Adoption Finalization in Delaware
Receiving Your Final Decree of Adoption in DE
The adoption process can be long and challenging, but the moment your baby is placed in your arms for the first time makes it all worth it. No two moments are alike. Each parent and baby will have a unique first interaction, but they are all life-changing in special ways.
What many hopeful parents considering adoption may not know is that this placement is not the end of the adoption process. It may come as a surprise, but there are still several steps left to officially finalize your adoption in Delaware. That’s why we created this guide to adoption finalization in Delaware — so you can have a better understanding of how to finalize your adoption and go into the process fully aware of everything that’s involved.
We’ll go over post-placement visits, the adoption finalization hearing, professional assistance during this time, and more. You can call 1-800-ADOPTION at any time as you’re reading if you’d like to speak with an adoption specialist about adopting in Delaware with our agency.
How Do I Receive My Final Decree of Adoption in Delaware?
There are still a couple steps left in the adoption process to complete after placement has occurred. Typically, there will be about six months between placement and your adoption finalization in Delaware. During those six months, you’ll complete several legal requirements with the help of your adoption specialist and your attorney.
Step 1: Complete Your Post-Placement Visits
Delaware requires several post-placement visits to be conducted by a licensed social worker during the adoption finalization process. In the case of a domestic infant adoption, the first in-home visit must occur within two weeks of the adoption. After that, one visit must occur each month until the Delaware adoption finalization is complete. Not all of these visits have to occur in your home; however, it is helpful for a social worker to observe how a child is acting in their natural, safe environment.
During these visits, the social worker will observe how the family and child are adjusting to the placement. Once all of the necessary post-placement visits have been completed, the social worker will create a written report for a judge to review before issuing a final decree of adoption. During your post-placement visits, your adoption specialist from American Adoptions will provide you with guidance and helpful information.
Step 2: Ensure Full Compliance with ICPC and Other Delaware Requirements
The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) establishes regulations and standards that govern how adoptions across state lines should be handled. If you live in Delaware, but the prospective birth mother lives in a different state, your adoption will need to comply with ICPC when you travel to the prospective birth mother’s state to be placed with the child.
Complying with ICPC is where a good adoption attorney comes in. Understanding the law can be difficult, and there is a lot of paperwork involved. Your adoption attorney will handle that. What ICPC means most directly for you is that you will need to plan on staying in the prospective birth mother’s state for several weeks while the paperwork is being verified.
Along with this, you will need to be sure that your adoption process complies with any other specific laws in Delaware. This is vital to the success of your adoption finalization in Delaware.
Step 3: The Adoption Finalization Hearing in Delaware
After the previous steps have been followed, an adoption finalization hearing date will be set. For your Delaware adoption finalization, you will go to a courthouse in your county with your family and an adoption attorney. A judge will look over the documents from your adoption, verify compliance with ICPC and review post-placement visits. It is also typical for the judge to ask the family a few questions about their adoption.
Once the judge is satisfied that the adoption process has been correctly followed and the placement is in the best interests of the child, he/she will issue your final decree of adoption. This is an amazing, emotional moment in the life of a family. It’s common to bring a camera to the courthouse to capture this memory, and maybe even grab a picture with the presiding judge.
Step 4: After Delaware Adoption Finalization is Complete — A Lifelong Journey
Receiving your final decree of adoption in Delaware is the last step of the adoption process, but it’s the first step of the rest of your life. Parenting is a lifelong commitment, and you are just getting started. There will be unique challenges, but also unprecedented joys.
In the immediate future, there are a few more legal items you can take care of for your child, like a revised birth certificate and new social security card. Additionally, if you are in an open or semi-open adoption, you can begin to create your post-placement relationship with the child’s birth mother. Your adoption specialist will still be around even after your adoption finalization to assist you in these things.
Adoption is almost never easy, but most things worth doing aren’t. After your adoption finalization in Delaware, you should take the time to celebrate. There’s still a whole life ahead, but you have just accomplished something remarkable.
If you’d like to talk to an adoption specialist today about the Delaware adoption process with our agency, you can all 1-800-ADOPTION at any time.
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