At American Adoptions, we specialize only in private domestic adoptions. However, foster care adoption is important to us, too. Each state runs its foster care system somewhat differently, so it can be difficult to research foster child adoption specific to Michigan. To that end, we’ve compiled some basic information to catch you up to speed on how foster care adoption works in Michigan.
Families choose to pursue adoption from foster care for many different reasons. These reasons might include any of the following:
The family was foster parenting a child whose biological parents’ had their rights terminated.
The family wants to adopt and isn’t particular about age, race, gender or special needs.
The family wants to adopt a child who needs a home.
The family knows they want to adopt but may not be able to afford other types of adoption, such as international adoption.
Anyone can be a foster parent or pursue adoption from foster care in Michigan as long as they:
Are at least 18 years old
Have completed a licensing application
Have successfully completed background checks
Provide medical statements
Have a home study
Provide three references
Attend relevant training
Of course, adoption is not about the money. A significant benefit, however, to adopting from foster care is that it generally costs the adoptive parents little to nothing. To be safe, you should plan to pay for things like medical exams and safety classes, but you shouldn’t pay more than $300 to pursue a Michigan foster care adoption in most cases.
Before beginning your Michigan foster care adoption journey, it can be helpful to know just exactly how it works. To adopt a foster child in Michigan, you will:
Contact the Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange, or MARE, to register as a family waiting to adopt through foster care.
Complete parenting classes. MARE professionals will walk you through whether you need classes like PS-MAPP (Permanence and Safety-Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting) or PRIDE (Parent Resources for Information Development and Education.)
File an application to adopt through foster care. On this application, you should be prepared to let adoption professionals know what you’re open to in terms of an adoption situation. Does the child’s age matter to you? Cultural background? Special needs? These are all things you’ll need to consider, unless of course you’ve already identified the child you wish to adopt.
Complete an adoption home study.
Wait for placement. The exact amount of time this takes may depend on how open you are in your adoption preferences (what you said you were okay with in terms of age, special needs, etc.).
When placement happens, you’ll need to satisfy the requirements to finalize an adoption in Michigan, which are similar to those for families pursuing private domestic adoptions.
Once you’ve completed Michigan’s finalization requirements, your child is officially and permanently yours! However, remember that the adoption process never really ends. You should have frequent conversations with your child about his or her adoption. Let them know they can always come to you with questions and that adoption is something to be proud of!
While this article focuses primarily on how to adopt from foster care in Michigan, there are actually three different ways to get involved in Michigan’s foster care system. The first is by adopting from foster care, which is when a family adopts a child who is legally available for adoption. This means that the child’s biological parents’ have already had their rights terminated and there is no chance that the child will be reunited with them.
Another way to get involved is to foster parent. This is when a family provides a temporary home to a child within the foster care system. The state has decided the child should be temporarily removed from his or her parents while they work to regain custody, but the state has not terminated parental rights. The goal for children who stay with foster parents is that it will be a temporary situation until they can be reunited with their parents.
Some families also choose to foster to adopt. This is when they foster a child in the hopes that one day they will be legally available to be permanently adopted. While this is an amazing way to help a child, it’s important to remember that children you foster parent may never be free for permanent adoption.
Currently, there are nearly 14,000 children in Michigan’s foster care system. Each year, around 3,000 of these kids will become legally free for adoption. To learn more about Michigan foster children for adoption, contact the Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange.
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