What Is ICPC?

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ICPC is often the most dreaded part of the adoption journey for adoptive parents who adopt outside of their home state. ICPC stands for Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children. Essentially, ICPC allows for the legal transport of a child from one state to another in a foster or adoption placement. Once a child is available for adoption, whether through birth or through placement of an older child, adoptive parents will typically travel to the home state of the child to accept placement of the child. It is in that state that they wait with the child until paperwork is complete and accepted by both the child’s home state and the adoptive parents’ home state.

The completion time of ICPC can range anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. In some cases, ICPC can take over a month, though those cases often involve extenuating circumstances such as holiday delays or a need for additional paperwork. Unless they need to be present in court for a proceeding, adoptive parents will typically spend ICPC waiting for a phone call or email telling them they can go home. When we were experiencing the week-long ICPC stay with my son, I described it as being held prisoner on a vacation you never wanted to be on. This was because my son was born early and my husband and I simply weren’t prepared. You can read more of our story here.

ICPC will be much more tolerable if the adoptive parents focus on their new child and come as prepared as possible. This will be one of the only times they have so much bonding time with their child. While it is easy to fret over getting the phone call that allows them to go home, it is a great time to grow and bond as a new family and to get into the new rhythm of a new addition. For more in-depth info the ICPC stay, check out this informational page from Adoption.com. 


Lita Jordan is a master of all things “home.” A work-from-home, stay-at-home, homeschooling mother of five. She has a BA in Youth Ministry from Spring Arbor University. She is married to the “other Michael Jordan” and lives on coffee and its unrealistic promises of productivity. Lita enjoys playing guitar and long trips to Target. Follow her on <a href=”https://www.facebook.com/halfemptymom/”>Facebook.</a>

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