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MICHIGAN

Adoption Law

 

 

Michigan is one of several donut hole states, which divides access to original birth certificates by the date of birth or adoption of the adoptee. In Michigan, those in the middle (i.e., the donut hole) lose.

 

Michigan requires the use of a “Central Adoption Registry” to process information and to determine whether an adoptee should or should not get “identifying information,” which does not initially include an original birth certificate. Depending on an adoptee’s date of birth, a parent may deny access to identifying information or withhold access by saying nothing. In either case, no identifying information may be released to the adoptee, except by court order.

 

Here’s how donut hole birthday access breaks down. Keep in mind that, no matter when you were born, you must first go through the state’s registry to obtain permission to access your identifying information:

  • Adoptees born on or after May 28, 1945, but before September 12, 1980: not entitled to the original birth certificate except by court order. May use the registry to find identifying information but does not include any access to the original birth certificate;

  • Adoptees born before May 28, 1945: entitled to the original birth certificate but only if a birth parent does not veto disclosure;

  • Adoptees born on or after September 12, 1980: entitled to the original birth certificate but only if a birth parent does not veto disclosure;

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The process is actually a tad more complicated. If an adoptee born outside of the donut hole years is successful through the registry process, the registry provides a “clearance form” for the adoptee to use to request his or her OBC. A clearance form must be provided to the court to request an original birth certificate from the court.

 

 

Relevant Michigan Law: Original Birth Certificate

Section 333.2831 New certificate of birth; establishment; requirements.
The state registrar shall establish a new certificate of birth for an individual born in this state when the registrar receives the following:

(a) A report of adoption as provided in section 2829, a report of adoption prepared and filed under the laws of another state or foreign country, or a certified copy of the adoption order, together with the information necessary to identify the original certificate of birth and to establish a new certificate of live birth. However, a new certificate of live birth shall not be established if so requested by the court ordering the adoption; the adopting parent; or the adoptee, if the adoptee is an adult.

(b) A request that a new certificate be established and the evidence required by the department proving that the individual’s paternity has been established.

(c) A request that a new certificate be established to show a sex designation other than that designated at birth. The request shall be accompanied by an affidavit of a physician certifying that sex-reassignment surgery has been performed.

 

Section 333.2832.
(1) When a new certificate of live birth is established, the actual place and date of birth shall be shown. The new certificate shall be substituted for the original certificate of live birth. Thereafter, the original certificate and the evidence of adoption or sex designation are not subject to inspection except as otherwise provided in section 2882(2) or (3) or upon a court order. Evidence in support of other birth record changes is subject to inspection as provided in sections 2882 and 2883.
New certificate of birth; actual place and date of birth to be shown; substitution for original certificate; inspection; restoration of original certificate upon notice of annulment or rescission of adoption; preparing new certificate on delayed birth certificate form; sealing or forwarding original certificate

 

(2) Upon receipt of notice of annulment of adoption or a copy of an order of rescission, the original certificate of live birth shall be restored to its place in the files. The certificate created under subsection (1) is not subject to inspection except upon a court order.

 

(3) If a certificate of live birth is not on file for the individual for whom a new live birth certificate is to be established under section 2831, a new live birth certificate may be prepared on the delayed birth certificate form in use at the time of adoption, legitimation, or paternity determination.

 

(4) When a new certificate of live birth is established by the state registrar, all copies of the original certificate of birth in the custody of a custodian of permanent records in this state shall be sealed from inspection or forwarded to the state registrar, as the state registrar directs.

 

Section 333.2882. Issuance of certain certified copies; request; fee; request of adopted adult or confidential intermediary;
(1) Except as otherwise provided in section 2890, upon written request and payment of the prescribed fee, the state registrar or local registrar shall issue the appropriate 1 of the following:
phrase to be marked on certificate provided under subsection (2) or (3)

(a) A certified copy of a live birth record, an affidavit of parentage filed after June 1, 1997, or a record of stillbirth filed after June 1, 2003 to 1 of the following:

(i) The individual who is the subject of the record.
(ii) A parent named in the record.
(iii) An heir, a legal representative, or a legal guardian of the individual who is the subject of the record.
(iv) A court of competent jurisdiction.

 

(b) If the live birth record is 100 or more years old, a certified copy of the live birth record to any applicant.

 

(c) A certified copy of a death record, including the cause of death, to any applicant.

 

(d) A certified copy of a marriage or divorce record to any applicant, except as provided by rule.

 

(e) A certified copy of a fetal death record that was filed before September 30, 1978, to any applicant.

 

(2) Upon written request of an adult who has been adopted and payment of the prescribed fee, the state registrar shall issue to that individual a copy of his or her original certificate of live birth, if the written request identifies the name of the adult adoptee and is accompanied by a copy of a central adoption registry clearance reply form that was completed by the family independence agency and delivered to that individual as required by section 68(9) of the Michigan adoption code, chapter X of the probate code of 1939, 1939 PA 288, MCL 710.68.

