From Detroit to Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor to Lansing, hundreds of Michigan families have been created through adoption. Whether you are considering placing your baby for adoption or looking to adopt in the Great Lake State, the following Michigan adoption information can help you get started on your adoption journey.
Laws, Rules and Qualifications for Adopting a Child in Michigan
As a couple or individual considering growing your family through adoption in Michigan, it is important to understand state laws and regulations. Find the information you need about foster care and adoption laws in Michigan below.
What are the laws and qualifications for adopting a child in Michigan?
Any person or husband and wife jointly may adopt.
What adoption expenses can be paid by adoptive families in Michigan?
Each state has laws regulating the expenses that can be paid by adoptive families in connection with their adoption. In Michigan, an adoptive parent may pay for the following reasonable and actual expenses:
- Medical and hospital fees incurred by the birth mother or the child to be adopted
- Counseling services for the birth parent
- Living expenses during pregnancy and up to six weeks after birth
- Home study fees
- Traveling expenses necessitated by the adoption
- Agency fees
- Legal fees
Adoptive families may not pay medical expenses that are covered by the birth mother’s insurance or Medicaid or any birth mother living expenses beyond six weeks after the child’s birth.
Except for court-approved fees and charges, nothing of value can be exchanged in connection with an adoption placement, the communication of the existence of a child available for adoption or for birth parents’ release or consent.
The following documents must be filed with the court at least 7 days before formal placement:
- A verified accounting signed by the adoptive parent itemizing all payments made or agreed to be made in connection with the adoption
- A verified statement of the petitioner’s attorney itemizing their services and fees paid to the attorney
- A verified statement of the child-placing agency or department itemizing their services and fees paid to the agency or department
What are the laws to become a foster parent in Michigan?
Anyone applying to be a foster parent in Michigan must meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Complete a licensing application
- Successfully complete the home study process, including background clearances and medical statements for all household members
- Provide three references
- Attend training
For more information about foster care and foster-to-adopt placements in Michigan, visit the Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange.
What are the requirements to finalize an international adoption in Michigan?
If a child is born outside of the United States or Canada and is adopted by a Michigan resident under Michigan law or the laws of the child’s birth country, the adoptive parent may motion the probate court to file a delayed registration of birth, which will contain the child’s birth date and place. At the adoptive parent’s request, a probate court may enter a new legal name for the child on the delayed registration of birth.
Is it legal to use advertising or facilitators to adopt in Michigan?
The use of advertisements in adoption is not addressed in Michigan statutes. Michigan defines “adoption facilitator” as a child-placing agency or adoption attorney who assists birth parents and adoptive parents with adoptions.
In Michigan, adoption facilitators must provide each person who inquires about services with an adoption process pamphlet prepared by the Department of Human Services, as well as a written document that includes the following:
- The type of adoption the facilitator handles
- The services the facilitator provides
- The facilitator’s eligibility requirements for adoptive families
- The procedure for selecting adoptive parents for a child, including the birth parents’ role in the selection process
- The amount of contact the facilitator permits or encourages between birth and adoptive parents
- A fee schedule
The facilitator should provide orientation consistent with department requirements and disclose all known information about the child to the adoptive parents.
Laws, Rules and Qualifications for Placing a Baby for Adoption in Michigan
There are several laws in place in Michigan to protect birth parents’ rights throughout the adoption process. The following information provides an overview of the rules and regulations for placing a baby for adoption in the Great Lake State.
When and how can birth parents consent to the adoption?
Parental consent must be executed before a judge or other authorized individual after the judge has fully explained to the parent their legal rights and the fact that voluntary consent permanently relinquishes his or her rights to the child.
In a direct placement, the consent must be accompanied by a signed statement that:
- The parent has received a list of support groups
- The parent has received counseling services or waives the counseling
- The parent has not received or been promised anything of value in exchange for their consent
- The consent is not affected by any separate agreement between the parent and the adoptive parent
- The parent understands that it is in the child’s best interest to inform the child-placing agency, court or department of any health problems the parent later develops that could affect the child
- The parent understands that it is in the child’s best interest to keep his or her address current with the child-placing agency, court or department
Who must consent to the adoption?
In Michigan, consent must be given by:
- Each surviving parent
- The authorized representative of the department or child-placing agency having custody of the child
- The court or a tribal court having custody of the child
- The child’s appointed guardian
- The parent’s appointed guardian
- The authorized representative of another state court or child-placing agency that has authority to consent to adoption
- The child to be adopted, if he or she is age 14 or older
If the child’s parent is a minor, their consent is not valid unless a parent or guardian of the minor parent also executes consent.
When is consent not needed?
Parental consent is not needed in the following circumstances:
- The parent’s rights have been terminated
- The child was released to a child-placing agency or the department for the purpose of adoption
- A guardian of the child or the parent has been appointed
- A parent having legal custody of the child is married to the prospective adoptive parent
A putative father’s rights may be terminated when he:
- Verifies his paternity and denies interest in custody of the child
- Files a disclaimer of paternity
- Failed to file an intent to claim paternity within 30 days of receiving notice
- Fails to appear at a hearing or after receiving proper notice of the hearing or appears at the hearing and denies his interest in custody of the child
- Did not provide support for the mother during pregnancy and has not made provisions for the child’s care
- Has not provided support for the mother, shown interest in the child or made provisions for the child’s care for at least 90 days before the hearing
In a stepparent adoption, when the spouse of the custodial parent wants to adopt the child, the other parent’s rights may be terminated if the other parent has the ability to support the child but has failed to do so for a period of at least two years, or if the parent, having the ability to contact the child has failed to do so for a period of at least two years.
