Adoption Finalization in Michigan
How to Complete Your MI Adoption
The day you get to take your baby home from the hospital will be one of the best in your lives. You’ve waited for this for so long, and your child is finally home with you for you to love and nurture and bond with. However, this doesn’t mean the adoption process is completely over. Before your child is legally and completely yours, you’ll need to get a final decree of adoption from a Michigan judge.
If you work with American Adoptions, your adoption specialist will explain in depth exactly what you need to take care of prior to your adoption finalization hearing. To help you prepare for that exciting day, however, it may be helpful to understand how your Michigan adoption finalization hearing will go.
You, your immediate family, your child and your attorney will gather in front of a judge for a hearing that generally takes between 30 and 60 minutes. By this point, the judge has already reviewed your case, so the actual Michigan adoption finalization hearing doesn’t generally take very long.
Your attorney will instruct you when to introduce yourselves, and he or she will briefly explain to the judge why the adoption is in the child’s best interests. While American Adoptions works with families pursuing the adoption of infants, if your child is old enough, the lawyer may ask them if they want the adoption to proceed. This isn’t to put your child on the spot, but to ensure to the judge that the child is indeed in favor of the adoption plan.
The attorney will then ask you to confirm to the judge that you intend to care for and love this child. At this point, the judge may ask you some simple questions. If you want a picture of your adoption finalization day, this may be the time to do so!
The judge will then review any orders related to the adoption, such as birth parent expenses or the termination of the father’s rights. He or she will make sure the mother’s rights were terminated legally and ethically, that post-placement visits were completed as necessary, and that ICPC and ICWA laws were followed, if applicable. If everything is in order, he or she will sign the Michigan final decree of adoption.
In addition to receiving your final decree of adoption, you’ll also get a new birth certificate for your child that lists the adoptive parents as the “natural parents.” If you adopt a baby from outside of Michigan, the state of Michigan will communicate with that state in order to line everything up with the new birth certificate. If this is the case, it may take a few months to receive your child’s new birth certificate.
Please remember, however, that your child’s adoption finalization isn’t truly the end of the adoption process. Adoption is a lifelong journey, and your responsibility after receiving the final decree of adoption is making sure your child grows up feeling comfortable with their story and with asking questions. Make sure they know that being adopted is something to be proud of!
For more information about adoption finalization in Michigan, call 1-800-ADOPTION to speak with an adoption specialist.
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