Adoption Law FAQ's

What is the legal effect of a Michigan adoption?

Under Michigan law an adoption of a child means the child is legally the child of the adoptive parents. The same rights apply as if the child was born biologically to the parents.

As the legal parents of the child the parents have all rights to the child including making medical decisions, decisions on the child's religious upbringing, and also have the legal duty as parents to see the child is cared for.

The child also has the rights to inherit from the parents just as a biological child would.

Who may adopt in Michigan?

Adoption is available to single persons and married persons. However an unmarried couple cannot adopt a child together as a married couple would.

What If the birth mother is a minor?

If the mother is a minor only one legal parent of the mother must consent. The mother may then relinquish rights voluntarily and place the child with a married couple. This is in direct-placement adoption. Otherwise the parent's rights can be terminated involuntarily just as if the birth parent were an adult.

What Is a home study (preplacement assessment)?

This is a study of the home by a social worker duly licensed. The home study examines the adopting parent's psychological well being and financial ability to care for the child. It is extensive but clients should not feel a sense of invasion of privacy. At Williams Law Offices we never have encountered a situation where the home study does not recommend adoption. This is because we take only cases where we believe the adoption will be successful.

Is a new birth certificate issued when you adopt?

Yes. Also the new birth certificate will list you, the adoptive parents, as the parents.

What is the Central Adoption Registry?

This is a registry maintained by the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services (MDHHS). It keeps the record of statements that either consent or deny consent to release statements about a Michigan adoption. The statements are available via court order or to an adoption agency. The court or adoption agency decides if it is appropriate to release "identifying information", that is the identity of the former family. Click Here to Learn More

How "open" or "closed" should the direct placement adoption be?

In direct placement the issue of closed where the adoptive parents have no knowledge or contact with the biological parents or open when there is continued contact is an issue the parties agree on. In direct placement the birth parents select the adoptive family. A middle ground is possible sometimes called semi-open adoption. This allows some contact with the biological parents including medical history and some contact usually facilitated through the adoption attorney or adoption agency.

How much contact should there be between the adoptive parents and the birth mother after the adoption is finalized?

This is such an important issue and the answer is simple. It should be left to the parent's (biological or adoptive).

How soon after delivery may a birth mother consent to the adoption?

An out of court consent can be done 72 hours after the birth.

What is an out of court consent?

An out of court consent is a procedure conducted in an adoption attorney's office. It makes the process faster than to wait for a hearing for consent to be given in open court.

How long does the birth mother have to "change her mind?"

The birth mother has twenty-one (21) days to revoke her consent under Michigan law and under the law of most states.

How does the law determine who is a relative for purposes of adoption? In Michigan a relative is related to the "fifth degree of consanguinity". That is a legal term and means the following:

"Parent, step-parent, grandparent, step-grandparent, brother, step-sister, step-sister, uncle, step-uncle, aunt, step-aunt, first cousin, step-first cousin, great-aunt, stepgreat aunt, great-uncle, step-great uncle, great-grandparent, step-great grandparent, first cousin once removed, step-first cousin once removed, great-great-grandparent, step-great great-grandparent, great-great-uncle, step-great-great-uncle, great-great-aunt, step-great-great-aunt, great-great-greatgrandparent, or step-great-great-great-grandparent"

Courtesy of https://www.michigan.gov/documents/dhs/DHS-PUB-0823_221566_7.pdf