Eligibility-All adoption applicants must be over 18 years of age. Both single and married people may apply to adopt. There is no set amount of income necessary to be eligible to adopt. However, having sufficient financial security so that adding a child to the home does not place stress on a family is important. Health insurance is recommended, but not required. An adoption applicant must maintain a Michigan residence in order to request an adoption evaluation be completed by a Michigan adoption worker, however home ownership is not required.
Fees and Charges-When completing an adoption evaluation for an adoption applicant seeking to adopt a child who is a permanent court or state ward there are no fees or charges for the application or adoption evaluation. When completing an adoption evaluation for an adoption applicant seeking to complete a private adoption the fee for application is $250 and the fee for the adoption evaluation is $2,000. These fees are not refundable, even if the adoptive applicants are not recommended or chose to leave Fostering Solutions private adoption program. Fostering Solutions also cannot guarantee that their adoption evaluation will be accepted by another private adoption agency without a fee from the other Agency.
There are required medical exams for all household members and applicants during the adoption evaluation process. Adoption applicants may incur a fee for these exams if the expense is not covered by their medical insurance. The Agency also retains the right to request adoption applicants to complete evaluations, such as substance abuse and psychological assessment should the Agency assess this to be necessary. The cost for any requested assessments are incurred by the adoption applicants.
During the adoption evaluation process the adoption applicants may be requested to purchase necessary safety items for the home. These costs will be incurred by the adoption applicants. Likewise, if repairs to the home are needed to ensure the safety of potential adoptive children these expenses will be incurred by the adoption applicant as well. Adoption applicants for the private adoption program will also incur the expense of their fingerprinting and background check. For adoption applicants seeking to adopt permanent court or state wards this cost is covered by BCAL.
The prospective adoptive family is responsible for paying court fees at the time that the PCA 301 Petition for Adoption is filed with the court. This fee varies between county courts but is generally between $150 and $170 per petition. There is also a fee for a new birth certificate. This fee varies per State. Michigan charges $50 for a new birth certificate. The adoptive parent(s) may be eligible to receive reimbursement for payment of court fees and birth certificate as a non-recurring expense if the adoptee is determined eligible for Nonrecurring Adoption Expenses through the adoption subsidy program. A Fostering Solutions adoption worker is able to assist the family in applying for this assistance.
In a private adoption there is a $5,000 fee for placement services. This fee covers the hospital paperwork, legal paperwork, court appearances and supervision services. Additionally, in the private adoption program, should the birth parent request counseling services, this will be at an expense to the adoptive parent in the amount of $75 per counseling session. This service can be provided for a time period of three months prior to the birth of the child and six weeks after the birth of the child. Birth mothers can also request that services related to medical, living, and legal services be paid on their behalf during the three months prior to the birth and six weeks after the birth. Adoptive parents have the right to decide if they will agree to these expenses and money is never distributed directly to the birth mother.
Adoptive parents have the right to obtain independent legal representation when adopting a child. Legal fees are at the expense of the adoptive applicants.
Services and Functions-Adoption services available to adoption applicants include an orientation, adoption evaluation, and training classes. The completed adoption evaluation and agency recommendation must be on file with supervisory approval before approving an adoptive family for an adoptive placement, introducing a child to a prospective adoptive family, and prior to placement of a child for adoption purposes. A signed and dated copy of the adoption evaluation is provided to the applicants upon its completion.
When selecting appropriate adoptive parents for a child the following are considered:
The physical, emotional, medical, and educational needs of the child,
The child’s needs for continued contact with the birth parent, siblings, relatives, foster parents, and other persons significant to the child, and
The racial, ethnic, and cultural identity, heritage, and background. The child’s racial, ethnic and cultural identity, heritage, and background may only be considered if an assessment of the individual child indicates that such consideration is in the best interests of the child.Ignore the notice.
Affirm paternity, but deny interest in custody.
Affirm paternity and express interest in custody of the child
The Agency will only place a child with a family who has an Agency approved adoption evaluation whose recommendation is consistent with the needs of the children.
Types of Adoption: Foster Parent-Foster parents often times develop significant relationships with the foster children placed with them.
Types of Adoption: Relative-The child’s best placement might be with a relative, relatives may be assessed as a suitable adoptive placement by Fostering Solutions.
Types of Adoption: Competing Parties-This occurs when more than one party is interested in the adoption of the same child(ren). Parties who are able to request adoption services for a child include the child caretaker at the time parental rights are terminated, an individual who has a significant relationship with the child or a relative to the child. When competing parties exist, each party is provided an orientation and an Adoption Application.
