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Adopting a child in Michigan could soon get a little easier

Susan Wares adopted her three grandkids
Jennifer Guerra
Michigan Radio
Susan Wares adopted her three grandkids

Parents looking to adopt a child in Michigan could soon have a little less red tape to deal with. That's if Governor Snyder signs off on a package of bills the legislature just passed.  

For parents like Kimberly Naik of Holland, the adoption process started when her son was less than a year old ... and didn't finish until he was three and a half. 

That whole time, they held off on buying a family-sized house, she says. "We were cramped in small quarters. There were a whole bunch of issues surrounding that waiting and waiting and waiting." She also adopted two siblings who were part of a larger group of six siblings. 

Again, Naik says, the adoption process dragged on as the kids got older. 

"There was a lot of questions about: When are we going to be part of the family forever? And the teachers were asking us about learning to write  their names on their papers. And we're like, 'please just wait, any day now this is going to be finished and then they can use our last name.'" 

This package of bills would primarily do three things: 1) Clarify the rights of the assumed biological father; 2) Give the birth mom five days to change her mind about an adoption; and 3) Cut the required wait time for adoptive parents from six months to three.

That's the period from when a child is placed with a family and when the adoption is actually finalized.  About 3,000 Michigan kids are waiting for permanent homes, according to the Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange.    

Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health. She was a 2023 Pulitzer Prize finalist for her abortion coverage.
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