 

(3) Upon written request of a confidential intermediary appointed under section 68b of the Michigan adoption code, chapter X of the probate code of 1939, 1939 PA 288, MCL 710.68b, presentation of a certified copy of the order of appointment, identification of the name of the adult adoptee, and payment of the required fee, the state registrar shall issue to the confidential intermediary a copy of the original certificate of live birth of the adult adoptee on whose behalf the intermediary was appointed.

 

(4) A copy of the original certificate of live birth provided under subsection (2) or (3) shall have the following phrase marked on the face of the copy: “This document is a copy of a sealed record and is not the active birth certificate of the individual whose name appears on this document”.

 

 

Relevant Michigan Law: Requesting an Original Birth Certificate

710.68. Nonidentifying and identifying information; request; availability; release; request for adoption record information; identity of court or child placing agency; counseling; list of adoption support groups; transmitting information of medical or genetic condition; return of information undelivered; placement of information in adoption files; releasing or transmitting copies; information returned undelivered; notice to department of community health; sealing original and preparing new birth certificate; release of identifying information as misdemeanor; adoptions to which section applicable; “adult adoptee” defined; fees; waiver; powers and duties of children’s ombudsman

 

(1) Within 63 days after a request for nonidentifying information is received, a child placing agency, a court, or the department shall provide in writing to the adoptive parent, adult adoptee, former parent, or adult former sibling requesting the information all of the nonidentifying information described in section 27(1) and (2) of this chapter.

 

(2) Within 63 days after a request for identifying information about an adult adoptee is received, a child placing agency or court or the department shall provide in writing to the former parent or adult former sibling requesting the information the adult adoptee’s most recent name and address if the adult adoptee has given written consent to release of the information pursuant to this chapter. If the adult adoptee has not given written consent to the release of information, the child placing agency, the court, or the department shall, upon presentation of a certified copy of the order of appointment, give the adult adoptee’s name and address to a confidential intermediary appointed under section 68b of this chapter, together with any other information in its possession that would help the confidential intermediary locate the adult adoptee. At the option of agency or the department, the information may be released to the court for release to the confidential intermediary.

 

(3) If the department or a child placing agency receives a request for adoption record information in its possession from an adult adoptee, former parent, or adult former sibling, the department or child placing agency shall provide the individual requesting the information with the identity of the court that confirmed the adoption within 28 days after receipt of the request. If a court receives such a request, the court shall provide the individual requesting the information with the identity of the child placing agency that handled the adoption.

 

(4) If the court that terminated parental rights receives from the former parents or adult former siblings of the adult adoptee a request for the identity of the agency, court, or department to which the child was committed, the court shall provide in writing the name of that agency, court, or department, if known, within 28 days after receipt of the request.

 

(5) Upon receipt of a written request for identifying information from an adult adoptee, a child placing agency, a court, or the department, if it maintains the adoption file for that adoptee, shall submit a clearance request form to the central adoption registry. Within 28 days after receipt of a clearance reply form from the central adoption registry, the child placing agency, court, or department shall notify the adoptee in writing of the identifying information to which the adoptee is entitled under subsection (6) or (7), or, if the identifying information cannot be released under those subsections, the reason why the information cannot be released. The child placing agency, court, or department shall retain a copy of the notice sent to the adult adoptee.

 

(6) For adoptions in which the former parents’ rights were terminated on or after May 28, 1945 and before September 12, 1980, a child placing agency, a court, or the department shall release to an adult adoptee or to a confidential intermediary appointed under section 68b of this chapter the identifying information described in section 27(3) of this chapter and other identifying information on file with the central adoption registry as specified in section 27b of this chapter, in the following manner:

(a) All of the identifying information described in section 27(3) of this chapter shall be released to the adult adoptee, if both former parents have on file with the central adoption registry a statement consenting to release of the identifying information.

(b) The identifying information described in section 27(3)(b) and (c) of this chapter about 1 of the former parents and the identifying information described in section 27(3)(a) and (d) of this chapter shall be released to the adult adoptee if that former parent has on file with the central adoption registry a statement consenting to release of identifying information.

(c) The identifying information described in section 27(3)(b) and (c) of this chapter about 1 of the former parents and the identifying information described in section 27(3)(a) and (d) of this chapter shall be released to the adult adoptee if that parent is deceased.

(d) All of the identifying information described in section 27(3) of this chapter on both former parents shall be released to the adult adoptee, if both former parents are deceased.

(e) Upon presentation of a certified copy of the order of appointment, all of the identifying information described in section 27(3) of this chapter shall be released to a confidential intermediary appointed under section 68b of this chapter, together with additional information to assist the confidential intermediary to locate former family members. At the option of the agency or the department, the information may be released to the court for release to the confidential intermediary.

 

(7) For all adoptions in which the former parents’ rights were terminated before May 28, 1945 or on or after September 12, 1980, a child placing agency, a court, or the department shall release to an adult adoptee the identifying information described in section 27(3) of this chapter and any additional information on file with the central adoption registry as specified in section 27b of this chapter, except that if a former parent has filed a statement currently in effect with the central adoption registry denying consent to have identifying information released, the identifying information specified in section 27(3)(b) and (c) of this chapter shall not be released about that parent. For purposes of this subsection, a denial of consent is not effective after the death of the former parent. This subsection does not apply to adoptions in which the former parents’ rights were terminated under chapter XII of this act unless the former parent has filed a statement with the central adoption registry consenting to the release of identifying information.

