Domestic Infant Adoptions can be completed through private adoption attorneys or adoption agencies to adopt a child domestically. Click here for a directory of adoption service providers in Delaware.
International Adoptions must be completed through private adoption attorneys or adoption agencies to adopt a child internationally. Find an international adoption service provider here.
Foster Care Adoptions in Delaware can be completed through the Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families (302-633-2655).
The information contained on this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional legal advice. Always seek the advice of a licensed and qualified professional. While the content of this website is frequently updated, information changes rapidly and therefore, some information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies, omissions or typographical errors.
Applicants must be at least 21 years old in order to adopt. Hopeful adoptive parents can be single, married, or divorced. They can rent or own a home. In order to foster, parents must complete 27 hours of pre-service training. Parents must be economically stable and provide a list of character references.
Advertisement: Only the Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families or a licensed adoption agency may advertise in Delaware the availability of a child for adoption or for child placement.
No person or group connected to the adoption in any way shall receive any type of compensation for their services, except court costs and legal services. This does not prohibit licensed agencies from receiving service fees for cost of services rendered.
Relinquishment: Birth mothers can give their consent any time after the birth of their child. Birth father’s can consent any time before or after birth.
Birth parents must file a petition to revoke consent within 60 days from the date of filing the adoption petition. The court refers the case to revoke to the agency or department. The department or agency then makes a report within 30 days to give to the court. The court then rules upon the adoption petition to revoke consent.
Birth parent expenses: The only payments allowed are court costs and legal fees. No other type of payment is allowed.
Post-adoption contact agreements: Contact agreements are not legally enforceable in Delaware.
Birth father rights: Unmarried fathers wishing to receive notice of adoption proceedings must register their information with the registry of paternity before or within 30 days after the birth of the child.
If the child is at least 1 year old, all alleged fathers must receive notice regardless of filing their information. Fathers who establish a father-child relationship, or who commence a proceeding to adjudicate parental rights, are not required to register in order to receive notice.
Finalization: The child must live with the adoptive parent for at least 6 months. At least 3 post-placement visits are required before finalization.
Many of the children waiting to be adopted in Delaware have special needs. Federal (Title IV-E) and state (non-IV-E) programs exist to help adoptive parents meet their child’s needs. In Delaware, monthly payments range from $396.63-511 per month, depending upon your child’s age and needs. A specialized rate is available for children with exceptional needs. To see if your child qualifies for adoption assistance, please visit NACAC.org.
It is always possible to adopt a child from another country, even if you live in the U.S. In Delaware, readoption (the process by which a U.S. state court issues a final adoption decree separate from a foreign adoption decree stating that the child has been legally adopted according to the laws of a particular state) is an option, but not a requirement.
However, only when the readoption or validation of a foreign adoption decree occurs can the child receive a U.S. birth certificate (ChildWelfare.gov). For more information on how to adopt a child internationally, be sure to contact your local international adoption agency.
Gallery of children waiting to be adopted: https://adoption.com/photolisting?page=1&search_type=region&range=UnitedStates
State subsidy contact person:
DSCYF/Division of Family Services
1825 Faulkland Road
Wilmington, DE 19805
Adoptions in Delaware can be completed through the Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families.
Applicants must be at least 21 years old. You can be single, married, or divorced. You can rent or own a home. Foster parents must complete 27 hours of training. Parents must provide a list of references.
Only the Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families or a licensed adoption agency may advertise.
Birth mothers must wait until after the child’s birth to consent. Birth father’s can consent before or after birth. Parents can revoke consent within 60 days from the date of the adoption petition.
Only court costs and legal fees are permitted. Contact agreements are not legally enforceable. Unmarried fathers wishing to receive notice of adoption proceedings must register their information with the registry of paternity.
The child must live with adoptive parents for 6 months before finalization.