Woman claims State of Michigan is stopping her from adopting her own granddaughter because agency worker is adopting her

Author Ed Anderson

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The state of Michigan is blocking Ruth Mihailoff from adopting her own granddaughterPhoto by Ron Lach from Pexels

Ruth Mihailoff says that the State of Michigan won't let her adopt her grandchild, according to WXYZ. In 2018, the child, who, for confidentiality reasons, will remain nameless, was placed in her grandmother's care after her birth mother lost custody due to a drug addiction.

When the child was with Ruth, she was cared for and surrounded by family. Her aunt and cousins helped take care of the little one.

Under Michigan state law, birth families have the first right to adopt a child awarded to the state, as was the case with baby Mihailoff.

Using that law, Ruth began the process of legally adopting her grandchild. She went through the rigorous background checks and home visits that are required. Everything seemed to be going well until the agency in charge told her that there was an issue.

13 years ago, Ruth's ex-husband was accused of crimes against a minor. Mihailoff was intertwined with those charges and placed on the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Central Registry for child abuse and neglect. This made her ineligible to adopt her granddaughter.

After talking with her family, Ruth says that a decision was made for her daughter, Tayler, to adopt the child. She went through the adoption process, and things seemed to be back on track to keep the child with the family.

However, things went downhill fast.

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The state of Michigan has denied the Mihailoff family from the child for more than 2 yearsAlexrk2 via Wikimedia

Forever Controversy

Tayler was informed that the agency rejected her application. Her lawyer says that there were inaccurate claims in her file, including one that says that her son had special needs. They also claimed that she does not have a car; she says that is not true.

Forever Families, the agency in charge of the Mihailoff case, refutes the claims of inaccuracies. They also point to an argument between Ruth and Taylor as another reason the child was better off away from the family.

According to Tayler, she wasn't given much time to get everything together. She says that she had two months to do what was asked of her by the agency, on top of being a mom and working full time.

She also claims they are weaponizing the argument she had with Ruth in June 2019. It centered around Ruth's divorce. At some point, Tayler sent threatening messages to her mother. Forever Families cited this incident as another reason why the home was unsuitable for the child.

Macie Tuiasosopo Gaines, Tayler's lawyer, says the texts should be part of the background check. She claims that there is no foul since it wasn't in front of the child and contained to text messages.

The Mihailoffs have appealed the case to the courts. In doing so, they found out that there was someone else wanting to adopt the child. Someone who works for one of the agencies has started the process of taking custody.

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Adoption agency says the case has been transferredForever Families Facebook page

Fight For The Child

Gaines says she uncovered the fact that one of Forever Families' employees was trying to adopt the child through emails that are being used in the case. She said that there is a definite conflict of interest and should never have been allowed to happen.

The employee in question was in charge of Ruth and Tayler's cases. She went to their homes and made recommendations.

They also uncovered the fact that Forever Families was working behind the scenes to discredit the Mihailoff family to the Michigan Children's Institute (MCI) Superintendent. It needs to be noted that Forever Families is contracted by MCI and MDHHS, connecting them all.

The MCI has the final say over custody of children in the foster care program.

Critics of the setup argue that one agency has too much power. It also makes it hard for families like the Mihailoffs to fight against the MCI recommendation.

According to Gaines, they took the case to the Foster Care Review Board. The board recommended that the child stay with her family. As did the Guardian ad litem, the lawyer for the child.

However, MCI told Forever Families to remove the child from Tayler's care just before Thanksgiving 2019.

Ruth and Tayler are continuing to fight for the child two years later. They also criticized the agencies and the state for the way things have been handled, particularly the fact that it is an employee of Forever Families that has custody of the child at this time.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is fighting back against the claims. She argued in court documents that Tayler was not ready to care for the child and was "overwhelmed."

The Mihailoffs vowed to keep fighting for the child. They say it's not right that an employee has custody at this stage.

Forever Families' only comment on this story was that the case has been transferred to another agency citing a "conflict of interest."

Nessel's office did not comment at press time.

November is National adoption month.

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Ed Anderson is a true crime and gossip writer from Detroit, Michigan. Ed is the author of several true crime books, most recently Cold Cases From Around The World.

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