As you’ve been researching adoption for your family, you may have read about something called ICPC, or the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children. With many adoptive families and prospective birth mothers completing interstate adoptions, this legal process is common today. If you end up working with a prospective birth mother who lives outside of Texas, you’ll become familiar with this process and all of the regulations and requirements associated with it.
As experienced adoption attorneys, we can answer any questions you might have about the ICPC process in Texas and other states. Because it’s solely a legal process, it’s necessary that you work closely with your adoption attorney to ensure your adoption is completed legally and safely — and that you can bring your adopted baby home as quickly as possible.
Prospective adoptive families like you often have some common questions about adopting out of state and the ICPC requirements, so we’ve answered some of them below.
1. What is the meaning of ICPC?
ICPC is short for “Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.” It’s an agreement between all 50 statesthat sets certain standards for adoptions, making sure that every adoption completed across state lines is conducted with the safety of the child in mind. This is one of the few federal laws enacted that regulates U.S. domestic adoption.
2. How does the ICPC process work?
The ICPC process involves communication between the birth mother’s state of residence and an adoptive family’s state of residence. It’s primarily conducted between lawyers and ICPC offices; adoptive parents are not actively involved in the process. Before a baby can leave his or her birth state, the ICPC paperwork must be cleared by both states.
After your baby is discharged from the hospital in their birth state, this means you cannot leave that state until you get ICPC clearance. How does this happen? Your attorney or adoption agency will collect the required ICPC paperwork and send it to the ICPC office in the birth mother’s state. Once the office approves the ICPC paperwork there, it will be forwarded to the Texas ICPC office, which will then approve the paperwork or request additional documentation. After the state of Texas approves the ICPC paperwork, your attorney or agency will be notified and you’ll be free to bring your baby back home to Texas.
3. How long does the ICPC process take?
The ICPC process can be one of the most frustrating parts of the adoption process for adoptive families, as there is little to nothing they can do to influence the time they have to wait. Each ICPC process will take a different amount of time to complete based on several factors:
- How long a birth mother takes to sign her adoption consent (waiting periods vary based on state laws)
- How long it takes your attorney to gather the proper documentation
- The hours of each ICPC office
- Governmental offices’ processing time
To be safe, it’s best that a prospective adoptive family plans on staying in their child’s birth state for 2–3 weeks. While it can cause anxiety to wait around for approval, it is also a great chance for adoptive parents to bond with their new baby and explore the city where their child’s birth mother is from.
4. How can we speed up the ICPC process?
The interstate adoption process can seem long and frustrating at times, but there are some key things to keep in mind to make sure your interstate adoption proceeds as smoothly as possible:
- Keep your home study current to prevent any delays in the ICPC process. This is often the first piece of documentation needed to start the legal back-and-forth.
- Don’t contact your ICPC Most offices prohibit adoptive parents from contacting them directly, so just stay in touch with your adoption attorney — they’ll provide you current information as soon as they receive it.
- Plan ahead — make arrangements for work, childcare and pet-care (if necessary), and think about what you’ll do if the ICPC process takes longer than anticipated. Having a plan in place will help make your waiting period less stressful.
- Focus on bonding with your new baby and creating your new family while you’re waiting for ICPC While the process can be taxing at times, remember that what really matters is the little bundle of joy that you have now.
While ICPC can be a long process, when you work with the law offices of Brown Pruitt, we’ll make sure you receive all the education and assistance you need to feel prepared for an out-of-state adoption in Texas. Our experienced lawyers will also work tirelessly to ensure your ICPC process is completed legally, smoothly and as quickly as possible.
To learn more about how we can help with your interstate adoption, please contact us today.