Once all adoption evaluations are complete, an internal meeting is held with relevant Fostering Solutions staff members to discuss the best match. A decision is made on which party will be recommended to the Michigan Children’s Institute for adoption. Factors that will be considered in the decision making process include the relationship the child has established with all interested parties, the suitability of each party as an adoptive parent, and the parties participation or attempt to participate during the child’s foster care case.
Types of Adoption: Interstate-Fostering Solutions may assist or provide an interstate adoption if the adoption of a child from another State by a Michigan family working with Fostering Solutions can take place. This can only happen if Michigan law recognizes the adoption, the consent to adoption, or the release of a child for adoption, and if one of these actions is in accordance with the laws of the State in which it was executed. If either the birth parent(s) or the adoptive parents live outside of the State of Michigan, the Interstate Compact will need to be involved in the adoption (MCL 710.44 (4).
Types of Adoption: Legal Risk- In compliance with the Michigan Adoption Code, an adoption does not take place until parental rights have been terminated in Probate Court. There is then a twenty-one day appeal period after a termination occurs. If a birth parent files an appeal the adoption cannot be completed until the appeal is resolved. However a legal-risk adoptive placement can take place during the appeal period if the family wishes and the court approves. When this is done, the adoptive parents are informed of the legal-risk and the possible ramifications are fully discussed prior to the family meeting the child. In addition, the Probate Court requires adoptive parents accepting a legal-risk placement to sign the “Notice to Adopting Parents on Pending or Potential Appeal/Re-Hearing” prior to the PCA 320 Order Placing Child being signed.
Types of Adoption: Designated Adoption-A designated adoption, where the parties know each other, is a private adoption that could involve an infant or older child. It is a voluntary release by the birth parent(s) to a specific family picked to raise their child. The adoptive family may or may not already have an adoption evaluation. If not, the agency will complete the adoption evaluation and provide the full range of services customarily established for private adoptions.
Types of Adoption: Private-The placement of an infant through private adoption occurs as soon as legally possible, preferably within the first few days of life. With private adoptions, birth parents sign a voluntary transfer of physical custody until termination of parental rights and adoptive placement occurs. Michigan’s Adoption Code does allow for temporary placement of an infant in a selected adoptive home when there is an approved pre-placement assessment and the prospective adoptive parents are residents of Michigan (MCL 710.23d (1)(c)(iv), 710.23f.
Fostering Solutions safeguards rights of birth parents by thoroughly discussing with them the definition of release, consequences of release, legal process for adoption, and the services and resources available, include counseling. Fostering Solutions will also recommend to birth parents that they speak with their lawyer should they have one court appointed to them if they desire to release their parental rights. If birth parents do not have a court appointed lawyer they will be informed of their right to request legal services. Fostering Solutions safeguards the rights of adoptive parents who apply to adopt by providing an orientation which explains to the adoptive parents their rights during the adoption process. This orientation covers the program statement, policies and procedures, services and resources available, and fees and charges for services provided by Fostering Solutions.
Fostering Solutions safeguards the rights of birth parents, children who become available for adoption, and adoptive parents by following Fostering Solutions confidentiality policy. Furthermore each individual in the adoption triad is treated with the utmost respect and dignity throughout the adoption process.
When a child born to an unmarried woman who plans to release the child for adoption, efforts must be made by the agency to identify the father of the child (putative father) and inform him of his rights. A pregnant mother intending to release may file a PCA 313, Petition to Issue Notice of Intent to Release or Consent. If filed, the notice must be provided to the putative father. If the notice is delivered more than 30 days before birth of the child and the father does not claim paternity, this may form a basis for terminating the father’s rights. If the child is already born, the father is to receive a PCA 314, Notice of Intent to Release or Consent. The father may respond in the following ways:
If the father requests custody of the child, the court will evaluate the fitness of the father to take custody. The mother may withhold her release until this decision is made. If the putative father denies paternity or denies interest in custody of the child (e.g., fails to appear at the hearing for which he received notice), the court may take testimony that this is the father of the child and terminate the father’s rights in accordance with the Adoption Code [MCL 710.37]. When a father does not appear or his identity is not known, the court may require a report regarding the efforts made to locate the father before the father’s rights are terminated.
Exchange of information/contact between biological and adoptive parents-Fostering Solutions is committed to the concept of openness in adoption, as long as it is in the child’s best interest. Relationships that have been ongoing during foster care will be encouraged to continue after adoption, if considered to be in the child’s best interest. Fostering Solutions will help families develop an appropriate visitation plan as long as it remains beneficial to the adoptive child. Visitation plans, however are not legally binding. After an adoption occurs the degree of openness is determined by the adoptive parents.