Original Birth Certificates. Delaware is a Compromised State. While Delaware-born adoptees who are 21 years of age or older may request their original birth certificates, birthparents may legally veto the release of the records.
How It Works. Delaware parental vetoes are complicated. In general, the veto expires after three years, but it can be renewed before or after expiration. In addition, for adoptions prior to January 18, 1999, the vital records department must determine if an affidavit had previously been filed in the adoption court and, if so, whether any parents listed on the birth record authorized release of the birth record. If a parent authorized release, then the OBC is released. If no affidavit is on file or if a parent had previously filed a veto request in the court, the vital records department must “notify the birthparent or birthparents of the legal requirements for maintaining confidentiality and shall provide them with the appropriate forms.” If a parent does not file a veto request or does not respond to the notice within 35 days, the original birth certificate is released.
Court Records. Court records may not be released except by court order and only when if it is 1) necessary and 2) 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 must refer a request for records or identifying information to the state or private adoption agency for investigation and recommendation.
Identifying Information. Identifying information in adoption agency files may not be released except by court order or—if all parties agree—“it is deemed by the agency to be in the adoptee’s best interest.” Delaware law specifically addresses the release of “needed medical information,” but release may be limited and also requires a court order.
Descendant Rights. Delaware law is silent on whether a descendant or ancestor of the adopted person may apply for and obtain a copy of the original birth certificate. Regulations, however, provide that “family members doing genealogical research and genealogists representing a family member may obtain copies of records needed for their research” if the registrant is deceased. In addition, Delaware law generally states that all birth records become publicly available 72 years after a birth, though the law is silent as to whether this applies equally to original birth records of adopted people.
Search and Reunion Services. Delaware does not operate an adoption registry. Rather, search and reunion services are available to an adult adoptee who is at least 21 years of age and who has already obtained an original birth certificate. The services are provided by adoption agencies.
Adult Adoption. Delaware law provides for the adoption of adults. A court petition as well as the consent of the adopted person is required to complete an adult adoption.
Delaware Law: Vital Records and Birth Certificates
Relevant parts of Delaware vital records law. The entire Delaware vital records statute is available here.
Title 16 § 3110. Disclosure of Records
(a) To protect the integrity of vital records, to ensure their proper use and to ensure the efficient and proper administration of the system of vital statistics, the records and files of the Office of Vital Statistics shall be considered confidential matter and shall not be open to inspection, except as authorized by this chapter, and regulations adopted hereunder or by order of a court of competent jurisdiction. Regulations adopted under this section shall provide for adequate standards of security and confidentiality of vital records and reports.
(b) The State Registrar shall upon receipt of an application issue a certified copy of a vital record in the Registrar’s custody or a part thereof to the registrant’s, the registrant’s spouse, children, parents or guardian, or their respective authorized representative. The State Registrar shall, upon receipt of an application, issue a noncertified copy of a vital record, including an original birth certificate, to a registrant who is an adoptee 21 years of age or older. Others may be authorized to obtain certified copies when they demonstrate that the record is needed for the determination or protection of their personal or property rights or for genealogical purposes. The Department shall adopt regulations to further define those who may obtain copies of vital records under this chapter.
(c) The Department may authorize by regulation the disclosure of information contained on vital records for research purposes.
(d) Subject to the provisions of this section, the State Registrar may, by agreement, transmit copies of records and other reports required by this chapter to the federal agency responsible for national vital statistics and other offices of vital statistics outside this State when such records or other reports relate to residents of those jurisdictions or persons born in those jurisdictions. The agreement shall require that the copies be used for statistical and/or administrative purposes only and the agreement shall further provide for the retention and disposition of such copies. Copies received by the Office of Vital Statistics from offices of vital statistics in other states shall be handled in the same manner as prescribed in this section.
(e) Appeals from decisions of custodians of vital records, as designated under authority of § 3105 of this title, who refuse to disclose information, or to permit inspection or copying of records as prescribed by this section and regulations adopted hereunder, shall be made to the Department whose decisions shall be binding upon such custodians.
(f) When 72 years have elapsed after the date of birth, 40 years have elapsed after the date of death, or 50 years have elapsed after the date of marriage, the records of these events shall become public records and information shall be made available in accordance with regulations which shall provide for the continued safekeeping of the records.
(g) The State Registrar of Vital Statistics shall submit a monthly report of all births to women under 18 years of age to the Division of Child Support Services of the Department of Health and Social Services, and to the Division of Family Services of the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families for informational, investigative and/or child support purposes. The monthly report shall include the name, address, date of birth and Social Security number of the mother and father, if available, the date of birth and sex of the child.
(h) The State Registrar of Vital Statistics shall create a certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth and shall issue such certificates as provided for in § 3121A of this title.
Title 16 § 3122. Infants of unknown parentage; foundling registration
(a) When the State assumes the custody of a live born infant of unknown parentage, an officer of the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families shall report on a form and in a manner prescribed by the State Registrar within 5 days to the Office of Vital Statistics the following information:
(1) The date and place of finding;
(2) Sex, race and approximate age of child;
(3) Name and address of the person or institution with whom the child has been placed for care;
(4) Name given to the child by the custodian of the child;
(5) Other data required by the State Registrar.
(b) The place where the child was found shall be known as the place of birth and the date of birth shall be determined by approximation.
(c) The report shall constitute the certificate of birth.
