Michigan Adoption Guide

Everything you need to know about adoption in Michigan.

Liz Young May 19, 2015

Welcome, Michiganders! This guide was written to provide you with a single spot to find information about adoption within Michigan. It will walk you through everything from laws that will impact your adoption to reviews of adoption service providers in Michigan.

This guide is divided into five parts: general information about adoption in Michigan, then sections dedicated to domestic infant adoption (starting in Slide 6), foster adoption (starting in slide 20), international adoption (starting in slide 30), and stepparent adoption (starting in slide 34). And don’t miss our slide filled with links to helpful adoption resources (slide 37).

Are you considering growing your family through domestic infant adoption? For a free and confidential consultation with an adoption professional, click here.

Please Note
1. Please Note

Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy, completeness, and reliability of the information provided in this slideshow guide, you should not rely on it to make decisions. Instead, you should rely on licensed professionals in making decisions relative to adoption. The information in this guide is subject to change without notice. Adoption.com is not responsible for the consequences of relying on this information. In no event shall Adoption.com be liable for any direct, indirect, special, or incidental damage resulting from, arising out of, or in connection with the use of this information.

Did You Know
2. Did You Know

Did you know that 68% of Michigan families have children under 18 years of age in their households?

Adoption in Michigan at a Glance
3. Adoption in Michigan at a Glance

-Kids in foster care available for adoption in any given year: 3,000
     
-Foster adoptions completed in 2012: 2,731
     
-International adoptions completed in 2013: 230

-Other adoptions completed in 2013: 1,692     

Can I adopt in Michigan?
4. Can I adopt in Michigan?

Adoption requirements in the state of Michigan are as follows:

Age: You must be 18 years of age or older.     

Marital Status: Adoptive parents in Michigan can be single, married, or divorced. Single LGTB adoptions are permitted as well. Non-married couples, including same-sex couples, cannot jointly adopt. In these cases, only one of the parents would be listed as the parent.     

Finances: You must demonstrate that you are financially able to provide for yourself and family.  

Housing: You must own or rent a safe residence with adequate space for a child.     

Work: You can work inside or outside of your home, or be retired.     

Personality: Must be flexible, energetic, open to learning new things, willing to provide love and support for a child, and willing to work with social workers and other support people.     

Experience: No parenting experience is required.

DISQUALIFYING CRIMES:   In this state, you may not adopt if you have been convicted of any of the following: A prospective adoptive parent cannot have been convicted of child abuse or neglect, spousal abuse, a crime against children, criminal sexual conduct, homicide or other serious crimes.

SOURCE:

Adoption.net

Developing a Support System
5. Developing a Support System

It’s essential to have a good network of family, friends, and neighbors to support you through your adoption process.

It’s also important to connect with other adoptive parents. You can begin making these connections in our adoption forums. You may also want to consider joining a support group for adoptive parents.

Domestic Infant Adoption in Michigan
6. Domestic Infant Adoption in Michigan

Before you get started, click here to learn more about the overall process of adopting an infant in the United States. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back to get the details about adoption in Michigan.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Get Professional Help
7. Domestic Infant Adoption: Get Professional Help

In Michigan, adoptions can be completed through an approved agency, or an adoption attorney.

Some people pursuing a private adoption find it beneficial to work with a professional adoption facilitator, an individual or organization that matches birth parents with adoptive parents in exchange for a fee.

You can browse and read reviews about adoption service providers in Michigan here.

For more information about picking an adoption agency, learn about the Top Fifteen Things to Look for In An Adoption Agency.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Complete a Home Study
9. Domestic Infant Adoption: Complete a Home Study

Regardless of whether you complete your adoption through an agency or attorney (all adoptions that are not through foster care are private. You can have a private agency adoption or a private independent adoption), you will need to complete an adoption home study.

Your home study social worker will help educate you about adoption and ensure that you (and your spouse, if applicable) meet the requirements outlined on Slide Four.

Click here to learn more about the Home Study process.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Spread the Word
10. Domestic Infant Adoption: Spread the Word

Advertising for adoption services and placements is not addressed in Michigan adoption law.

One of the most important things you can do while waiting for an adoption match is to let everyone know about your hope to adopt. Many adoption connections are made through word-of-mouth referrals.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Parent Profiles
11. Domestic Infant Adoption: Parent Profiles

Creating a profile on Adoption.com Parent Profiles allows you to easily share your story with those considering placing their child for adoption. Features like videos and photos, posts, Pinterest-like favorites, and recommendations and endorsements make it easy to create a profile as unique as you are, increasing the likelihood that you will stand out and connect with that right person.

Rich communication options like video chat and instant messaging make connecting easy. A mobile-responsive design means that you will never be out of reach.

What’s more, Adoption.com receives over 650,000 monthly visits, which means your profile will receive unparalleled exposure. You can even view and monitor your progress through a detailed statistics page.

