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adoption

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A federal judge says St. Vincent Catholic Charities and other faith-based adoption agencies with state contracts can refuse to place children with same sex couples while a lawsuit is pending.

A federal judge ruled late Thursday against Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.

two moms sitting with child sitting between them
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Faith based adoption and foster agencies might be allowed to keep turning away prospective parents based on their sexual orientation. That’s if a federal judge allows it while an underlying lawsuit plays out.

In March, Attorney General Dana Nessel settled a different lawsuit – the terms of the settlement prevent the state from working with agencies that discriminate based on sexual orientation.

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The birth mom was due in March 2019, but “typically delivers a couple of weeks early,” Tara Lynn Lee told the couple in South Carolina. They knew Lee through her Michigan-based organization, Always Hope Pregnancy and Education Center. In October 2018, Lee set up a phone call with the South Carolina couple, and the woman they believed was considering them to adopt her unborn child.

Two parents with child
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Dana and Kristy Dumont, a same-sex couple in Michigan, have filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit over whether religious child welfare agencies can decline to help them foster a child.

The lawsuit was filed by St. Vincent Catholic Charities and Melissa and Chad Buck, who fostered and then adopted five children using St. Vincent Catholic Charities' services.

children lined up on a sidewalk
Airman 1st Class Lausanne Morgan / U.S. Air Force

Today on Stateside, how are Michigan schools preparing for active shooter situations? And what role does the state play in tracking efforts to make schools safer? Plus, Michigan State University's historic role in the divestment movement of the 1970s, and why students there are calling for greater transparency about their school's current investments.

picture of Sabina West
Michigan History Center

Today on Stateside, Congressman Dan Kildee (D-Flint) tells us about a newly-introduced House bill that aims to improve the Affordable Care Act, even as the Trump Administration is pushing to repeal the health care law. Plus, how the adoption system is failing children with darker skin, and how to fix it. 

LGBT Pride Flag
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Today on Stateside, what will a lawsuit settlement that prohibits state-funded adoption agencies from refusing LGBTQ clients mean for Michigan moving forward? Plus, from full-length movies to one-minute shorts, we talk about the films you'll find at the 57th annual Ann Arbor Film Festival, which kicks off Tuesday.

child in doorway
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A settlement may be coming in a lawsuit involving some Michigan adoption agencies’ ability to refuse services to same-sex couples.

The ACLU of Michigan and some same-sex couples are suing the state over its contracts with faith-based agencies that offer adoption and foster services. Those agencies can deny services to same-sex couples for religious reasons.

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Flickr/ Quinn Dombrowski

 

Today, there's no federal or state restriction on the level of PFAS contamination considered a public health threat. What there is, is an advisory. We speak to a former EPA official who helped create it. Plus, what can we learn about our own freshwater seas from researchers studying the African Great Lakes?

Rudolph Owens
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

 


Most Michigan residents can get a copy of their birth certificates within weeks by simply placing an order online. 

But for Detroit native Rudy Owens, attempts to obtain his birth records took decades of legal battles. 

Why? Because he is an adoptee. 

baby
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Every once in a while, you hear a news report about a newborn infant left in a dumpster or trashcan. Those stories can trigger feelings of sadness, loss, and bewilderment.

Before 2001, desperate parents in Michigan didn't have many options if they couldn't care for their newborn. Abandoning a child is a ten-year felony.

But in 2001, Michigan's Safe Delivery of Newborns law was passed. It allows parents to surrender their newborns inside a safe place, no questions asked. It's anonymous, safe, and legal.

Over 200 babies have been delivered to safety through the program.

LGBT Pride Flag
Tyrone Warner / flickr

The ACLU is challenging Michigan’s policy of allowing faith-based adoption agencies that accept public funds to turn away same-sex couples.

The lawsuit says the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is violating its own contracts with those agencies, which prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. It also says the department’s policy violates First Amendment and equal protection rights in the U.S. constitution.

Kristy Dumont and her wife say they were turned away by two Catholic adoption agencies when they tried to adopt.

Shannon Gibney says thanks to adoptee activism, awareness of the challenges of transracial adoptions has changed since she was adopted as a child.
Elizabeth Dahl

Writer Shannon Gibney tackles some very sensitive and emotional subjects in her new young adult novel See No Color.

First, she speaks to us with the voice of a teenage girl, and that alone can present a merry-go-round of turbulent emotions.

Next, that teen, named Alexandra Kirtridge, is an adoptee. And layered over all of that is the fact that Alex is biracial, adopted by white parents as a very young child. 

scales of justice
North Charleston / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Legislation that would make it easier for step-parents to adopt their spouses' children is heading to Governor Snyder's desk. 

A step-parent cannot adopt until the non-custodial parent's rights have been terminated.

For that to happen, if the non-custodial parent has not voluntarily agreed to termination, the custodial parent must show that for more than two years, the non-custodial parent has failed to provide child support and has not had contact with the children.

