Delaware Adoption Laws

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Access to Adoption Records

Who May Access Information
Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13, § 924

Family information may be available to the following persons:
  • The adoptee 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 adoptee's best interests. In cases where the adoptee'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 adoptee, 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 adoptee 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 adoptee.

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

The adoptee 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

Credits: Child Welfare Information Gateway (

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Note: Our authors are dedicated to honest, engaged, informed, intelligent, and open conversation about adoption. The opinions expressed here may not reflect the views of

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