Hope your bags are packed! It’s time to hit the road! Why? Your new baby is about to be born. You’ve received the call and the green light to take the road trip that will change the rest of your life. In just a matter of hours or days, you’ll get to meet your new son or daughter.
Arguably, this is one of the most exciting moments in the entire adoption process.
But wait. Your soon-to-be child is across state lines, which means before he or she can join the family, the adoption needs to be compliant with the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC). This term may sound pretty daunting, but not to worry. Adoption Choices of Nevada is here to break down the process, and explain its affect on adoption.
Definition of Terms
Before delving into how the ICPC works, it’s important to define what the term itself means. Put simply, The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) protects adopted children like no other law does. Because adoption laws may vary from state to state, there needed to be some sort of agreement established to solve this issue. Thus, the ICPC came about. It provides an established and transparent workflow for each state involved to follow, and monitors both the sending and receiving of the adopted child.
If an adoption does not comply with the ICPC, the adopted child may not leave his or her state of birth to go to their new home. Everything must be in alignment. This means that prospective adoptive parents may be required to remain in their child’s birth state for several days or weeks, depending on how long it takes for clearance to be granted.
This is all in the best interest of the child being adopted into their new family.
Understanding Interstate Adoption
Before the ICPC was birthed, there was more risk involved with adoptions. For instance, if a baby was born in California and the adoptive family lived in Nevada, the state of Nevada could impose their own adoption laws. But if something went wrong with the adoption process, Nevada wouldn’t be able to do anything about it.
Thankfully, in the 1960s several states decided to develop what is now known as The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC). Over time, other states joined in. To date, every state in the continental US, the District of Columbia, and the US Virgin Islands are part of the ICPC agreement. The state of Nevada adopted the ICPC in 1985.
The whole purpose of the ICPC is to enhance cooperation and communication between states, and to make sure that the adopted child is placed in not only a safe environment, but a suitable home as well. To make sure that everything goes smoothly and successfully, all states have expanded their jurisdictional powers and granted themselves authority to require clearance and advanced approval before a prospective adoptee enters or leave the state.
Interstate Adoptions in Nevada
If a Nevada family wishes to adopt a child from another state, they must comply with several requirements. First, the state/county or adoption agency they are working with must receive written notice from the birth parents, stating their intent and agreement to place their child with the Nevada family. Second, the adoption agency will conduct the necessary application and home study process. The state allows only sixty days for the home study to be completed, so getting the official information regarding the baby’s date of birth and day of arrival with as much notice as possible is crucial.
After the birth mother — and hopefully the birth father as well — signs the “Consent to Adopt” form, the ICPC initiates the agreement process across state lines. Neither the adoptive parents nor the baby can travel to the new home state until both states have approved the adoption. Even then, a home study adoption agency or social worker will supervise the family post placement.
When a baby is born in Nevada and adopted into another state, the process is similar. Birth parents are required to contact their state/county or adoption agency and let them know about the impending adoption plans. From there, their assigned caseworker will assist with the out of state paperwork and ICPC placement information, which will include gathering the appropriate social and medical history for the prospective adoptive parents. Adoption counseling services will be provided to the birth parents by their agency caseworker, as this is a Nevada state requirement.
As always, be sure to check with your adoption agency or lawyer to learn all the ins and outs of interstate adoption, and to double check that you meet all the qualifications and requirements.
Important Tips to Remember
In short, the ICPC protects the placement of children and makes sure that all states remain in agreement throughout the process. Not only does it take into account the safety and environment that the child will be placed into, but it also considers the qualifications of the prospective adoptive parents. It may seem like a long and tedious process. However, when it comes to the best interest of the child being adopted, it’s all worth it.
Remember — when all is said and done, you get to bring your child home. What could be more awesome than that?
Adoption Choices of Nevada
In adoption, there are a lot of big terms. Many different aspects and facets in the process. It’s part of what makes it confusing. However, with the help of agencies like Adoption Choices, it doesn’t have to be. We are here to help you answer your questions and address your concerns.
If you are currently in the process of adopting a baby and have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact, Adoption Choices of Nevada. You may visit the website here or contact us by 775-825-4673 (Reno Office) or 702-474-4673 (Las Vegas Office). Our hours are Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm PST.
Support Adoption Choices
Adoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowd Rise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more. But, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.
About the Author
Rachel Robertson is a published journalist, book editor, certified Publishing Specialist, and aspiring novelist. She graduated from Central Washington University (CWU) in March 2011, having found her writing voice within the Creative Nonfiction genre and grew to work as a freelance book editor for small presses all across the United States.
In June 2018, she embarked on an internship with Virginia Frank and came on board with Adoption Choices Inc., Not for Profit 501(c)(3), in December 2018. Between her mutual passion with adoption and surrogacy, and her own personal history with adoption, Rachel is excited to research and share topics each week that will spread awareness and better serve the faithful patrons of Adoption Choices Inc.
When Rachel isn’t haunting her local Starbucks or Barnes and Noble, she’s avidly pouring over her Writer’s Digest subscription or cozying up with a cup of tea and book. She currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her beloved wife and Border Collie.
“Considering Adoption.” The Best Source for Adoption Information, consideringadoption.com/adopting/legal-process-of-adoption/what-is-icpc-and-does-it-apply-to-your-adoption.
“ICPC & Domestic Adoption – What You Need to Know.” Adoptive Families, 24 Oct. 2016, www.adoptivefamilies.com/adoption-process/icpc-and-domestic-adoption/.
“Interstate Compact on Placement of Children (ICPC).” Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorneys, adoptionart.org/adoption/adoptive-parents/interstate-compact-on-placement-of-children-icpc/.
“When Children’s Placement Resources Are Located in Another State.” SUMMIT VIEW YOUTH CENTER, Nevada Department of Health & Human Services, 2019, dcfs.nv.gov/Programs/CWS/ICPC/.