Adoption Agencies in Michigan

Everything you need to know about selecting the right agency for your adoption.

Sara R. Ward March 31, 2019
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If you’re interested in adopting and need to find adoption agencies in Michigan, we hope to provide you with the needed resources for your family’s journey. In order to work with an adoption professional, you’ll want to have a good understanding of the requirements for each agency and the steps for adoption.

Types of Adoption

What kind of adoption program are you interested in? Do you know which adoption agencies in Michigan work with the type of program you want to pursue? When you begin the adoption process, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and feel confused by all the information.

Before deciding on an agency, your first choice is to decide which type of adoption is right for you. The three types are domestic adoption, foster adoption, and international adoption. All three programs require a home study in order to legally adopt a child.

Domestic adoption is also known as private infant adoption and is usually conducted through a licensed adoption agency or attorney. Most people who want to adopt an infant in the United States go through the domestic adoption process. It involves a family becoming matched with a birth mother who will sign consent forms after the baby is born so the baby can be placed in an adoptive family’s home.

Foster adoption is the process of adopting a child out of foster care. This usually involves children who are a little older, from toddlers to teens, who have been taken out of their parent’s care temporarily. Although the goal with foster care is reuniting children with their parents, foster adoption can occur when the rights of both parents have been terminated. To adopt through the foster care system, you must go through the requirements for becoming a licensed foster parent as well as meeting the requirements for adoption. Of all three types, foster adoption is the cheapest way to adopt.

International adoption is the process of adopting a child from overseas. These children are generally older than an infant and are currently in foster care in their birth country or an orphanage. Before starting an international adoption, you must decide which country you’d like to adopt from. The adoption agency you choose needs to be accredited to do adoptions from your child’s birth country.

Requirements for Adoption

Because every state has different regulations for their adoptive families, you want to make sure you meet all requirements for a Michigan adoption. To qualify, you must be 18 years of age, single, married, or divorced, pass all criminal background checks, be financially able to provide for a child, and live in a home with additional space for a child. Non-married couples cannot adopt jointly, which means only one parent can adopt a child. Adoption agencies in Michigan will ensure you meet all the requirements before starting on your adoption journey. Foster adoption has additional requirements for adoption, including training that is required for parents.

For international adoption, you need to not only meet the agency requirements, but also the country requirements. Some countries require that you fit within a specific age range or are married. Other countries allow singles to adopt or have requirements for health issues. Since every country varies as to what requirements they allow, your age, health, and marital status will help you to narrow down which countries you can adopt from.

What Do Adoption Agencies in Michigan Do?

Adoption agencies will help facilitate your adoption by handling a number of specific tasks and ensuring that you meet all the legal requirements for adoption. But before you pick an agency, you should compile a list of questions to bring to your first meeting. Adoption agencies can review your eligibility for the program you’re interested in to make sure it’s a good fit and that you meet all the qualifications. They can either provide you with a home study or can recommend someone to conduct your home study if they cannot perform the specific home study you need.

Since the adoption process involves a great amount of paperwork, your adoption agency will assist you in preparing it and will help you to know what is missing from your file. They also coordinate the referral of children for international adoptions and help place children in homes.

But agencies provide more than adoption services. They also provide emotional support. At times, the adoption process can feel overwhelming, and you need help to make sure you are completing all the necessary steps. Even when your adoption is complete, the adoption agency continues to provide parenting education and post-placement services for adoptive families.

Young couple trying to get loan at bank

Home Study

One of the first steps in the adoption process is starting your home study. Adoption agencies in Michigan can provide you with a caseworker who will help you complete the necessary paperwork for your home study.

A home study is a detailed report covering your background, personal information, health history, employment, family information, and a criminal background check. During your home study, a caseworker will come into your home to ensure it’s safe for a child.

Because of federal regulations surrounding international adoptions, adoption agencies in Michigan need to be accredited because of the Universal Accreditation Act. Your home study for international adoption will be specific for that country, which is why your choice of an adoption agency is important for the type of adoption journey you are on.

Consent

Consent is the process of biological parents agreeing to the release of their child for adoption and the relinquishment of their parental rights. Before an adoption can take place, you must get legal consent for the adoption from the child’s biological parents. These consent forms must be signed before a child can be placed in your home and an adoption can be finalized.

For a domestic adoption in Michigan, consent can happen 72 hours after the birth of a child out of court. If a birth mother wishes for it to happen in court, then a hearing must be scheduled. The birth mother has five days after signing the consent forms to change her mind and 21 days to file an appeal to her decision.

A man who believes he is the father of a child born out of wedlock can register on the putative father registry in the state of Michigan. This would notify him of any adoption proceedings concerning that child; however, he must register 30 days after the child is born in order to be notified of an adoption. Your adoption agency will check the putative father registry and will present the consent forms to birth parents for signing. They will keep you updated on the adoption proceedings should the birth mother revoke her consent and file an appeal.

