The Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) is law that governs the movement of children between states for the purposes of adoption.  It is normally applied whenever someone travels with a child to another state for the purposes of adoption except under limited circumstances like certain relative adoptions. The most common scenario is when an adoptive parent lives in one state and wants to adopt a child who is due to be born in or lives in another state. The state is which the child lives is the child’s home state (sometimes called the sending state) and the state where the adoptive parents live and where the child will be moving is called the receiving state. In order for the adoptive parent to travel back to the state where she lives with the child before the adoption is granted, she must get permission from the ICPC offices of both states.

ICPC is also involved if a family moves out of state, prior to the adoption being finalized. If you are considering adoption in North Carolina and are also looking at a possible move outside North Carolina (for example for a new job), make sure to speak with the attorneys at NicholsonPham.

ICPC adoptions are more expensive than other adoptions because they usually involve two attorneys – one in each state – to navigate the ICPC requirements of each state. Although attorneys are not required, it is helpful to ensure that the process goes smoothly and quickly. Failure to procure the permission of the sending state or receiving state ICPC office could lead to a denial of your adoption petition.  

Call: (919) 883-4900

How long does it take to get ICPC approval from the sending and receiving state?

Many documents required in the ICPC packet cannot be signed until after a child’s birth and some states have various waiting periods before documents can be signed by the birth mother.  Many attorneys will not ask a birth parent to sign any consent or other document required until they are no longer on pain medication which could be 48 hours after birth. Once all documents are signed and ready to be delivered, they will go first to the sending state ICPC office. Once the sending state approves it will go to the receiving state. Each state can take between 48 hours to a week to process. We’ve seen the ICPC process take as little as three days and as long as three weeks. The ICPC process can be extended if a birth parent revokes his/her consent, the paperwork is incorrectly filled out or the ICPC offices are closed for holidays,

Do NicholsonPham attorneys handle ICPC adoptions?

The attorneys at NicholsonPham are familiar and work closely with North Carolina’s ICPC office to fulfill all the NC requirements. When we work with another state, we prefer to deal directly with an attorney, or a knowledgeable adoption agency, that can help navigate the other state’s ICPC rules. As part of our representation we work with the attorney from the other state to determine which state would be best to finalize an adoption. Many factors influence this decision including how long a parent has to revoke his or her consent and the procedures for dealing with an absent birth father.

What is “choice of law?”

In any ICPC adoption, the biological parents or legal custodians must choose the state law that will control the adoption – either North Carolina or the other state. The choice can have a major impact on where the adoption is finalized, how soon the birth parent can sign a consent and when s/he can revoke, and the other requirements.  The attorneys at NicholsonPham work with our adoption colleagues nationwide regarding which state’s law will be better for our particular clients.

Is it important to have an attorney who is certified by AAAA (the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys)?

We think so. Sharon Thompson and Meredith Nicholson have been certified by the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys and have earned the respect and recognition for their vast experience with hundreds of successful adoptions. Being part of the Academy also gives our attorneys the collective experience of national colleagues who have concentrated in adoption and assisted reproduction technology law.