[vc_row][vc_column][qbox title1=”THE ADOPTION PROCESS” title2=”General Adoption Procedures” icon=”3414″]If you are thinking about adopting a child, you should learn about the basic procedures used in most types of adoption. If you understand the rules about parental consent, know how a home study works, and review the typical court procedures, you will be better prepared for the sometimes long and emotional process of adoption.[/qbox][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Consent to Adoption[read more=”Read more” less=”Read less”] For any adoption to be legal, the birth parents must consent to the adoption (unless parental rights have been legally terminated for some other reason, such as neglect or abuse).

In Michigan, you cannot consent to an adoption until after the child is born, no sooner than 72 hours after birth. After 72 hours from the birth, the parents can sign a out-of-court consent form. This means that birth parents can legally change their minds about adoption at any point before the birth of the child because they haven’t yet given their consent to the adoption. Even after the birth parents have given their consent and the child has been placed in the adoptive home, Michigan has a revocation period after consent is signed, of five business days.  In other words, the birth parents who consented has five business days to change their minds about the adoption.[/read]

Investigation of Adoptive Parents: The Home Study[read more=”Read more” less=”Read less”]
All states require adoptive parents to undergo an investigation to make sure that they are fit to raise a child. This investigation is called a home study. Typically, the study is conducted by a state agency or licensed social worker who examines the adoptive parents’ home life and prepares a report for the court with a positive or negative recommendation for adoption. The court makes the final decision.[/read]

The social worker gets information about issues considered important to the adoptive parents’ ability to raise a child, such as:

  • financial stability
  • marital stability
  • lifestyle
  • other children
  • career obligations
  • physical and mental health, and
  • criminal history.

In recent years, the home study has become more than just a method of investigating prospective parents; it serves to educate and inform them as well. The social worker helps to prepare the adoptive parents by discussing issues such as how and when to talk with the child about being adopted and how to deal with the reactions of friends and family to the adoption.

If the social worker writes a negative report, the person wishing to adopt may contest the conclusion. Each state has different appeal procedures. Some states provide for a separate procedure, while other states make the appeal part of the adoption hearing.

 

Court Process

All adoptions, whether handled by an agency or done independently, must be approved by a court. The adoptive parents must file an adoption petition — basically a request for approval — with the court and go through an adoption hearing.

 

Adoption Petition

A standard adoption petition will generally include:

  • the names, ages, and residence address of the adoptive parents
  • the name, age, and legal parentage of the child to be adopted
  • the relationship between the adoptive parents and the child to be adopted, such as blood relative or stepparent

Termination of Parental Rights

A hearing will be held to terminate the rights of the birth parents.  Once this occurs, formal placement of the adoptee is ordered.

 

Adoption Hearing and Order

At the adoption hearing, if the court determines that the adoption is in the child’s best interest, the judge will issue an order approving and finalizing the adoption. This order, often called a final decree of adoption, legalizes the new parent-child relationship and orders a name change if the new parents have asked for one.

 

Getting Help From GC Law Group

If you do not use an agency in your adoption, you must  hire a lawyer experienced in adoptions to file, represent you at any hearings, and finalize your adoption.

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Talia@LawGroupGC.com
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