How Long Does It Take to Legally Adopt a Child in Michigan?
Adopting a child is a wonderful experience that will forever change your life. However, it can be a lengthy process. Due to the nature of adoptions, there is no single answer as to how long the process will take.
In the state of Michigan, adoptions are overseen by the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services. The MDHHS has attempted to streamline the process as much as possible. They provide a wealth of online resources and forms so that you can gain a deeper understanding of the process.
The Adoption and Guardianship Assistance Office (AGAO) operates under the umbrella of the MDHHS and is responsible for assisting adoptive parents while they navigate the adoption process.
If you are thinking about permanently adding a child to your family through adoption, it is important to know what to expect. In order to help, we have outlined some key facets of the adoption process that you will need to complete before welcoming your new child.
Factors that Affect the Adoption Process
In Michigan, there are many factors that can affect how long your adoption process takes. These include:
The outcome of Home Study
A home study is required by the MDHHS. The purpose of this study is to ensure that your home is suitable for a child.
The state of Michigan does not want to place a child in a home that is not conducive to positive growth or a child’s overall wellbeing. Independent adoption agencies also perform home studies.
During the home study, the reviewer will assess things such as the state of your home, your health, finances, parenting beliefs, and employment status. They will also conduct an extensive criminal background check.
While they are checking for any sort of criminal history, incidents like domestic violence and child abuse are of particular concern.
You will need to undergo fingerprinting as part of the background check process, as well. It is important to note that a criminal record will not necessarily prohibit you from adopting. For instance, a misdemeanor theft conviction that occurred 10 years prior may not affect your ability to care for a minor child.
Once the home study is complete, the adoption agency or MDHHS will start searching for suitable placement. Depending on the criteria that you identified, the placement process can take a few months or several years.
The more flexible you are with your adoption criteria, the sooner the placement process can be complete.
Type of Adoption
The type of adoption will also make a major impact on the length of the process. There are several types of adoption that could apply in the state of Michigan. These include:
- Infant Adoption: Placed by parents or agency
- Direct Placement Adoption: The birth parent personally selects you as an adoptive parent
- State Ward Adoption: Involves children whose parents have had right terminated
- Relative Adoption: Adoption of a child belonging to a blood relative
- Intercountry or Interstate Adoption: Adopting a child from another jurisdiction
While the MDHHS provides you with plenty of resources during the process, some forms of adoption are more complex than others. Direct placement adoptions and relative adoptions present some particularly unique challenges.
In order to protect yourself and the adoptive child, it is important that you seek legal counsel during the adoption process. The team at Gucciardo Law Firm, PLLC has extensive experience in the field of family law and the Michigan adoption process. Contact us today for a free consultation.
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