If you are considering adoption and live in Michigan, you may be wondering about the requirements and laws associated with Michigan Adoption. Reading state statutes regarding adoption law can be confusing. If you are looking at the laws from the perspective of an adoptive parent, in general, there are three categories that you should familiarize yourself with: the laws and requirements for adoptive parents to be considered eligible to adopt, the laws that involve birth parents placing a child for adoption, and the laws that dictate when an adoption finalizes.
In Michigan, all laws are determined by the state—as they are in every state. There is not a set of federal adoption laws concerning domestic adoption; rather each state has its own adoption laws. As a Michigan resident, you’ll want to work with an adoption agency or attorney—who is very familiar with Michigan adoption laws and policies—who has successfully completed a good number of finalized adoptions in Michigan.
Most of these legal guidelines for families adopting in Michigan apply whether you’re adopting a newborn through domestic adoption, an infant or older child from the U.S. foster care system, or a child through international adoption. Here is an overview of the laws and requirements governing Michigan adoption:
Who Qualifies to Adopt in Michigan?
In Michigan, single individuals and married couples are both permitted to adopt. LGBT individuals and couples, unfortunately, may face obstacles. If they are legally married, that may be helpful, but adoption is one area of law where the state of Michigan does not recognize same-sex marriages. There would be additional legal processes an LGBT married couple in Michigan would have to undertake if petitioning for the joint adoption of a child. Prospective adoptive parents must have a home study, which includes a criminal, child abuse, FBI fingerprint, and sexual offender checks. There are no age requirements and no requirements for how long you must be married before you can adopt.
What Is a Home Study?[dfp_ads id=46]The home study is a portion of the adoption process that many prospective adoptive parents are very anxious about. They worry that in order to pass the home study, their home needs to be luxurious or perfect, but this is not the case. The home study’s primary purpose is to make sure your home is safe for any child that might reside there. It also helps the social worker get to know you and your family better. The social worker can assist you in deciding what type of adoption to pursue, what special needs you would be able to accommodate, and how many children you could consider adopting at once. If you are adopting through the foster care system, for example, you could end up adopting a sibling group, if you are open to the idea of adopting more than one child. Your home study social worker is your ally in this process, not the enemy. In fact, they can be a great source of support and knowledge throughout your adoption process.
What are the Laws Affecting the Placement of a Child?
In Michigan adoption, the birth parents (in domestic infant adoption), can consent to the placement of their child any time after birth. This consent happens at a court hearing. If there is an identified birth father, he can consent to waive his rights prior to or after the child’s birth. There is no formal revocation period in Michigan. In general, once the birth parents have given their consent for placement in court, it cannot be revoked. A “change of mind” is not sufficient in Michigan for the birth parents to regain custody. They must prove that coercion or fraud occurred. This law is favorable to adoptive parents, since revocation is more or less impossible, so long as the adoption was completed legally and ethically.
When and How Can The Adoption Be Finalized?
In order for a finalized adoption to take place in Michigan, post-placement supervision is completed. This supervision is generally done in the form of visits to your home, usually by the same social worker who completed your home study. The purpose of the post-placement visits is to determine how the child is doing in their new home, as well as how the adoptive parents are adjusting. The social worker may ask to see the nursery or where the child sleeps and will ask general questions about how everyone in the household is adjusting to the new addition, including any other children you may have.
The social worker can also provide you with information and resources that can help you best adjust to having a new child at home, and other adoptive parenting resources. In Michigan, there should be at least three post-placement visits before finalization, generally one per month. The finalization hearing is the last step you will need to complete to finalize the adoption formally. This hearing normally takes 30 to 60 minutes and is designed to demonstrate that the adoptive parents are a good fit for their child. Generally, these hearings are more ceremonial and celebratory, and your attorney can prepare you easily for how to answer the few questions the judge will ask of you. In an open adoption, sometimes birth family will also attend this court hearing.
After finalization, many families take the opportunity to have a gathering that celebrates their new family member becoming a permanent addition to the family.
By examining the requirements and laws for Michigan adoption, it appears the requirements and laws give both birth parents and adoptive parents a reasonable treatment. With the exception of the laws being unfavorable towards LGBT couples, Michigan is generally a fairly “adoption friendly” state. The home study and pre-adoption requirements are fairly consistent with other states, and adoptions can be finalized rather quickly, which is in the adoptive parents best interest. If you are interested in adopting in Michigan, look for a reputable agency or an adoption attorney near you who can help you begin the process.