Completing Intercountry Adoptions Not Finalized Abroad - Delaware

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Requirements for Completing the Adoption

Citation: Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13; §§ 926; 927; 906; 913; 915

No child shall be brought or received into the State for the purpose of adoption without the approval of the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families, pursuant to § 381 of title 31 (Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children). No petition for adoption of a child brought or received into this State in violation of this section shall be presented or granted.

No adoption proceeding or order therein that occurs in a foreign country shall be valid or recognized by any court in this State as respects persons who are residents of this State when 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.

The adoption petition shall state the following:

  • The name, address, and marital status of the petitioners
  • The sex and date of birth of the child whose adoption is sought
  • The relationship of the petitioner to the child
  • 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
  • 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
  • The name to be assumed by the child upon adoption
  • 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 relating to such placement

In the case of a child to be adopted by a guardian, 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 months of continuous residence of the child in the petitioner's home. In the case of adoption by a guardian, it is not necessary that the child be legally free prior to the filing of the petition.

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 finds that the petitioners are properly qualified to maintain, care for, and educate the child; that the child is suitable for adoption; and that the best interests of the child will be promoted by the adoption, a decree of adoption shall be entered.

The decree of adoption shall state the following:

  • The name by which the child is henceforth to be known
  • The sex and age of the child
  • The name of the child at the time the petition was filed

Upon the entry of a decree of adoption, the clerk of court shall issue to the adopting 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 parents. Neither the original name of the child nor the names of the birth parents shall be included in the certificate of adoption.

Required Evidence/Documentation

Citation: Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13, § 906

The following documents shall be attached to the adoption petition:

  • The birth certificate of the child
  • The legal name of the child whose adoption is being sought
  • All required consents or facts justifying the absence of consent or a certified copy of the court order terminating or transferring parental rights

All petitions for adoption 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.

Background Studies

Citation: Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13, § 912

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 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. The report shall include the following:

  • Information regarding the child, the child's background, and his or her eligibility for adoption
  • Information regarding the adoptive parents and the proposed adoptive home
  • Information regarding the physical and mental condition of the child
  • Information regarding the suitability of the placement
  • A statement as to whether all requirements of this chapter have been complied with
  • A recommendation

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.

If the court orders any further social investigation or any supplement of the social report, the department or the licensed or authorized agency party to the proceedings shall conduct the investigation and prepare a supplement to the report.

Placement Supervision and Reporting

Citation: Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13, § 904

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. No such placement or supervision shall be necessary in the case of a child sought to be adopted by a guardian or permanent guardian as long as guardianship has been granted for at least 6 months prior to filing the adoption petition.

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. 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.

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.

Effect of Adoption Decree on Parental Rights

Citation: Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13, § 919

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.

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.

Obtaining a U.S. Birth Certificate

Citation: Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13, §§ 921; 922; Tit. 16, § 3126

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:

  • The prior legal name of the child and his or her sex
  • The date and place of birth of the child
  • The name of the father as stated on the original birth certificate, if stated
  • If applicable, that father's primary address and Social Security number
  • The maiden name of the birth mother
  • The birth mother's primary address and Social Security number
  • The child's name after adoption
  • The name of the adoptive father, place and date of his birth, and his occupation
  • The maiden name of the adoptive mother, place and date of her birth, and her occupation
  • The address of the adoptive parents

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.

Upon the issuance of a final decree of adoption or of an order certifying the validity of a foreign adoption, the clerk of the court in which the decree of adoption was made immediately shall file in the office of the State registrar, on forms provided by the State registrar for this purpose, a report setting forth the information required by § 921 of title 13, together with a certified copy of the final decree of adoption.

Upon receipt of the information, the State registrar shall file 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 birthplace of the child.

In the event of a child born outside of the United States and who is adopted in Delaware and for whom no certificate of birth can be secured from the nation of birth, the State registrar may file and issue a special certificate of birth in accordance with this chapter, provided the adopting parents can furnish evidence considered satisfactory by the State registrar of the facts and circumstances surrounding the birth of the child.