(d) If the child is identified and a regular certificate of birth is found or obtained, the report shall be sealed and filed in the Office of Vital Statistics and may be opened only by court order.
Title 16 § 3126. Registration of adoptions; duty of clerk of court; old and new birth certificates
(a) 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 § 927 of Title 13, shall immediately 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.
(b) Upon receipt of the information, the State Registrar shall remove from the files the original certificate of birth and, after proper identification, shall place it in a confidential file. 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.
(c) The State Registrar shall file a new certificate of birth for any child born in Delaware who is legally adopted in another state upon receipt of a certified or exemplified copy of the court order of adoption from the clerk of the court of such other state, and shall issue a certificate as provided under § 3110 of this title.
(d) 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.
Delaware Law: Adoption and Birth Certificates
Relevant portions of Delaware adoption law related to issuance of amended birth certificates after an adoption. The entire Delaware adoption statute is available here.
Title 13 § 921. Report of vital statistics data
(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.
Title 13 § 922. Birth certificate
(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.
Title 13 § 923. Confidential nature of information; old and new birth certificates
(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.
Delaware Law: Court Records and Identifying Information
Relevant portions of Delaware adoption law related to court records and identifying information. The entire Delaware adoption statute is available here.
Title 13 § 901. Definitions
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 of Education, Office of Child Care Licensing 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.
Title 13 § 924 Confidential nature of Court records
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 off 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.
§ 925. Inspection of Court records
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.
§ 929. Exchange of identifying information
(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.
Delaware Law: Adoption Generally
Relevant portions of general Delaware adoption law. The entire Delaware adoption statute is available here.
Title 13 § 907. Consent requirements
(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.
Title 13 § 908. Right to consent
(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.
Title 13 § 909. Withdrawal of consent
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.
Title 13 § 912. Social study and report
(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.
Title 13 § 915. Decree of adoption
(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.
Title 13 § 918. Finality of decree of adoption
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.
Title 13 § 919. General effect of adoption
(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.
Title 13 § 920. Effect of adoption on inheritance
(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.
Title 13 § 927. Foreign adoptions; validity
(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.
Title 13 § 932. Interpretation
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.
Delaware Law: Search and Reunion Services
The entirety of Delaware law related to search and reunion services.
Title 13 § 961. Records
As of January 1, 1995, all adoption records presently maintained in the Prothonotary’s Office shall be transferred to Family Court for permanent retention.
Title 13 § 962 Search and reunion services.
(a) An adoptee 21 years of age or older who has obtained a copy of a vital record under § 3110 of Title 16 may request that a licensed adoption agency assist in locating any of the following:
(1) Either or both birth parents;
(2) If a birth parent is deceased, siblings (full or half) of the birth parent;
(3) Birth siblings (full or half) of the adoptee.
(b) When a licensed adoption agency locates an individual sought by an adoptee 21 years of age or older, the agency will advise the located individual of the right to make a no-contact declaration. If a no-contact declaration is made either verbally to a licensed adoption worker or in a writing filed with the agency, the agency will so advise the adoptee and no further assistance will be provided. If a no-contact declaration is not expressed, the agency shall immediately advise the searching adoptee of the located individual’s current name, address, and telephone number.
(c) If requested, the agency shall provide counseling or intermediary services, or both, to the searching adoptee or the located individual, or to both.
Title 13 § 963 Immunity from liability
Any person or agency, including the State or any governmental subdivision of this State, who participated in good faith in any requirement of this subchapter, shall have immunity from any liability, civil or criminal, that results from such person’s or agency’s actions. In any proceeding, civil or criminal, the good faith of any person participating in the requirement of this subchapter shall be presumed.
Delaware Law: Adult Adoption
Title 13 § 951. Who may adopt
The following persons, who desire to adopt any person or persons over 18 years of age, shall file a petition in the Family Court of the county in which any of the petitioner(s) or the person(s) to be adopted resides:
(1) Any person petitioning individually;
(2) A married couple petitioning jointly; or
(3) A nonmarried couple petitioning jointly, provided that they are cohabiting, as that term is defined in § 1512(g) of this title.
Title 13 § 952. Contents of petition
The petition shall state the name, sex and date of birth of the person or persons whose adoption is sought and that the petitioner or petitioners desire to adopt such person or persons. The petition shall be signed by the petitioner or petitioners.
Title 13 § 953. Decree of adoption
If the petition complies with the requirements of §§ 951 and 952 of this title, and if the person or persons to be adopted appear in court and consent to the adoption, the Family Court may render a decree ordering the issuance of a certificate of adoption to the petitioner or petitioners. The decree shall state the sex, age and the name by which the person or persons adopted shall thereafter be known.
Title 13 § 954. Effect of adoption
Upon the issuance of the decree of adoption and forever thereafter, all the duties, rights, privileges and obligations recognized by law between parent and child shall exist between the petitioner or petitioners and the person or persons adopted, as fully and to all intents and purposes as if such person or persons were the lawful and natural offspring or issue of the petitioner or petitioners.
Title 13 § 955. Record of adoption
The Clerk of Court shall file the petition and all papers pertaining thereto among the records of the Court, and shall record in the record book in which the record of other adoptions is kept all the proceedings in such case, together with the decree of the Court, which record or a duly certified copy thereof shall be evidence.
Title 13 § 956. Costs
The costs shall be taxed by the Court on the petitioner or petitioners.