Adoption Laws in Delaware
Requirements, Home Study and More From Delaware Adoption Laws
Considering adoption in Delaware likely brings a number of questions to your mind.
Is adoption right for my family? How do we find a child to adopt? How much does adoption cost? Are we really ready for this journey?
What may get lost in the onslaught of questions and emotions is something vital to your adoption process: a decent understanding of Delaware adoption laws.
When you decide to adopt in Delaware, you will work with an adoption attorney for the legal elements of the adoption process. Your attorney will represent you, protect you and advocate for your best interests at every step of the process. Additionally, your adoption specialist with American Adoptions will be here to guide you through any confusion. Even though you have these professional resources at your service, it is still beneficial to have a personal understanding of the important Delaware adoption laws that will impact your adoption process.
Understanding these laws will help you make sense of a confusing process and feel more in control of this important journey. You want to understand the “why” behind all of the steps, requirements and regulations. While this article shouldn’t be taken as legal advice, it will help you grasp that “why,” and get a clearer picture of the Delaware adoption laws that you will experience.
Let’s start at the beginning. If you are considering adoption in Delaware, you have to understand the adoption requirements in Delaware’s law. Each state has its own unique requirements, although many share similar characteristics. In Delaware’s adoption law, the requirements for adoption are:
You must be at least 21 years old
Any individual can adopt — married, unmarried or divorced
Pass a criminal background check
Technically, that’s it. Realistically, you’ll see that there are other requirements to adopt that come up in the adoption home study. However, according to Delaware’s adoption law, these are the only requirements to be eligible to begin the adoption process. Now, let’s turn to some of those later-in-the-process requirements.
Adoption Home Study Requirements in Delaware Adoption Laws
The adoption home study is required in every Delaware adoption. This is a review of the hopeful adoptive parents’ lifestyle, living situation and adoption readiness. The home study is conducted by a licensed social worker, and it is split into two main parts by Delaware adoption law.
The pre-placement adoption home study consists of in-home visits, interviews and a review of relevant documentation. Your social worker will evaluate your readiness to proceed in the adoption process, and your adoption specialist from American Adoptions can help you successfully navigate this part of the process. According to adoption laws in Delaware, the pre-placement adoption home study will review items such as:
A criminal background check
A child protection registry check
The readiness of the home for a child
An evaluation of the family’s adoption understanding and motivation
The state of marriage and family relationships
The post-placement adoption home study, which comes after you have been placed with a baby and come home, reviews how everyone is adjusting to the adoption in between placement and the court date for your adoption finalization. Adoption laws in Delaware require the first post-placement social worker visit to be within two weeks of placement, with one visit per month following that until the adoption finalization hearing. Delaware adoption laws state that your social worker will not only be evaluating your adoption during post-placement visits, but also offering any help they can to make your transition easier.
Birth Mother Consent
Before placement can occur at the hospital, a potential birth mother must legally give her consent to the adoption. Unlike most states, Delaware adoption laws do not set a specific waiting period after birth before consent can be given. This means that potential birth mother can give her official consent any time after birth. Adoption laws in Delaware dictate that this consent must be in writing, notarized and presented at the adoption finalization hearing.
Adoption is highly sensitive, and adoption laws in Delaware outline who can legally assist you in your adoption process. In some states, you can work with less-regulated adoption facilitators or other advertisers (meaning people or entities who find adoption opportunities). However, this is not allowed by Delaware adoption laws. With rather robust language, the adoption laws in Delaware say that only two types of organizations can work in adoption:
The state’s Department of Services for Children, Youth and their families
There are standards that these types of organizations must adhere to. In the case of national adoption agencies like American Adoptions, state and federal requirements must be met, ensuring an ethical adoption accomplished in a way that protects the best interests of you, the potential birth mother and the child. With so many lives directly impacted by this process, you have to be sure that the professional you are working with will complete the adoption in a safe manner.
These four areas of adoption laws in Delaware are important for you to understand as you consider adoption. There are many more laws and regulations you will encounter in the process, and you will have assistance navigating those from your adoption professional. If you would like to learn more about Delaware adoption laws, or have a specific question about something in this article, we recommend you reach out to a local adoption attorney. You can also call 1-800-ADOPTION or request free information online about beginning your Delaware adoption today.
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