The Internet has made it easier than ever for biological parents and adoptive parents to connect. Today, interstate adoption is more common than ever before. When biological and adoptive parents from different states connect for the adoption of a child, they might wonder about the requirements to complete an adoption that involves another state. Whether you’re in North Carolina or you’re looking to adopt a child from North Carolina, there are some special requirements that go along with an adoption that involves more than one state. Here’s what you need to know about interstate adoptions…
What is an interstate adoption?
When a prospective adoptive child is in a different state than the prospective adoptive parents, it’s an interstate adoption. There are also adoptions where the child is in a different country, but there are different rules that may apply to international adoptions. An interstate adoption occurs where an adoptive family adopts a child who is born in or who lives in another state within the United States.
Why are interstate adoptions unique and significant?
Adoption laws are state laws. Each state creates their own rules for adoptions. With 50 states each having their own set of rules, there’s significant variation in adoption laws between states.
Parents need to comply with the rules of both states in order to finalize their adoption and prevent future challenges. Parents need to be aware of the extra requirements. They need to understand that there are different laws in different states. Knowing that there are unique requirements in an interstate adoption is the first step to taking the right steps to finalize an interstate adoption.
The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children
Even though each state has its own adoption laws, the states have come together to create some uniform rules that apply in all states. The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) developed in the 1960s. All 50 states and Washington DC are parties to the ICPC.
The ICPC creates a uniform set of rules for moving a child from one state to another state within the United States. The adoptive parents must comply with the ICPC rules in order to lawfully move a child to their state. Until the ICPC process is complete, the child must remain in their home state. The ICPC allows the child’s home state to have continuing jurisdiction over the case until the adoption is complete.
Complying with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children
Each state appoints an administrator who is responsible for implementing and enforcing the ICPC. The state’s appointed administrator is the clearing house for the state in order to approve interstate placement of the child. The ICPC administrator doesn’t approve the adoption itself. Instead, they approve the placement of the child in the new state. The appropriate state court must still approve the adoption.
Compliance with the ICPC involves gathering the required paperwork and submitting it to the home state’s ICPC compliance office. If the home state approves the paperwork, they forward it to the ICPC office in the state of the adoptive parents. Once both states approve the paperwork, the adoptive parents may transport the child to their state. Transporting the child doesn’t finalize or complete the adoption. The parents must still complete the entire adoption process by filing a petition for adoption in the appropriate court.
The paperwork includes form ICPC-100A. The form is the same in all states, and it states the intent of the parties to pursue an interstate adoption. Parents must also include information about the child’s social, medical, emotional and psychological history. The biological parents must consent to placement of the child with the prospective adoptive parents. The information that parents provide to the ICPC is meant to give both state ICPC offices the information they need to determine the appropriateness of the interstate placement.
How long does the ICPC process take?
The ICPC process can take anywhere from one week to a couple of months. If either ICPC office has questions, there can be a delay while they ask for more information. Obtaining the appropriate parental consents is another common reason for delay. Adoptive parents who want to take custody of their child as soon as possible need to remain with the child in the child’s home state until the ICPC process is complete. Adoptive parents must have the flexibility to remain in the child’s state while they wait for ICPC paperwork. An experienced adoption attorney can help you complete the ICPC paperwork as quickly as possible.
Does the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children apply?
The ICPC doesn’t apply in all cases. If you’re a close relative of the child, you may not need to comply with the ICPC. In addition, placements in a medical facility for specialized care may not require ICPC compliance. Our attorneys for adoptions between states can help you determine if you need to comply with the ICPC’s requirements.
Jurisdiction to file for adoption
One of the questions in an interstate adoption case is where the parents file for adoption. Some states allow prospective parents to file an adoption petition in a different state than their state of residence. Other states allow only parents living in the state to ask the court to approve an adoption. Whether you adopt a child in North Carolina or you bring a child into North Carolina for adoption, it’s important to determine where you can file your petition and where it’s best to file. Bobby Mills can help you understand the laws that apply and determine the best course of action.
Getting the right consents from parents in an interstate adoption case
Another thing to be aware of in interstate adoption cases is ensuring that you get the right parental consents. Consent from the biological parents is critical to finalizing any adoption. In interstate adoptions, the issue of parental consent can be a bit complicated because different states may have different requirements. In interstate adoptions, it’s best to ensure that parental consents comply with the requirements of both the child’s home state and the state of the adoptive parents.
Pursuing an interstate adoption
Some of the requirements for an interstate adoption are the same as they are in all adoptions. Parents must be physically, mentally and emotionally fit to care for the child. The parents must file a petition for adoption. There are additional requirements in interstate cases including compliance with the ICPA that you must complete before you transport the child to a new state.
Although the process may seem simple, adoptions and any issues that may come up during the course of the adoption process can be complex and difficult to get right without the help of an experienced interstate adoption attorney. Bobby Mills’ experience can help you with your specific case – to get started, call us today or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation.