What You Need to Know About Adopting a Foster Child in Michigan
You likely already consider your foster child to be part of your family. However, now you have the opportunity to make it official by adopting your foster child as your own. Before adoption day comes and makes your family legally whole, there are some essential steps you must complete.
Benefits of Foster Adoption
Adopting a child through foster care has some advantages compared to other adoption methods. For example:
- It’s often considerably less expensive to adopt a child through foster care. Your total adoption costs may be just hundreds of dollars compared to the tens of thousands of dollars that private adoptions cost.
- You may already know and love the child. You may be familiar with the child’s needs, behaviors, and skills before you legally adopt the child.
- You may be giving an older child, a child with special needs, or another child without a stable family the opportunity for a happy childhood and a successful future.
As the foster parent, you may be given priority if the child in your care is available for adoption. Therefore, you should be prepared for the possibility and know what to do next if you want to adopt.
Who Can Adopt a Foster Child in Michigan?
If the parental rights of the child’s biological parents are terminated and you qualify to be an adoptive parent, then you may pursue a foster care adoption. As with any adoption, you should be a legal adult (18 years old or older) who is willing to comply with all of the requirements involved in becoming an adoptive parent. You do not have to be married to adopt a child in Michigan.
How the Foster Care Adoption Process Works
Once you’ve decided to adopt through foster care, the process works in much the same way as it does for other types of adoptions. Specifically, you should be prepared to:
- Contact the Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange. This allows you to formally register as a person or family waiting to adopt through Michigan’s foster care system.
- Complete any parenting classes you haven’t taken yet. These classes may include, but may not be limited to, Permanence and Safety-Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting (PS-MAPP) and Parent Resources for Information Development and Education (PRIDE).
- File your adoption application. If you are already fostering a child, then you may identify the child on your application. If you are open to adopting children you are not yet fostering, you should include things that matter to you. For example, you should be honest about whether you would adopt children of any age, with any medical needs, with any special needs, and from any background.
- Complete your adoption home study. Home studies typically include documentation review, interviews, and home inspections.
- Finalize your adoption according to Michigan adoption law. The adoption process can be very stressful. If everything isn’t done correctly, you may lose your chance to adopt the child you love. Accordingly, it’s essential to ensure that all of the legal requirements are satisfied so that you can provide the child with the stability and legal family they deserve.
When you initially welcomed your foster child into your home, you may have hoped to adopt them. However, many foster children never become eligible for adoption. Therefore, you need to be aware of this possibility before you agree to foster children in Michigan.
When to Contact a Michigan Adoption Attorney
We encourage you to contact a Bloomfield Hills family law attorney before you begin the adoption process. There is nothing more important than your family’s security, and that begins with making sure that you become a family in the eyes of the law the way that you already are in your own heart. We encourage you to contact us today to discuss your legal options.