How ICPC Will Play a Role in Your Interstate Adoption
If you are matched with an adoption opportunity outside of Iowa, or if you are an out-of-state family adopting a child from Iowa, you will complete an interstate adoption. While most of an interstate adoption process is the same as an intrastate adoption process, there are some important legal requirements that must be met before your adoption will be finalized.
All those adopting out of state will need to work with an experienced adoption attorney like Ken Nelson to complete their interstate adoption. Strict regulations must be followed through every step of the process; otherwise, your adoption cannot be completed.
If you are considering or in the middle of an out-of-state adoption, please contact the Nelson Law Firm for legal guidance during this process. Ken will protect your adoptive parent rights and make sure all legal steps are followed to ensure a successful adoption finalization.
About the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC)
When adopting a child from another state, all prospective adoptive families must meet the legal requirements of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, otherwise known as ICPC. While there are few federal regulations regarding adoption, the ICPC process applies throughout the U.S. to every adoption across state lines.
The ICPC process has existed since the 1960s to protect all members of the adoption triad, especially adopted children. Because adoption laws vary by state, this nationwide legal agreement ensures all applicable state laws are followed and the rights of those participating in the adoption are protected.
It is very important that the ICPC regulations are followed from the beginning of the adoption process. A failure to follow ICPC law can delay adoptive parents’ return to their home state with their new baby. If a family returns home without ICPC approval, their adoption is in jeopardy of not being finalized. This is why it’s crucial for all adoptive families adopting out of state to work closely with their adoption agency (if applicable) and their adoption attorney to follow the correct legal steps through this process.
What Does the ICPC Process Entail?
The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children requires that both the sending state (the birth mother’s state) and the receiving state (the adoptive parents’ state) review all of the relevant adoption paperwork to ensure all proper adoption laws were followed. Before a child can be taken back to the adoptive parents’ home, both states must approve this adoption paperwork.
The approval process may look slightly different for each adoption. It is also difficult to assess exactly how long your personal ICPC process will take, but attorney Ken Nelson will do all he can to move the process along smoothly and efficiently.
Here’s what an ICPC adoption usually involves:
- After you have traveled to the state where your child is born, you will take custody of them after their birth mother gives her consent to the adoption.
- Your adoption professional in the birth mother’s state will gather all of the necessary ICPC paperwork to send to the ICPC office in that state. This could include your home study investigation, medical records of your child, proof of the birth parents’ consent and more.
- The birth mother’s state ICPC office will receive this information and approve it or, if needed, request more information.
- Once approved, the information is forwarded to the ICPC office in your home state. Once there, ICPC officials will either approve it or request additional information.
- Your home state will send the notice back to your adoption professional that submitted the paperwork in the birth mother’s state.
- Your adoption professional will inform you that your ICPC paperwork has been approved, after which you will be free to return home.
Every step of this ICPC process must be completed by your adoption attorney. You likely will not be involved, and any attempts you make to contact local ICPC offices can actually slow down the approval process. While this waiting period of an interstate adoption is often one of the most difficult parts, parents completing an out-of-state adoption should try to be patient and leave this ICPC process up to their adoption attorney.
Tips for an Interstate Adoption in Iowa
Adopting out of state is a common way to add a child to your family today. Many hopeful parents who want to quickly add a child to their family work with national, interstate adoption agencies that have more advertising outreach for prospective birth mothers, and these adoption professionals have a great deal of experience in completing the interstate adoption process.
One of the biggest concerns adoptive parents have about interstate adoption is how long the ICPC process takes. Unfortunately, there is no single answer to that; it varies based on individual adoption circumstances. In general, prospective adoptive parents should plan on staying a few weeks in their baby’s birth state before receiving ICPC approval.
While your adoption professional will manage the ICPC legal process, there are a few things you can do to better prepare for the wait time:
- Keep your home study up-to-date. The expiration period for home studies will vary based on state laws, so it’s recommended that adoptive parents renew their home study every 12 months, just in case.
- Plan ahead for your stay in the birth mother’s state. Because adoption professionals cannot provide a time estimate for your stay in the baby’s state, it is important to remain flexible. Make arrangements for house- and pet-sitting in advance of your baby’s birth, and make sure your employer understands that you may need to take weeks off work with little warning.
- Stay in touch with your adoption professional. As mentioned, adoptive parents should not contact local ICPC adoption offices themselves. Instead, you should keep in close contact with your adoption professional so you are aware of any additional information you may have to send over — and so you can receive your approval notice as soon as possible. Your adoption professional will do all they can to help your ICPC process move along smoothly.
If you want to learn more about the interstate adoption process in Iowa, please contact the Nelson Law Firm today. Attorney Ken Nelson can always discuss your individual adoption situation with you and explain exactly what you can expect from your adoption and ICPC journey.
When you are ready to begin, he can represent you and protect all of your legal rights during this process. Ken can also provide any referrals you need to interstate adoption agencies or out-of-state adoption lawyers. Contact him today for more information.