The legislation would reduce to one hearing what usually used to require two.

When prospective parents consider the possibility of adopting a child, they think about what advantages they might offer a child: a loving, stable home with economic and education advantages that the child might not otherwise have.

But as the years go on and that child grows up, there can be pitfalls and problems that no one can foresee.

And, if the child is of a different race and ethnic background than the adoptive parents, the pitfalls can be especially challenging.

There’s been a myth for a long time that Governor Rick Snyder is really a moderate on social issues, who sometimes is forced to go along with the right wing of his party in order to try to get votes for the rest of his agenda.

Gov. Rick Snyder
gophouse.com

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has signed a set of laws that let adoption agencies refuse referrals that violate their beliefs.

The new Michigan laws allow agencies that take money from the state for placing children with families to turn away same-sex couples. There would have to be a sincere religious objection and a good-faith effort to refer the couples to another adoption service.

Faith-Based Fantasy Land

Jun 11, 2015

UPDATE:  Since this commentary was published,  the AP reports that Governor Rick Snyder has signed a law letting adoption agencies refuse referrals that violate beliefs.

Well, let’s start out today by getting in the old Time Machine and going back to early May 1954. That was just before the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed segregation in public schools.

Inside the Michigan Senate
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Controversial adoption on its way to Governor Rick Snyder would allow faith-based adoption agencies that take public money to refuse to work with same-sex couples. That’s even if the U.S. Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage.

The legislation says adoption agencies that take public funds can turn away prospective clients based on a religious objection. That pretty much mirrors the existing state policy.

The Michigan State Capitol
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The Michigan House yesterday approved legislation that would allow faith-based adoption agencies that receive state money to turn away couples based on religious objections. Today, legislative Democrats introduced bills to overturn Michigan's same-sex marriage ban.

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The state House has adopted legislation that would allow faith-based adoption agencies to continue to turn away LGBT couples – even if the U.S. Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage.

The bills would continue the current practice that could be threatened by a Supreme Court ruling. Republicans say the agencies shouldn’t be forced to choose between their religious values and performing their mission.

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The state House is poised to vote tomorrow  that would allow faith-based adoption agencies in Michigan to turn away couples based on a religious objection to their lifestyle

  House Republicans rejected a number of amendments in preliminary debate on the legislation. They would have required agencies to put the best interests of children over religious concerns, and to state in advance who they would refuse to serve.  

gop.gov / gop.gov

This week, Jack Lessenberry and Zoe Clark discuss legislation that would allow faith-based adoption agencies to refuse service to LGBT couples, State Superintendent Mike Flanagan’s call for a moratorium on charter school expansion, and Candice Miller’s announcement that she won’t seek reelection.


Capitol Building in Lansing, MI
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The Supreme Court has announced they plan to hear arguments on two issues around same-sex marriage on April 28. Do same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, and are states required to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states?

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Legislation that would allow faith-based adoption agencies to refuse to work with LGBT couples or anyone else based on moral or religious grounds is headed to the floor of the state House.

A state House committee approved the bills as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments on same-sex marriage. 

Obama's budget snub, Flint water relief and a new adoption bill

Feb 4, 2015
Broken piggy bank
Images Money / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

This week, Jack and Emily discuss what’s missing from President Obama’s proposed budget, a grant to help Flint’s water woes, and a new bill that would make it legal for unmarried people to jointly adopt children.


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Michigan's adoption law has changed over the years, but many adoptees still have to use a third-party called a "confidential intermediary" when trying to find their birth parent or learn more about their background.

Yesterday, we talked with Michigan Radio listener John Stempien about his experience as an adult adoptee in Michigan, and his frustration at not being able to access his birth records or his birth parents' medical history.

Tina Caudill is a birth mother who reunited with her child and now works as a confidential intermediary. She's also the Michigan representative for the American Adoption Congress.

Looking up into the rotunda of the Michigan Capitol.
user cedarbenddrive/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Two unmarried people would be able to jointly adopt children together under a bill in the state House. Under current law, only married couples or single individuals can be grated parental rights to an adopted child.

John Stempien

When most of us go to the doctor, we probably don't think twice when we're asked about our family medical history: mom had this disease, dad's got that disease.

We also probably don't think twice about seeing faces that echo our own.

But if you were adopted in Michigan before 1980, these experiences don't come as easily.

Michigan Radio listener John Stempien wrote to us to describe his experiences as a pre-1980 adoptee in Michigan wondering how many others are in the same dilemma.

Zeke Anders
screenshot / YouTube

November is National Adoption Month.

That nation-wide focus on adoption can cause anyone in the birth triad to do some extra reflecting, whether birth parent, adoptive parent or adoptee.

Zeke Anders is an adoptee who grew up in Dearborn. He's now a filmmaker in Los Angeles.

Zeke has shared his adoption journey through a vlog - a video blog called "American Seoul" - as in Seoul, South Korea, where he was born.

Zeke Anders joined us today.

*Listen to our conversation with Anders above.

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