The Michigan Adoption Process: What You Can Expect
Up until 1995, adopting a child in Michigan required a legal termination of the rights of birth parents before the adoption process could even begin and the child could be placed with adoptive parents. Further, adoptions could only take place through the Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS) or state-licensed child-placement agencies. Thanks to changes in state laws, the situation is very different today.
Now birth parents can not only choose an adoption facilitator to handle the adoption process, but they can also choose between direct placement, whereby they select adoptive parents, or temporary placement, whereby a child is placed with prospective adoptive parents immediately following birth, even though completion of the adoption process is subject to consent for adoption being given during a court hearing after birth.
What can prospective adoptive parents expect when they choose to adopt in the state of Michigan? Here’s what you need to know.
Petition for Adoption
The first step in the adoption process is filing a petition of adoption with the court, and the adoptive parents can either do this in their county of residence or the county where the child is found. This petition is generally accompanied by a signed parental consent form, although depending on the type of adoption, consent may also come from DHS, a court, or a child-placing agency.
Once the petition and consent for adoption are filed, the court will order an investigation to ensure that the best interests of the child (or adoptee) are served through the adoption. Once this investigation is complete, the court will terminate the rights of the birth parents (or the court, DHS, or child-placing agency) and the child will become a ward of the court. At this point, an agent of the court, DHS, or a child-placing agency will be assigned to oversee the adoptive placement. If all goes well, an order of adoption will be entered.
Order of Adoption
Once a child has been placed with adoptive parents, it could take six months or longer for the court to enter the order of adoption, depending on the findings of the investigation. Once the order of adoption has been entered by the court, the adoption process is complete. It’s important to understand that this is a simplified version of the process, and there are many considerations involved when completing an adoption.
Private vs Public Adoption
Adoptions in the state of Michigan may be conducted privately or publicly. In a private adoption, the birth parents consent to the adoption and agree to give up rights to the child. This may stem from an agreement between parties or proceed through an adoption agency or adoption attorney, and the process can be completed in as little as six months to a year.
The process of a public adoption goes through the foster care system and it could take as long as five years to complete, depending on the circumstances. This is because social services departments prefer to return children to their biological parents whenever possible. There is much less risk involved in private adoption.
Your best bet when seeking adoption is to hire a qualified attorney to guide you through the process. Contact The Gucciardo Law Firm today at 248-723-5190 to get started.
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