Persons interested in adopting children are subject to Michigan laws and administrative rules. Persons can adopt children through a child placing agency or through direct adoptions. Child placing agencies shall comply with "Licensing Rules for Child Placing Agencies." Adoption facilitators (attorneys) are governed by Adoption Laws established for persons who place children through direct adoption. Related adoption bills were enacted in June and July of 1994 for direct adoption.
The main bill, SB 721 (Welborn) made substantial changes in the Adoption Code. Some of the major elements Include:
- Direct Placement Adoption allow birth parents the right to select and consent to the adoption of their child to a particular approved adoptive home without the assistance of a child placing agency.
- Allows, in a direct placement and without being a licensed foster home, temporary placement of a child in an adoptive home for 30 days prior to a court order.
- Role of attorneys in adoption proceeding. Attorneys who meet special qualifications are called "adoption attorneys".
- Role of child placing agencies in direct placements: Preplacement Assessments must be done by private child placing agencies, and supervision of the adoption must be provided by a private child placement agency.
The "Welborn" bill also provides standards for foster care, adoptions and prescribes certain duties for the Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and adoption facilitators. It also requires that the "department" promulgate rules for training foster care and adoption workers.
Prospective adoptive parents applying to a child placing agency or adoption attorney must be assessed and evaluated to adopt a child. A single or married person can be considered for an adoption of a child.
Adoptive children can range from infants to teens. Many children may have special needs or have siblings who along with themselves need to be adopted as a family. Children can be adopted through an agency or an adoption attorney. Oftentimes, children are adopted by their foster parents.