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Foster Care Requirements

In foster care, the goal is for children to be provided with a temporary home until their biological parents are able to care for them again. In some cases, biological parents may have their rights terminated by the court. These children will then become available for adoption and will need adoptive families. There are currently many waiting children up for adoption whose parents have had their parental rights terminated and are in need of their forever family.

If you are interested in foster adoption, then you will want to begin the process of becoming licensed as a foster parent. For foster care, you need to be at least 18 years old and be able to show that you can care for a child and have space in your home for another person. A caseworker will examine your home and make sure it is suitable and safe for a child. Specific training will be required to become a foster parent, including licensing orientation, preservice training, CPR, and other health classes. You must also agree to use nonphysical punishment for discipline and provide three references. Just like domestic adoption, you will also need to get a criminal background check in order to be approved for adoption.

Finding Adoption Agencies in Michigan

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services doesn’t provide the services of an adoption agency. For a foster adoption, you will need to use the services of one of the adoption agencies in Michigan. To find reviews of adoption agencies in Michigan, look at our reviews from parents.

Only licensed adoption agencies in Michigan can assist with adoption proceedings or the placement of a child, so even if you are using an adoption facilitator, they cannot place a child in your home.

The list provided is not a complete list of all adoption agencies in Michigan but gives you a starting point to see some options in your area. One of the ways to narrow down your list of adoption agencies in Michigan is to decide what type of adoption you are pursuing. Some agencies only do domestic adoption, while others might only perform foster or special needs adoptions.

To see more options in Michigan, download the complete list of agencies in your area from MARE, the Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange.

Adoption Associates

800-677-2367

Adoption Option Michigan

989-839-0534

Adoption Specialists, Inc.

810-660-7590

Catholic Charities of West Michigan

616-456-1443

Ennis Center for Children

248-334-2715

Family & Children’s Services, Inc.

Kalamazoo, 269-344-0202

Forever Families

734-762-0909

Heart to Heart Adoptions

866-682-3678

Keane Center for Adoption

313-277-4664

Lutheran Adoption Service

Flint, 810-234-9324

Fees for Adoption

The cost of adoption varies widely depending on the type of adoption you choose. Be sure to check with your adoption agency regarding the type of adoption they are licensed for and the fees associated with it. Keep in mind there will also be additional fees not covered in the adoption agency fees.

You may be able to provide adoption-related expenses legally to the birth parents as long as it covers medical expenses related to the birth mother’s pregnancy, counseling services, traveling expenses related to the adoption, and living expenses for the child’s birth mother up to six weeks after giving birth. If there is any question whether something is allowed by law, check with your adoption agency before making any payments to birth parents.

For international adoptions, country fees vary drastically depending on where you adopt from. Additional fees not covered through your adoption agency include travel expenses, hotel, and U.S. government fees for paperwork processing. Keep in mind that some countries require you to travel twice. In addition, an older child may be required to have their own seat on the plane, which will be an additional fee. There may also be an orphanage fee that is separate from your country fee.

Domestic adoption fees cost more than foster adoptions and typically range from $20,000 to $40,000. Some agencies use a sliding fee scale based on your income. Other costs outside of agency fees include paying for fingerprinting and criminal background fees, legal fees, and expenses related to the birth mother. Most agencies will outline what is covered in their fees and what you are responsible to pay for.

Foster adoption is low cost to free because families are reimbursed for any adoption and home study fees they may incur. Some children may be eligible for a subsidy for nonrecurring adoption-related costs. Families in the foster adoption process will only need to pay for court filing fees and new birth certificates once they have been reimbursed for other adoption-related fees.

Support for Your Adoption

Although adoption agencies provide you with the necessary help for completing all paperwork and taking the right legal steps for your adoption, they offer so much more than just assistance with the adoption process. Agencies can provide you with emotional support as you navigate the complexities and disappointments that naturally come with the adoption process. They can help you work through the frustration of waiting and the disappointment of failed adoption matches. They can provide support when the process does not go smoothly. They are a listening ear throughout the adoption journey and understand the roller coaster ride of adoption. They also can provide invaluable support and advice when you face a new obstacle. Since agencies have years of experience helping families through the adoption process, they have unparalleled wisdom when it comes to facing adoption issues. Agencies recognize that adopted children may have unique issues related to identity, their past, and being in an adoptive family. Agencies also provide ongoing support for families who have finalized their adoptions.

When a parent encounters a challenging adoption-related issue, they should contact their adoption agency as a potential resource. Often, they will find that adoption agencies provide lifelong connections for support and advice related to adoption. Your agency can make your adoption a memorable experience and will become one of the most important partners on your adoption journey.

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Sara R. Ward

Sara R. Ward is a writer, adoption advocate, and mom to three children through adoption. Her passion is helping adoptive parents and those who struggle with infertility and grief on her blog PoetsandSaints. Sara writes about parenting, marriage, and faith and has a book coming out in 2019. Follow Sara on Facebook or Instagram @SaraRWard.


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