 

(8) Upon receipt of a written request from an adult adoptee for the name and address of an adult former sibling, a child placing agency, a court, or the department, if it maintains the adoption file for that adoptee, shall submit a clearance request form to the central adoption registry. Within 28 days after receipt of a clearance reply form from the central adoption registry, the child placing agency, court, or department shall notify the adoptee in writing of the name and address of an adult former sibling whose statement was forwarded by the central adoption registry.

 

(9) If a child placing agency or court or the department requests information from the central adoption registry and if the clearance reply form from the central adoption registry indicates that neither of the former parents has on file with the central adoption registry a statement currently in effect denying consent to have identifying information released, the child placing agency, court, or department shall deliver to the adult adoptee a copy of the clearance reply form it received from the central adoption registry. The clearance reply form may be used by the adult adoptee to obtain a copy of his or her original certificate of live birth under section 2882 of the public health code, 1978 PA 368, MCL 333.2882. Except for adoptions in which the former parents’ parental rights were terminated under chapter XII of this act, this subsection applies to all adoptions in which the parents’ rights were terminated before May 28, 1945 or on or after September 12, 1980.

 

(10) If a child placing agency, a court, or the department receives written information concerning a physician-verified medical or genetic condition of an individual biologically related to an adoptee and a request that the information be transmitted to the adoptee because of the serious threat it poses to the adoptee’s life, the child placing agency, court, or department shall send a written copy of the information by first-class mail within 7 days after the request is received to the adoptee at his or her last known address. If the adoptee is less than 18 years of age, the information shall be sent by first-class mail within 7 days after the request is received to the adoptive parents at their last known address.

 

(11) If the information described in subsection (10) is returned undelivered, the agency, court, or department shall make a reasonable effort to find the most recent address of the adoptee or minor adoptee’s parents and shall again send the information by first-class mail within 21 days after receiving the returned letter.

 

(12) If a child placing agency, a court, or the department receives written information concerning a physician-verified medical or genetic condition of a person biologically related to an adoptee, and the condition is not life-threatening to the adoptee, the child placing agency, court, or department shall place the information in its adoption files. If the child placing agency, court, or department receives a written request for the information from the adult adoptee or minor adoptee’s adoptive parents, it shall release a written copy of the information to the adult adoptee or to the minor adoptee’s adoptive parents within 63 days after the request for the information was made.

 

(13) If a child placing agency, a court, or the department receives written information concerning a physician-verified medical or genetic condition that threatens the life of an adoptee and for which a biologically related person could give life-saving aid, and receives a request from or on behalf of the adoptee that the information be transmitted, the child placing agency, court, or department shall send a written copy of the information by first-class mail within 7 days after the request is received to the biological parents or adult biological siblings of the adoptee at their last known address.

 

(14) If the information described in subsection (13) is returned undelivered, the agency, court, or department shall make a reasonable effort to find the most recent address of the biological parents or adult biological siblings and shall again send the information by first-class mail within 21 days after receiving the returned letter.

 

(15) If a child placing agency, a court, or the department provides an adoptee with the name of 1 of the adoptee’s former parents, that child placing agency, court, or department shall notify the department of community health of that fact. Upon receipt of notification by the child placing agency, court, or department, the department of community health shall insure that the original birth certificate on file for the adoptee has been sealed and that a new birth certificate has been prepared in conformance with section 67 of this chapter.

(16) An employee or agent of a child placing agency, a court, or the department, who intentionally releases identifying information in violation of this section, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(17) This section also applies to a stepparent adoption and to the adoption of a child related to the petitioner within the fifth degree by marriage, blood, or adoption.

(18) As used in this section, “adult adoptee” means an individual who was adopted as a child who is now 18 years of age or older or an individual who was 18 years of age or older at the time of adoption.

(19) A child placing agency, a court, and the department may require a fee for supplying information under this section. The fee shall be $60.00 or the actual cost of supplying the information, whichever is less. The child placing agency, court, or department may waive a part or all of the fee in case of indigency or hardship.

(20) A direct descendant of a deceased adult adoptee may request information under this section. All information to which an adult adoptee is entitled under this section shall be released to the adult adoptee’s direct descendants if the adult adoptee is deceased.

(21) A child placing agency, a court or the department shall permit the children’s ombudsman to inspect adoption records in its possession in connection with an investigation authorized under the children’s ombudsman act, 1994 PA 204, MCL 722.921 to 722.935. The ombudsman shall not disclose information obtained by an inspection under this section. If the children’s ombudsman requires further information from an individual whose identity is protected in closed adoption records, the ombudsman shall contact the individual discreetly and confidentially. The ombudsman shall inform the individual that his or her participation in the investigation is confidential, is strictly voluntary, and will not alter or constitute a challenge to the adoption. The ombudsman shall honor the individual’s request not to be contacted further. As used in this subsection, “children’s ombudsman” or “ombudsman” means the ombudsman appointed under section 3 of the children’s ombudsman act, 1994 PA 204, MCL 722.923, or his or her designee.

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