For us the, the adoption process really began a few years ago when we began the process to become certified foster parents. Adopting through foster care in Michigan does have some requirements. We had to attend trainings (not sure if this would be required if you were not planning to foster), provide lots of documents on finances, our history, our home and had three home-studies. We also had to install an egress window (although, I’ve heard that the state is changing this requirement to a much smaller window and that there are funds available).
I often read on adoption blogs and hear from others that they found the whole process intrusive. During our home study, we did have to discuss our relationships with each other, past significant others, and our families. We had to answer personal questions about our past. They looked around our home. They asked for proof of our finances and a budget worksheet. Anyone who babysits for us must be over eighteen and needs to have a background check completed on them. Neither D nor I had an issue with any of these requirements and we did not find them intrusive. They just did not seem like a big deal in light of the fact that they are done in order to bring us to our children. Also, we appreciate the fact that this process is an attempt to be thorough in providing a safe home for kids that deserve it.
When D2 and A’s parents’ rights were terminated, we were referred to an adoption worker at our agency. We had to fill out an “Adoption Application” but most of the other requirements had already been completed during our foster care licensing process. The adoption worker will come to our home a few times before the adoption is finalized to observe how the boys are doing. She also is compiling their history for us (all the paperwork done on them since coming into foster care nearly three years ago). This is part of the full-disclosure we are entitled to by adopting them.
The fees for adopting through foster care are minimal (under $500) for some legal fees and new birth certificates. Each boy will have a new birth certificate with our names on them as their parents and with their new full names (and, I think we have finally settled on middle names, as of last night).
Right now, we are really just waiting for paperwork to be processed and for a court date to be assigned and our adoption worker is hoping that things can be official by this summer.