Colorado Interstate Adoptions: Process and Wait Times

By Patience Bramlett

The moment you’ve been waiting for is finally here! Your Colorado interstate adoption is finalized. You’ve received the call that gives you the go-ahead to drive across state lines and pick up your newly-born son or daughter.

You’ve weathered through the adoption process, and you’re ready to head home with your child in tow. You’re eager to show your child what life with you is like: full of love. The last thing on your mind is complying with the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC).

Don’t stress! Adoption Choices of Colorado knows you’re eager to start your family, but the ICPC shouldn’t be viewed as an unnecessary hurdle. This law ensures protection and services for your child and is legally mandatory in every interstate adoption. Knowing this process will make you more informed about the Colorado interstate adoption process. Let us ease your worries by breaking down the ICPC process and explaining Colorado-specific regulations.


All fifty states, Washington D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands are members of the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children. For the purposes of an adoption, it is illegal to move a child across state lines without meeting the requirements of the ICPC and receiving approval from both states.

ICPC Process Steps

  1. The child’s agency initiates a placement request process by requesting a home study and creating a packet that contains form ICPC 100-A. This form includes medical, social, and educational background on the child.
  2. The packet is then sent to the central ICPC office in the sending state.
  3. It’s reviewed and forwarded to the receiving state’s central ICPC office.
  4. The receiving state’s compact administrator reviews the information and forwards the packet to the prospective adoptive parents’ adoption agency.
  5. The family’s agency then conducts a home study to determine whether or not this placement is proper and appropriate. Based on the study’s outcome, the agency will either approve or deny the placement.
  6. The completed home study is then sent to the receiving state’s central ICPC office to be formally and legally approved or denied, based on the agency’s approval or denial.
  7. The sending state’s local agency receives a copy of the completed home study and official word of the receiving state’s decision to approve or deny the placement request. If the placement request has been approved by the receiving state, the child can move into his or her new home.

If the child is placed, the role of supervising the child’s placement and ensuring that their needs are met and services are received transfers to the family’s agency. They provide periodic reports to the child’s agency through the compact administrators. The sending state retains legal and financial responsibility for the child until they are legally adopted.


While several factors determine how long the ICPC process will take, it’s generally completed within 7 to 14 business days. Federal law requires states to complete a home study and provide a written report to the sending state within 60 days of receiving a placement request. This law does not require that a placement decision, approval or denial, be given within those 60 days.

While waiting two weeks to take your child home seems unbearable, you should be thankful it doesn’t take longer. When the ICPC was first initiated in the 1960s, information and documents were transmitted by U.S. Mail. The introduction of the National Electronic Interstate Compact Enterprise (NEICE) in 2013 is a recent improvement of the ICPC, for it significantly shortens the ICPC approval time, as well as reduces costs for states. This cloud-based system permits ICPC offices to exchange information and documents via the Internet. The NEICE was launched with pilot funding from the Office of Management and Budget and is expanding nationwide, with the goal of serving all states.


Each U.S. state handles adoption differently. When leaving a state, its adoption laws are left behind as well. In order to avoid slowing down the ICPC process, Adoption Choices of Colorado has a list of documentation requirements for Colorado as a receiving state:

  1. Cover letter listing enclosed documents and outlined plan for relinquishment/termination of parental rights.
  2. ICPC Form 100A (Interstate Compact Placement Requests) completed and signed by the sending agency and by the Interstate Compact Administrator in the sending State.
  3. Relinquishment Counseling Report if birth parent counseling is required by the sending state.
  4. A Final Orders of Relinquishment or Termination of Parental Rights from a court in the Sending State, or a valid Voluntary Consent or Surrender according to the laws of the sending state. There must be an order, consent or surrender for the birth mother and all possible birth fathers. If this is not possible, write a statement explaining the procedures that will be used to terminate all birth parents’ rights.
  5. If you do not have final, irrevocable orders, consents or surrenders for all possible birth parents, you will need a statement of Legal Risk signed by both adoptive parents. The statement should include at least the acknowledgement by the adoptive parents that the legal rights of one or both of the birth parents have not been irrevocably relinquished/terminated and should either or both birth parents decide to exercise their rights, the child may need to be returned to the sending agency.
  6. Copy of the document signed by the birth mother used by your agency to transfer physical custody of the child from the birth mother to an agency, attorney or to the adoptive family. This document should clearly convey the intent of the birth mother to release her child for the ultimate purpose of adoptive placement.
  7. Social/medical History form from both birth parents. If not available for a birth father, the reason should be documented. There must be documentation for any history of drug/alcohols usage of the birth mother.
  8. Evidence of compliance with Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), including a statement regarding the Native American heritage of both birth parents.
  9. Hospital medical record on the child. In most cases, a Newborn Birth Summary and newborn Discharge Summary from the hospital will be sufficient. If there are any medical problems with the child, or there is a risk of drug, alcohol or infectious disease exposure, the records should be more complete.
  10. Home assessment/study of the adoptive family. The Colorado agency will send this to you to be included in the ICPC referral.
  11. Itemized list of all monies paid to attorney’s agencies, birth parents. The Colorado agency will provide you with a statement of fees charged by the agency to be included in the ICPC referral.
  12. Names of all attorneys that were involved in the case — in Colorado and in your state. If an attorney has been retained in Colorado, the Colorado agency can send you his or her name and address to include in the ICPC referral.
  13. If the adoption is to be finalized in Colorado, please include a copy of your state’s status regulating relinquishment/termination of parental rights.
  14. Your state may have additional requirements. If you are not familiar with those requirements, please check with your state’s Interstate Compact administrator. If there are other documents which must be submitted by the Colorado agency to meet your state requirements, please send those forms to the Colorado agency for completion.
  15. There is a $250.00 processing fee for private interstate adoptions. Please check with the Colorado agency who is handling the case to arrange for payment of that fee.
  16. Please deliver or use an overnight service to mail the 100A and accompanying documents listed above to the ICPC office in your state. Include a prepaid overnight mailer addressed to Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains, 363 South Harlan Street, Suite 200, Denver, Colorado 80226.

As always, stay in communication with your adoption agency to make sure you meet all the qualifications and requirements for Colorado interstate adoption.


If you find yourself wishing the ICPC didn’t exist, remind yourself of its purpose. This law acts as a safeguard for your child. Yes, you’re impatiently sitting in a hotel room for two weeks, waiting to travel home with your child in the backseat, but don’t you want your child to be cared for properly? After all, isn’t that why you chose to adopt your child in the first place?

Adoption Choices of Colorado knows you want nothing more than to show your child that, while life can be cruel, he or she will never have to weather through challenges alone. Let us guide you through the ICPC process! We’ll make sure you qualify and meet every Colorado interstate adoption requirement, so you can achieve your end goal of taking your child home.

Adoption Choices of Colorado

For more information on adoption please contact Adoption Choices of Colorado. You can reach us via our website or phone 303-670-4401.



Halverson, Kathleen Kelly. “What Is the ICPC, And Why Do I Need to Know About It?” Adoption Travel Tips | International, Domestic, China, AdoptionTravel, 27 Jan. 2018,

“ICPC FAQ’s.” American Public Human Services Association, Strategic Industry Partners,

“Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.” Colorado Department of Human Services, 5 July 2018,

“National Electronic Interstate Compact Enterprise (NEICE) Expediting the Placement of Children in Safe, Permanent Families across State Lines and Reducing Administrative Paperwork and Costs.” American Public Human Services Association,

“Understanding Interstate Adoption.” AdoptUSKids, Adoption Exchange Association,

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