costs and legal fees.

Is there a putative father registry? Yes.

When can consent to adoption be granted? Birth mother: any time after birth; birth father: any time.

When does consent become irrevocable? If consent is revoked, is return to birth parent automatic? 14 days after signing. Return automatic if parties agree.

Are post-adoption contact agreements legally enforceable? Not addressed in state statutes.


Is a foreign adoption decree automatically recognized by the state? Yes, if the adoption was finalized in accordance with law of that county and the child was not brought to the United States before the adoption was finalized.

Can parents readopt in this state? Is it mandatory? Yes, adoptive parents seeking an order certifying the validity of their foreign adoption decree may file the decree with the family court in the county in which they reside, along with an affidavit 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.

When will a U.S. birth certificate be issued? When a final decree of adoption or order certifying the validity of a foreign adoption is issued, the clerk of the court will provide the registrar with a certified copy of the final decree of adoption. The registrar then files a new certificate setting forth the adopted name and sex of the child, together with the names of the adopting parents and the actual birth date and birth place of the child. If, for a child born outside the United States who is adopted in Delaware, no certificate of birth can be secured from the nation of birth, the registrar may file and issue a special certificate of birth.


Are adoption subsidies available? When do they start and how long do they last? Yes, adoption subsidies are available for a special needs child who is legally free for adoption, in foster care, and in the custody of the state. A special needs child is defined as having at least one of the following: 8 years or older, member of a minority group, member of a sibling group of 2 or more children being placed together, mental or emotional conditions as documented by a professional, medical/physical handicap that requires continued treatment. Begins after adoption finalization.

Where can I learn more about the process of adopting a child from foster care in Delaware?


Who may access non-identifying information? The parties to the adoption.

Who may access identifying information? Identifying information may only be released to the birth parents or adoptive parents by order of the court or with the consent of all parties when it is deemed by the adoption agency to be in the adoptee’s best interests.

Can adoptees obtain their original birth certificates? An adoptee who is age 21 or older may request a copy of the original birth certificate unless the birth parent has filed an affidavit denying release of identifying information.


Program Manager: Frank Perfinski

Delaware Dept. of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families
1825 Faulkland Road
Wilmington, Delaware 19805-1195
Phone: (302) 633-2655
Fax: (302) 633-2652


DISCLAIMER: The state laws and policies outlined above are offered to readers only for general information and do not constitute legal advice. Furthermore, the state laws were accurate at the time of compilation, but The Current Initiative cannot guarantee that there have been no subsequent changes or revisions to the laws. Please do not rely on the information above without first consulting an adoption attorney licensed in your state. Updated in November 2014.