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Limited financial resources and health issues cited in denial of adoption petition

The trial court did not err by ruling that the petitioner failed to present clear and convincing evidence that the MCI superintendent's denial of consent to adopt her three foster children was "arbitrary and capricious." After the superintendent denied the petitions to adopt, the trial court conducted a § 45 hearing (MCL 710.45), where it upheld the superintendent's denial. The petitioner argued that "the superintendent's decision was arbitrary and capricious because it failed to consider the children's individual circumstances and ignored relevant factors that warranted consent to adopt." The court disagreed, finding that, "[c]ontrary to petitioner's assertion, the superintendent testified that he only delineated certain factors in his decision, which was not required to be exhaustive, and considered the long-term best interests of the children." The trial court's review of the superintendent's decision was "limited to whether the petitioner presented clear and convincing evidence that the superintendent's decision was arbitrary and capricious." The superintendent's "denial cited petitioner's limited financial resources from disability benefits, petitioner's health issues, and the impact of these issues on the ability to raise the children long-term. Additionally, during the course of his investigation, one of the children indicated his preference to be adopted by the family with which he visited. Although petitioner questioned the investigation and the accuracy of the information in the adoption agency's addendum, the superintendent testified that his own investigation and observations were consistent with the information contained in the addendum." He "acknowledged at the hearing that petitioner's income was currently 'adequate. However, he needed to consider the children's long-term interests and needs that would increase over time. Additionally, the superintendent noted that petitioner's weight limited her interaction with the children." The court concluded that the trial court "did not commit clear legal error in ruling that petitioner failed to present clear and convincing evidence that the superintendent's denial of consent to adopt was arbitrary and capricious." Affirmed.


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