Adoption: Do You Really Know How It All Works? (Part 1)

We unpack the subject of adoption in Michigan, and dispel a few myths about the process.


Adoption, like paternity, child relocation and personal protection orders tend to be subjects that don’t get a lot of coverage. For most people, unless you are personally affected by the issue in question, you don’t actually take time to find out the details. Why should you? After all, life is busy and why spend time informing yourself about something that doesn’t affect your life? We get it. But as the saying goes, knowledge is power, and the more you know about anything, the more you prepared you are for all eventualities.


So for those of you who have never planned to adopt, while this may seem like a subject out of your area of interest, stick with us. Information is never a bad thing, and being informed isn’t a waste of your time. However, for those people who choose not to adopt because of something they heard or read somewhere, that led them to believe that they weren’t eligible, or couldn’t afford it, this one’s for you! There’s nothing worse than missing out on something you want because you were misinformed about the process.


Many people misunderstand how broad the subject of adoption really is. You hear stories in the news about families who adopted children from African and Asian countries, and who paid a small fortune for that privilege. Numerous celebrities have done do. But what about local adoption? Obviously, in an international adoption the law would be much more complex, because you’re dealing with foreign governments in addition to our own. So does that mean it’s easier to adopt locally? What about money? Is it cheaper to adopt a child in Michigan?


The truth is that there is a lot of information out there, and it can be hard to sift through it all. So we would like to break it down for you into bit-sized chunks, and address some of the more common questions surrounding adoption in Michigan. In order to keep it simpler, we are going to focus on local adoptions, made through the foster care system. For info about out-of-state adoptions, or international adoption, we recommend that you seek out an attorney who specializes in those areas. So, without further ado, we bring you the first common adoption question:


Do all foster care children have higher need levels and/or special needs?

The vast majority of the children in foster care are available for adoption because they were taken away from their parents as a result of abuse or neglect. As a result, many do face greater physical, behavioral or emotional challenges. Although when you think about it, that’s true of all children, regardless of what their families or homes are like. Children in the foster system are still just regular children who need the same love, care and attention as all children everywhere.


The term “special needs,” when it comes to adoption, simply means that the child (or children) in question qualifies for some adoption assistance because of certain factors. Not all of those factors have to do with physical or mental handicaps, or medical problems. Some examples of non-handicap related factors would include being an older child, being from a specific cultural or ethnic background, or being part of a sibling group that needs to be placed together. Some behavioral and medical issues that fall into the category of special needs are small things, like bed wetting, that are relatively easy for a parent to work around.


Join us next time as we look at more common questions about adoption here in Michigan, and try to break down the misinformation barriers surrounding this subject. Until then, if you or a loved one are in need of assistance with any family law matter, from adoption and divorce, to paternity and custody, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our experienced family law attorneys have spent decades assisting the people of mid-Michigan with every aspect of their family’s legal needs. We can help you too.