Cohabiting couples can now adopt in Delaware

Gov. John Carney signing the legislation expanding access to who can adopt in Delaware (Zoë Read/WHYY)

Gov. John Carney signing the legislation expanding access to who can adopt in Delaware (Zoë Read/WHYY)

Cynthia Aman and Eric Daniels wanted to adopt in Delaware to help a child in need.

But after some research, the couple were surprised to learn that only married couples and singles were eligible to adopt.

Cohabiting unmarried couples like Aman and Daniels were able to foster. However, if a foster child didn’t get reunited with a birth parent, or became eligible for adoption, the child could be separated from the foster family they had bonded with and returned to the system.

“The child may become attached to us, we may become a family … all of a sudden they’re saying, ‘No I’m sorry, we have to move them somewhere else’ — that would be horrible,” said Aman, who has two daughters of her own, and a third with Daniels.

Now, couples like Aman and Daniels will be able to adopt. On Tuesday, Gov. John Carney signed legislation expanding who is eligible. Currently, there are 650 children in foster care in Delaware, and about 100 of them are in the process of or legally available for adoption.

Aman and Daniels said they are excited for the new opportunity.

“It’s just knowing that that could have been a child who was going to stay in the system until they were teenagers, and may have never found a family,” she said. “For us, having all the resources we have and being able to give them a stable home and education is a huge deal. It’s giving one more person a better opportunity. And we can love them just as much as our own children and give them that bond.”

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