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Fostering vs. Adoption
in Michigan

If you’re considering foster care or adoption, it’s important to understand the differences between the two. For example, many people who want to adopt think they need to start by fostering a child, which is not necessarily the case.

Foster Care

When you decide to become a foster parent, you will work closely with a Wellspring social worker to help walk you through every step of the process of becoming a foster parent.

As a foster parent, you are choosing to open your home to caring for a child in need. The State of Michigan will maintain legal guardianship of the child throughout his or her stay in your home.

Your number one commitment as a foster parent is helping a child reunite with their birth family.

By making this commitment, you are doing everything in your power to make sure the child attends required visits with the birth parents (when appropriate) and that all of the child’s needs are met.

While you are fostering a child, the birth parents are working to resolve the issues that brought the child into foster care in the first place. This process can take weeks, months, and sometimes a year or longer. In some cases, the birth family may never resolve the issues, which means the child would become available to adopt.


For various reasons, sometimes a child can’t return home because it is not safe for them. If that decision is made, the court will terminate the parental rights of the biological family, and the child is then able to be adopted. Adoption actually transfers the legal responsibility and care over to the parents who will be adopting the child.

Sometimes the current foster parents of the child are willing and able to adopt the child. When that isn’t an option, the Wellspring social worker will work to find a permanent placement for the child. Once an adoptive parent(s) has been identified, the adoptive parents become the child’s legal guardian after the adoption is finalized.

Whether you are interested in fostering or adopting, we would love the opportunity to explore both options with you.

Let Hope Flow Through You.

We need foster parents. Schedule your orientation today.

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