Michigan couple: Case worker said we're too old to adopt - KMSP-TV

Michigan couple: Case worker said we're too old to adopt

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Rose Bean Rose Bean

Rose Bean is 63 years old. She and her husband, Virgil, are licensed foster parents. They took in a baby named Sherry when she was just 28 days old.

They have loved and raised Sherry for almost 20 months. The child's birth parents have had their parental rights terminated, and now the Beans want to adopt, but they are not getting a lot of cooperation.

"We've been told that with our age, we could not adopt her. That we was too old," Rose said. "I was told that the law states that anybody 55 and older cannot adopt a child unless it is a blood relative."

According to Rose, the case worker at Lutheran Social Services of Michigan made that statement. However, to our understanding, there is no such law that states you can't adopt after the age of 55.

"I worked in child welfare for almost 28 years. I'm not aware of any age limit. I'm surprised that a case manager would make that comment to a foster parent. If they're capable and able to be a foster parent, then they're capable and able to be adoptive parents," said Ann Marie Lesniak, executive director of Child Safe Michigan.

However, there is one age-related guideline.

"When there's an age difference, to my knowledge 50 years or more between the child and the adult, we have to establish a contingency plan. So the contingency plan would be who would take custody of that child in the event of a death or illness," Lesniak said.

The Beans have made that contingency plan. Their granddaughter, who is 22 years old, has agreed to take responsibility for the child if necessary.

"I just don't understand why they would want to take her. We're all she's got," Rose said.

So what now? Rose said she hasn't formally filed the paperwork to adopt because her case worker said it wasn't possible.

"She told me to write a letter," Rose said.

Sherry is healthy and full of smiles now, but what could the impact be if she were taken from that home?

"There is a huge emotional strain if the child would be moved. One might argue that the child would be able to adapt because of her young age, probably wouldn't remember as she got older, but the trauma that ... child would experience from going from the only caregivers that she knows would be a difficult adjustment for her," Lesniak said.

Meanwhile, we received a written statement from Lutheran Social Services. It said, "Our primary concern is for the safety and well-being of children in our care. We are responsible for protecting the privacy of these children while also ensuring case confidentiality and in doing so, we follow all policies and procedures that apply under Michigan law. We can confirm that in the home referenced, there are currently no children legally available for adoption."

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