When does the birth parents’ consent become irrevocable?
A person who executed consent may petition the court for a hearing on whether to grant revocation. Consent cannot be revoked unless the child is placed while an appeal of termination of parental rights is pending and a petition has been filed for a rehearing within the required timeframe.
What rights does the father of the baby have in Michigan adoptions?
In Michigan, “father” is defined as the man who signs an acknowledgement of parentage of a child. For a child born out of wedlock, a man is considered the natural father of the child if he and the mother complete a form acknowledging parentage.
Before the child’s birth, a person claiming under oath to be the father may file a verified notice of intent to claim paternity with their county court. He is then presumed to be the child’s father unless the mother denies that he is the father. Any person who files a notice of intent to claim paternity in a timely manner is entitled to notice of any hearing involving the child.
Home Study and Post-Placement Requirements in Michigan
In Michigan, the home study must be completed and approved prior to fostering or adopting a child. The home study is an assessment of the adoptive or foster parents’ ability to provide a safe, nurturing home to a child. The following guidelines outline the Michigan home study process and requirements.
What is included in the Michigan home study process?
The pre-placement assessment in Michigan includes personal interviews and visits to the adoptive parent’s home, as well as interviews of others who know the individual, criminal records checks and a physical examination. The following information will be addressed:
- The background of the applicant, including age, nationality, race, ethnicity, religion, marital and family status and history
- Physical and mental health information, including any instances of substance abuse
- Education and employment history
- Skills and interests
- Property and income, including financial obligations
- Motivation to adopt
- Any involvement in a domestic violence proceeding or a proceeding concerning a child
- Any criminal convictions
- Any facts or circumstances concerning the suitability of the individual as an adoptive parent
Who is included in the home study process?
The individual(s) seeking to adopt must undergo the home study assessment.
Who will conduct the home study?
A child-placing agency will conduct the home study.
On what grounds will the home study not be approved in Michigan?
A child will not be placed with a prospective adoptive parent if the parent has been convicted of any of the following:
- Soliciting a child for an immoral purpose or child sexual exploitation
- Criminal sexual conduct
- A crime of another state similar to any of the above
When should the home study be completed?
The home study must be completed and on file with the agency before an adoption placement.
What is a post-placement study in the adoption process? What are the post-placement study requirements for Michigan?
When an adoption petition is filed, the court will direct a full investigation by an employee or agent of the court, a child-placing agency or the department. The court may use the pre-placement assessment or order an additional investigation. The investigation will consider the best interests of the adopted child, the child’s family background and the reasons for the adoption placement. A written report of the investigation must be filed within three months after the order for the investigation.
Before the order of adoption is entered, the agency will provide post-placement supervision for the adoptive family at least once every three months after placement until the final order of adoption is entered. This post-placement supervision will assess and record the child’s and adoptive family’s adjustment and keep the parents informed of the agency’s continuing assessment at the conclusion of each visit.
What are the home study requirements to adopt a child from another state?
Any interstate placement of a child is subject to the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC). The child cannot be sent to the adoptive parents’ state until the appropriate public authorities there notify the child’s birth state in writing that the proposed placement does not appear to be contrary to the interests of the child.
What are the requirements to adopt a child that is currently in my care?
If the child being adopted has been in the prospective adoptive parents’ foster care for at least 12 months and the family has a current home study, the petitioner may motion the court to waive the full pre-placement investigation.
To start the home study process, contact one of these trusted Michigan home study providers:
- Child & Parent Services
Child & Parent Services is a licensed nonprofit adoption agency that provides post-adoption services and support and facilitates home studies for interstate, attorney-assisted and international adoptions.
- Keane Center for Adoption
The staff at the Keane Center for Adoption routinely complete expert home study and post-placement services for adoptive parents who are working with adoption attorneys, out-of-state agencies and family adoptions.
Michigan Adoption Professionals
For more information about adoption in Michigan or to begin the adoption process, contact one of these local adoption professionals:
- American Adoptions
- Hands Across the Water
- Heaven Sent Adoption Services
- Keane Center for Adoption
- Morning Star Adoption Center
For more information about foster care in Michigan, visit the Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange.
Things to do in Michigan
If your adoption journey takes you to the Wolverine State for visits with prospective birth parents or while you’re waiting for ICPC approval, take some time to see some of the fun things Michigan has to offer:
- Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit)
- Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (Munising)
- Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park (Grand Rapids)
- Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (Empire)
- Mackinac Island State Park (Mackinac Island)
- Gilmore Car Museum (Hickory Corners)
- Tahquamenon Falls State Park (Paradise)
- Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive (Empire)
- Motown Museum (Detroit)
Find more information about traveling to Michigan at http://www.michigan.org/.