Interstate Adoption

Interstate Adoption & ICPC

When you adopt a child from another state, it is an interstate adoption. There are special requirements for interstate adoptions. Adoptive parents must obtain permission from the sending state where the child lives before they leave with the child. They must also obtain permission from the receiving state where the adoptive parents live before they return home with the child. Once both states give approval, then the child can leave and go home with the adoptive parents.

Interstate adoptions must follow the rules in the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC). The purpose is to ensure that children will receive appropriate care and supervision.

Before the ICPC, when a child moved out of state for adoption, the sending state lost authority over the child right away. If there were problems with the child’s placement after the child moved, the sending state could not help. The ICPC ensures that the move is in the child’s best interests before the child even moves. Once the child moves, the ICPC ensures that the sending state can intervene until the finalization of the adoption.

What is the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC)?

The ICPC or Compact is a contract between the states. The Compact is also a law that has been enacted by all the fifty states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It applies to the movement of children across state lines for purposes of adoption.

How does the ICPC work?

Each state has their own ICPC office. It is a government office. To comply with the ICPC, you must send the required information to the ICPC office in your child’s home state. You must include a summary of the plan for the child’s care, a copy of your home study, financial information, and medical information for the child.

Each state reviews the information to determine if they think that the move is in the child’s best interests. Either office can ask for more information.

How long will I spend in my child’s home state waiting for ICPC paperwork?

ICPC paperwork can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to complete. If there are extenuating circumstances that require additional review, the delay may be longer. During that time, you must wait in the child’s home state. Parents typically spend this time bonding as a new family.

What can I do to prepare myself for the ICPC requirements?

It is important to prepare the ICPC paperwork before you travel to take custody of your child. Children do not always arrive on schedule, or you may have a last-minute match. It is important to prepare in advance so that there is less to do while you are away from home.

As you think about the time that you are going to be away, remember that you might be in your child’s home state for several weeks. You may need to arrange with your employer to work remotely or take adoption leave. The time away from home can be hard on families, but you can do what you can to ease the burden by preparing ahead of time.

What happens if I do not comply with the ICPC?

If the ICPC applies to your case, you must follow it. A judge can rescind approvals or otherwise unravel your adoption if you fail to comply with the ICPC.

Experience On Your Side.

Bobby Mills has over 30 years’ experience helping build families through adoption. He can help you with your interstate adoption. We can also connect you with an out-of-state attorney for your ICPC process. Call us today 919-533-4025 to schedule a consultation.

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Why Should You Choose An Adoption Attorney?

Adoption is a wonderful option for expanding your family, but the laws governing the process are quite complex. Working with an attorney with significant experience in adoption law will help ensure that the adoption process goes smoothly.

An adoption attorney will:


We will provide an unbiased explanation of adoption procedures and develop a legally secure plan tailored to your needs.


We will assess the risks involved, including determining what payments are permissible and ensuring that birth parents are treated fairly and their rights are legally terminated before placement is finalized.


We will clarify your options, if any, for post-placement arrangements with birth parents, making sure your interests and those of the child are served.


We will explain your rights and adoption laws in your state or refer you to attorneys who practice in other states or internationally.


We will review and negotiate the adoption agency contract to protect your interests.

You Should...


You should contact an attorney as early as possible in the decision-making process.


Learn about the specific types of adoption services the attorney provides. Ask what percentage of the practice is dedicated to adoption and how many adoption proceedings the attorney has handled.


Choose an attorney who is experienced in the type of adoption you are considering.


Know what the attorney charges, how fees are structured and that you can afford the services.


Ask questions, request references, share your concerns and provide the attorney with all relevant documents. Ask for a written retainer agreement that outlines what the attorney charges, how fees are structured and other details regarding fees and fee payment.

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