Ready to get started? Visit adoption.com/profiles to create your profile.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Relinquishment
12. Domestic Infant Adoption: Relinquishment

In Michigan, birth parents sign a consent, which is turned into family court and voluntarily relinquishes the parental rights so that the child can be placed with a specific pre-adoptive home. After the child has been in the pre-adoptive home for six months, and the court determines the placement is in the best interest of the adoptee, the adoption will be finalized by court order.

The parent who grants consent may petition the court for revocation of that consent. A release cannot be granted if the child has already been placed for adoption, unless the placement happened before the termination of rights went final in court and a petition was filed for a rehearing.

SOURCE: Adoptionbirthmothers.com

Domestic Infant Adoption: Birth Father Rights
13. Domestic Infant Adoption: Birth Father Rights

In the state of Michigan, attempts to contact the birth father must be made before parental rights can be terminated.

Consent from the birth father is needed prior to an adoption if he has been financially and emotionally supportive to the birth mother during pregnancy. If there has been no involvement or effort to contact, birth father's rights can be terminated without consent.

Domestic Infant Adoption - Laws about Birth Parent Expenses
14. Domestic Infant Adoption - Laws about Birth Parent Expenses

Hopeful adoptive parents and/or an adoption agency may provide reasonable and actual payment for birth or adoption-related medical, legal, travel, or living expenses for an expectant mother for up to six weeks postpartum.

Read more about birth parent expenses here.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Post-Adoption Contact Agreements
15. Domestic Infant Adoption: Post-Adoption Contact Agreements

Post-adoption contact agreements are not addressed in Michigan adoption laws.

A post-adoption contact agreement is a voluntary agreement that can be entered into by adoptive and birth families. The contract outlines details about how much contact the birth and adoptive families would have after the adoption is finalized. Because Michigan law does not address post-adoption contact agreements, they cannot be enforced. Michigan depends upon trust for post-adoption contact agreements.

Domestic Infant Adoption Finalization
16. Domestic Infant Adoption Finalization

Finalization of an adoption takes place at least one year after a child has been placed in an adoptive home for private adoptions, six months for state agency adoptions.

A petition to adopt must be submitted within the first 30 days after placement of a child. After the petition has been filed, the court will investigate to ensure that the placement is in the best interest of the adoptee.

If the court approves of the placement, an order of adoption is entered in court after the six-month waiting period and the adoption is then finalized.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Adopting  in Michigan from Out of State
17. Domestic Infant Adoption: Adopting in Michigan from Out of State

With private (usually domestic infant) adoptions, it is always possible to adopt a child within Michigan, even if you live in a different state.

The Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) was adopted in the 1960s to provide for oversight and protection of children placed for foster care or adoption between states.

If you are adopting a child from another state, you will need to receive permission from the ICPC office in the state where the child is from. Your agency or attorney will send the office copies of your home study and some other paperwork. They will need to approve your packet before you can bring your child home.

It is not generally recommended that adoptive families contact the ICPC office directly, as it tends to delay or disrupt the process. Your attorney or agency will manage the ICPC process for you.

However, if you have waited longer than the average wait time, calling the ICPC may be in your best interest.

Read more about the ICPC here.

Domestic Infant Adoption: Traveling to Michigan from Out of State
18. Domestic Infant Adoption: Traveling to Michigan from Out of State

Hotels average $80 to $100 per night, depending on what area of Michigan you are in. There are many sights near Detroit, including the Henry Ford Museum and the Detroit Zoo. Michigan also has many lakes and welcoming small towns, including Traverse City, Mackinaw Island, and South Haven.

Foster Adoption in Michigan
19. Foster Adoption in Michigan

Before you get started, click here to familiarize yourself with the overall process of adopting children through foster care. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back here to get the details about foster adoption in Michigan.

Foster Adoption: Get Professional Help
20. Foster Adoption: Get Professional Help

In Michigan, you can complete a foster adoption either through a private agency that is licensed to provide foster care services or directly through Michigan’s Department of Human Services.

To find adoption agencies in Michigan and to read reviews, check out Adoption.com’s Michigan Reviews page.

You will still need to complete a home study as part of this process. If you are adopting through the Department of Human Services, the state will cover the cost of the home study.

Becoming Part of the Foster Care System
21. Becoming Part of the Foster Care System

Families hoping to adopt through foster care can go through the dual licensing process to receive both their foster care and adoption licensing.

When a child cannot be returned to their biological parents, the state of Michigan makes every effort to find an adoptive home as quickly as possible. Relative or current foster homes are the first choice for adoptive homes when parental rights are terminated.

Foster homes that are also licensed for adoptions can be available to move toward adopting a foster child in their home if parents rights are terminated.

Post Adoption Contact Agreements
22. Post Adoption Contact Agreements

Post-adoption contact agreements are not enforceable by law in Michigan, and they are not recommended in many cases of adoption through foster care.

A post-adoption contact agreement is a voluntary agreement that can be entered into by adoptive and birth families. The agreement outlines details about how much contact the birth and adoptive families will have after the adoption is finalized.

In instances in which the child’s biological parents’ rights have been involuntarily terminated, the well-being of the child needs to be first and foremost in everyone’s minds if a post-adoption contact agreement is created. Caseworkers and therapists should be consulted in making decisions about contact after adoption.

Finalization
23. Finalization

In Michigan, foster adoptions completed with a licensed state agency take six months after the placement of a child within the adopted home.

Adoption Assitance
24. Adoption Assitance

The Adoption Subsidy Program provides financial or medical assistance for families adopting through foster care. The subsidy is determined based on the needs of the child, and is meant to assist in the cost of raising the child, not cover all costs. Adoptive families may also be eligible to receive reimbursement for court or other adoption-related expenses. Adoptive parents may also be eligible for federal tax credits.

Ongoing support and training are also available through Michigan’s Post Adoption Resource Centers.

Foster Adoption: Adopting in Michigan from Out of State
25. Foster Adoption: Adopting in Michigan from Out of State

The Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) was adopted in the 1960s to provide for oversight and protection of children placed for foster care or adoption between states.

If you are adopting a child from another state, you will need to receive permission from the ICPC office in the state where the child is from. Your agency or attorney will send the office copies of your home study and some other paperwork. They will need to approve your packet before you can bring your child home.

Read more about the ICPC here.

Foster Adoption: Traveling to Michigan from Out of State
26. Foster Adoption: Traveling to Michigan from Out of State

Hotels average $80 to $100 per night, depending on what area of Michigan you are in. There are many sights near Detroit, including the Henry Ford Museum and the Detroit Zoo. Michigan also has many lakes and welcoming small towns, including Traverse City, Mackinaw Island, and South Haven.

International Adoption in  Michigan
27. International Adoption in  Michigan

Before you get started, click here to familiarize yourself with the overall process of international adoption. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back here to get the details about international adoption in Michigan.

International Adoption: Photolisting
28. International Adoption: Photolisting

There are millions of beautiful children across the world who are hoping to find a forever family.

Click here to meet some of them through our Photolisting.

International Adoption: Get Professional Help
29. International Adoption: Get Professional Help

With international adoptions, your only choice is to complete your adoption through an agency. Because of the Universal Accreditation Act, all adoption agencies completing international adoptions are required to be credentialed according to federal standards. Make sure to check with any agency before working with them to ensure they have this accreditation in place!

In selecting an international adoption agency, there are Four Essential Criteria you should probably consider.

Click here to browse through reviews of adoption agencies in  Michigan.

In order to be approved to adopt internationally, you will need to complete an international adoption-specific home study.

International Adoption: Post-Adoption Requirements
30. International Adoption: Post-Adoption Requirements

An adoption is recognized in the state of Michigan as long as the adoption, consent to adoption, or release of the child for adoption is in accordance with the laws of the country in which the adoption was executed.

Michigan law permits courts to certify an adoption completed in another country so that a Michigan birth certificate can be issued for the child.
   
You will also need to request a U.S. birth certificate for your child.

Read more about post-adoption requirements here.

Stepparent Adoption in  Michigan
31. Stepparent Adoption in  Michigan

Before you get started, click here to familiarize yourself with the overall process of stepparent adoption. Then, because laws and processes vary from state to state, come back here to get the details about stepparent adoption in Michigan.

Stepparent Adoption: Terminating Parental Rights
32. Stepparent Adoption: Terminating Parental Rights

In order for you to adopt the child of your spouse, the corresponding biological parent’s rights will first need to be terminated, either voluntarily or involuntarily.

You will need to consult with an adoption attorney about your desire to adopt. He/she can help you decide if it’s likely that the biological parent would be willing to relinquish rights OR if it would be feasible to pursue involuntary termination of his/her parental rights.

Stepparent Adoption: Petitioning to Adopt
33. Stepparent Adoption: Petitioning to Adopt

Once parental rights have been terminated, you can file a petition to adopt with the courts. You and your spouse will both testify in court regarding the stability of your marital relationship, the bond you’ve developed with your stepchild, and your desire to become the legal parent of your stepchild.

You will generally not be required to complete a background check or home study as part of the stepparent adoption process.

Works Cited
35. Works Cited

http://www.adoptionservices.org/child_adoption_laws/adoption_laws.htm

http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(qbh3ymkxqvlckc1dp2xfcqoi))/mileg.aspx?page=loadvirtualdoc&bookmarkid=6495

http://travel.state.gov/content/adoptionsabroad/en/about-us/statistics.html

http://www.michigan.gov/dhs/0,4562,7-124-60126_7116---,00.html

https://www.michigan.gov/documents/MCWLChap15Part1_34821_7.pdf

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Liz Young

Liz and her husband are foster parents in Illinois. They adopted their three boys through foster care. Liz shares personal experiences from her crazy journey of foster parenting at The Crazy House


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