Love-Ramirez family

In Michigan, if you’re gay or lesbian, you can’t get married.

And for LGBT partners who adopt children it’s nearly impossible for both to have parental rights. That causes legal difficulties in providing a secure future for the kids they’re raising.

Two-year-old Lucas has two dads, Kent and Diego Love-Ramirez.

Diego is an airline pilot, and Kent works at Michigan State University.

“We’ve been together just over ten years. And we married in a religious ceremony five years ago and just legally married in Washington, D.C.," said Kent.

Kent and Diego are the only parents Lucas has ever known. But, the State of Michigan does not recognize one of them as a parent.

There's a special  screening tonight at the AMC Livonia 20 of the documentary "Stuck." It was an Audience Choice Winner at the Heartland Film Festival.

The film focuses on the process of international adoption and the  children and prospective parents who get "Stuck" in that process.

"Stuck" tells the story of four children and the families who want to adopt them following the children and families as they try to negotiate the bureaucratic ins and outs of the international adoption system.

Film producer Craig Juntunen joined us today along with Kendra Pinkelman. Pinkelman and her husband are trying to adopt a boy from Russia.

That adoption process came to a grinding halt when Russia banned U.S. adoptions last December.

And the Director of the Eastern Michigan Office of Adoption Associates, one of Michigan's leading agencies for international and domestic adoptions, Paula Springer also joined us. She has worked in the adoption field for some 30 years.

Listen to the full discussion above.

Dave Crispin/Facebook

There is a growing trend on Facebook of people setting up pages devoted to finding their birth parents.

It’s helped some adoptees. But some long time advocates worry that such a public search could create barriers to a reunion.

Dave Crispin has known since he was about eleven years old that he was adopted.

“It’s like the big unanswered question in my life,” Crispin says at the dinner table of his Springport, Michigan home, “I don’t know where I’m from.”

Don’t know about you, but it seems to me that the current lame duck session of the legislature is trying to do about as much as lawmakers normally do in about ten years. Now I am sure that’s an exaggeration, but it doesn’t feel like one.

Consider this. In a single day, the governor and the Republican majority pushed through the most momentous labor legislation in years, taking the once inconceivable step of outlawing the union shop and making Michigan a so-called right to work state.

They aren’t stopping there, however: The governor is going to have to make a decision on four bills, or parts of bills aimed at making it harder for women to get abortions in Michigan.

For the last two years, lots of people have believed that Rick Snyder may be a pro-business fiscal conservative, but that he was really a moderate on social issues. Well, now we are about to find out.

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Michigan adoption agencies would be able to refuse to place kids with families who violate the agency's religious or moral convictions. 

That's under a new bill proposed in the state legislature.

Private agencies can already use faith-based principles when it comes to adoption, like not placing kids with homosexual parents.

But this bill would make it illegal to deny agencies funding or licenses because of their convictions.

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Legislation would give private adoption agencies the legal right to turn down prospective parents for any moral or religious reason.  That’s what’s in a pair of bills being considered by lawmakers in Lansing.

The bills would guarantee private adoption agencies working on state contracts would be protected from rules that could compromise their religious or moral convictions.

Michigan’s Department of Human Services is being sued for failing to disclose to parents that their adoptive children had special needs and therefore qualified for federal aid.

David Kallman is an attorney representing 8 families in the case.  He says because they didn’t know their children had disabilities, so they missed a deadline to claim these benefits for their adopted children, and are now struggling with major medical bills.

He says the families love their kids and want to help them.   But the expenses are decimating them.

A spokesman for DHS says they can’t comment on the case, since the suit won’t be filed until tomorrow, but that they investigate all allegations into wrongdoing.

- Chris Edwards, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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One-woman jury looks into Bolger and Schmidt allegations

Judge Rosemary Aqualina will be the one-person grand jury to look into whether state House Speaker Jase Bolger and state Representative Roy Schmidt broke any laws when they plotted to rig an election. Schmidt and Bolger plotted the Grand Rapids lawmaker’s switch to the Republican Party, and recruited a fake Democrat to appear on the ballot so Schmidt would avoid a reelection fight. 

54.5 mpg by 2025

The federal government has finalized new rules to require cars and trucks get an average 54.5 miles per gallon by the year 2025. That's almost double what the fuel efficiency standards are today. However, the target is higher than the real-world average in 2025.  The average new car will get 45 miles per gallon, and the average truck will get 32 mpg.

Ban on adoption by unmarried couples challenge

The state of Michigan is asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit that challenges a ban on adoption by unmarried couples. The lawsuit is led by two Detroit-area lesbians who are raising three children. State law says that April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse can't adopt them as a couple, an option available only to heterosexual married couples. DeBoer and Rowse say their civil rights are being violated. Detroit federal Judge Bernard Friedman will hear arguments Wednesday.


A lesbian couple from metro Detroit is suing to overturn a state law that prevents same-sex couples from jointly adopting children.

"We're doing anything any parent would do," said April DeBoer, who has adopted a daughter, 2. Her partner Jayne Rowse has adopted two sons, ages 3 and 2. But they are prevented by state law from adopting the children jointly.

"I am not recognized [by the state]," DeBoer said. "I'm a legal stranger to my sons."

The couples' attorneys say the law’s effects on DeBoer's and Rowse's three children are “devastating.”

A bill pending in the state legislature could speed up adoptions in Michigan. 

State law requires all adoptions be approved by only one person – the superintendent of the Michigan Children’s Institute.

That leads to delays of up to two months in getting an adoption finalized.

Maura Corrigan is Director of the Michigan Department of Human Services.

She says the superintendent should be able to choose people to act in his stead.

"We’ll be able to have the adoptions approved locally by one of his designees, instead of every local case going to Lansing and be looked at there," says Corrigan.

There are more than 4,000 children eligible for adoption in Michigan.

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Democrats at the state Capitol are calling for a law that would allow unmarried couples to adopt children. Right now only married couples or individuals can adopt children. 

State Representative Jeff Irwin says it makes sense to allow couples who want to adopt but can’t get married to share the rights and responsibilities of raising children.

Wayan Vota / Flickr

Democrats at the state Capitol are calling for a law that would allow unmarried couples to adopt children. Right now only married couples or individuals can adopt children. 

State Representative Jeff Irwin says it makes sense to allow couples who want to adopt but can’t get married to share the rights and responsibilities of raising children.

"It’s a pro-family bill. It would assure that in a situation where you’ve  got two loving parents who want to take on the obligations of parenthood that both of those individuals are afforded the opportunity to help a young person in this state by being a parent.”

"Kids thrive in situations where they have two parents, and they struggle in situations where they have one, and so the state should be taking every possible opportunity to allow people to adopt kids in such a way as to ensure as many kids as possible have two parents.”

Irwin says joint adoptions would also make it easier to settle visitation and child support issues when a couple breaks up.

It’s not clear how Michigan’s ban on gay marriage or treating same-sex couples as if they are married would affect the effort to allow joint adoptions.

The state Supreme Court could also weigh in on the issue. A lower court recently denied a woman joint custody of the children she was raising with her same-sex partner before they separated. That woman has appealed the decision.

Irwin says no Republicans have signed up to support the legislation. Both the House and the Senate have G-O-P majorities.