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CONFIDENTIAL INTERMEDIARY PROGRAM IN MICHIGAN
Michigan has a confidential intermediary program for adoptions finalized in the state. Adoptees and birthparents can apply to the family court (formerly the probate court, and sometimes still referred to in that way) in the county in which the adoption was finalized, seeking the appointment of a confidential intermediary, or "CI," to perform a search. If an adoption agency was involved and still exists, they may be able to help you with this process. It generally costs approximately $250, in addition to a $20 application fee.
If you petition for a CI, the individual appointed will be given access to the court and/or agency file. He or she will take this information and conduct a search. If this search is completed, the CI will make contact and ascertain whether the person found wishes to have contact with the person searching.
If the answer is "yes," the CI will facilitate the meeting. If the answer is "no," however, the CI can do nothing more than report back that contact has been declined. (The CI will likely attempt to obtain medical information at the least, but this is not always possible.)
In the event that contact is declined, the searching party will be given absolutely no identifying information about the person who has been found. Nor will any identifying information be released while the CI is conducting the search.This system has both obvious benefits and obvious drawbacks.
For those without enough information to conduct a successful search on their own, the CI may be the only way under current laws that contact can be made. The CI will be able to access file information that simply may not be available to the adoptee. Also, some people prefer the buffer of a third party making the initial contact, although you can always get another to make the first contact for you, without going the CI route. Finally, it's just easier and faster for some people to use the system rather than to try to accomplish the search on their own. On the other side of the ledger, placing the search in the hands of the
CI constitutes a significant surrender of power by the searcher, in that he or she loses all control of the search and, most importantly, how the first contact is made. If that is handled badly, the relationship may be doomed before it can even begin. This is not to say that CI's cannot properly handle that first contact, but some CI's are better at it than others. Also, each has his or her own ideas about how the contact should be made, and those ideas may not coincide with your own thoughts in that regard. Finally, some believe that it is a violation of an adoptee's civil rights to have to go through an intermediary to get information that is readily available to all nonadopted persons.
With this information, you can determine whether you wish to search on your own, or whether you will apply for a CI. For some people lacking sufficient information, the CI may be the only way to go. For others, however, it may be worthwhile to retain control of the search and see if it can be successfully completed outside the CI program. That program can always be accessed later, if it becomes necessary.
For more information on the confidential intermediary program:
http://www.michigan.gov/fia/0,1607,7-124-5452_7116_7125-14050--,00.html


 

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