Delaware

Delaware

Adoption

Access to Adoption Records

Who May Access Information

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13, § 924Family information may be available to the following persons:

  • The adopted person who is age 21 or older
  • All other parties to an adoption

Access to Nonidentifying Information
Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13, § 924

The department or agency may release nonidentifying information in its records to the parties to the adoption.

Mutual Access to Identifying Information
Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13, §§ 924; 929; 962

Identifying information shall not be released except by order of the court or with the consent of all parties when it is deemed by the agency to be in the adopted person’s best interests. In cases where the adopted person’s health or the health of any blood relative is concerned and the adoption agency has refused to release the health information, the court may, through petition by the adopted person, permit the party to inspect only that part of the adoption agency or court record containing medical information if it is needed for the health of the person or of any blood relative of the person.As part of the adoption planning process, the department or agency may provide information to the birth parents and to the adoptive parents as follows:

  • In preplacement planning, identifying information shall be limited to the viewing of photographs, provided that such viewing is with the consent of birth parents and adoptive parents and that no additional identifying information is contained in the photographs.
  • After a placement has been completed, and prior to 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:
    • The birth parents and adoptive parents request the exchange of information in writing.
    • The birth parents, adoptive parents, and the department or agency agree to the exchange of information as specified in writing.
    • The birth parents and adoptive parents acknowledge in writing their understanding that no legal right or assurance of continuing contact after finalization of the adoption exists.

An adopted person who is age 21 or older may request an agency to assist in locating a birth relative. When the relative is located, he or she may make a no-contact declaration. If the declaration is not made, the agency may release the birth parent or sibling’s current name, address, and telephone number to the adopted person.

Access to Original Birth Certificate
Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13, § 923

An adopted person 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.

Where the Information Can Be Located

  • Adoption Registry, Delaware Office of Vital Statistics
  • The agency involved in the adoption

Collection of Family Information About Adopted Persons and Their Birth Families

Agency or Person Preparing the Report
Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13, § 912
Upon the filing of a petition for adoption, the court shall order a social study report that shall be completed by the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families, or licensed or authorized agency, unless the report was filed with the petition.Contents of Report About the Adopted Person
Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13, § 912
The report shall include information regarding the child’s:

  • Family background and eligibility for adoption
  • Physical and mental conditions

Contents of Report About the Birth Family
Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13, § 912
The report shall include nonidentifying information regarding the child’s family background.

When the Report Is Made
Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13, § 912
If the placement is made by the department or licensed agency, the report shall be submitted within 60 days from the receipt of the order for the report unless the report is filed with the petition for adoption.

Exceptions for Stepparent or Relative Adoptions
Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13, § 912
In the case of adoption by a stepparent or blood relative, the report is to be submitted within 60 days following the completion of the social study and shall include a statement of the cost of the study.

Intestate Inheritance Rights for Adopted Children

Birth Parents in Relation to Adopted Person
Citation: Ann Code Tit. 13, § 920; Tit. 12, § 508
Upon the issuance of an adoption decree, the adopted child shall lose all rights of inheritance from his or her birth parents and their relatives. The rights of the birth parents or relatives to inherit from the child also shall cease. Adoption of the child by the spouse of a birth parent has no effect on the relationship between the child and that birth parent for purposes of intestate succession.Adoptive Parents in Relation to Adopted Person
Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13 § 920
Upon the issuance of the adoption decree, the adopted child shall acquire the right to inherit from his or her adoptive parent(s) and their relatives, and the adoptive parent(s) and their relatives shall at the same time acquire the right to inherit from the adopted child.

Adopted Persons Who Are Not Included in a Will
Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13, § 920; Tit. 12, § 301
The rights of a child adopted after the making of a will by the adopting parent(s), shall be the same as the rights of an after-born child, as prescribed in Title 12, § 301.A child born after his or her parent has made a last will and testament and for which such parent made no provision, vested or contingent, specifically or as member of a class, by will or otherwise, shall take the same portion of his or her parent’s estate, both real and personal, that the child would have been entitled to if such parent had died intestate unless the testator has provided in the last will and testament that the birth of any child or children subsequently shall not affect the will.

State Recognition of Intercountry Adoptions Finalized Abroad

Effect and Recognition of a Foreign Adoption Decree
Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13, § 927(a)-(b) An adoption that is finalized by a court with appropriate jurisdiction in a foreign country is valid if it was issued in accord with the laws of that country and if the child was not brought into the United States until after the adoption was finalized abroad.A proceeding or decree issued in a foreign country is not valid if the child was brought into the United States before the adoption was finalized abroad unless the adoption proceedings were in substantial compliance with the adoption laws of Delaware. This subsection does not apply to adoption proceedings or orders initiated in a foreign country as to persons who are not Delaware residents when the adoption proceedings commenced.

Readoption After an Intercountry Adoption
Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13, § 927(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. The name by which the child is to be known shall be included in the affidavit.

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 that will include the child’s American name.

Application for a U.S. Birth Certificate
Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 16, § 3126

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, or filed in the case of a foreign adoption under title 13, § 927, shall immediately file in the office of the State Registrar a report setting forth the information required by title 13, § 921, 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. Certificates may be issued in accordance with § 3110 of this title.

In the event of a child born outside of the United States 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.


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