As an adopting parent, you’ve dreamed of the moment you’ll finally be able to bring your child home. You know it’s a moment you’ll treasure for the rest of your life, a story you’ll tell your child each night before bedtime.

But before you’re able to pick your child up across state lines and show him or her what unyielding love is, there’s one more requirement you have to satisfy. The adoption must comply with the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC).

Don’t worry! Adoption Choices of Colorado knows your road to adoption has been long. We know you’re ready to wake your child up every morning and tuck them into bed each night. Complying with the ICPC seems strenuous, but we’re here to explain what it is and why it’s so important.


Because adoption laws vary by state, the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children was first drafted to establish orderly procedures for the interstate placement of children and fix responsibilities for those involved in child placement.

The Compact is now a law enacted by all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It ensures that children placed across state lines for foster care or adoption are placed with individuals who are suitable, safe, and capable of providing proper care. It also dictates that the individual or entity placing the child remains legally and financially responsible for the child following placement.

The current ICPC was drafted in 1960 and is legally mandatory in every interstate adoption. It provides a defined and transparent process for both the sending and receiving states to follow, and it ensures the adoptive placement of a child complies with the laws of both states. You can jeopardize the adoption process by not complying with ICPC.

Need-to-know facts and helpful hints

  • Avoid delays. Make sure your home study is current and meets requirements for both the sending and receiving states. This will help to ensure a smooth process!
  • Plan ahead. ICPC paperwork must be approved in the placing state and your home state  before leaving the adopted child’s birth state. This means you should plan to stay in your baby’s birth state for up to two weeks while you wait to be approved to return home with your child.
  • Do not try to contact the ICPC office. Most offices prohibit adoptive parents calling to check the status of their paperwork. Leave it to your adoption professional!
  • Be patient. Stay put, try to explore the area, and enjoy the moments of bonding before getting back to the hustle and bustle of everyday life. As soon as notification is received by both the placing state and your home state you will be notified.


Although lengthy, the Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children should be viewed in a positive light. Before its existence, there was no safeguard for adopted children.

Each U.S. state handles adoption differently. When leaving a state, its adoption laws are left behind as well. Because of the Compact, if a Colorado family adopted a child born in Texas, Texas can legally apply its own adoption laws. If something were to go wrong with the placement, the state of Texas can intervene to protect the child, removing him or her from the original placement in Colorado.

The ICPC Purpose

ICPC ensures that children placed out-of-state are placed with caregivers who are safe, suitable and able to meet the child’s needs. It requires an assessment of these factors before a child is placed out-of-state. Individual state statutes are not enough to ensure that such an assessment takes place prior to placement because the authority of an individual state and its statutes ends at the state’s border. As a legally binding agreement between all states, the ICPC ensures that children enjoy a uniform set of protections and benefits regardless of which state they are moving to or from.

Another critical function of the ICPC is to ensure that the person or entity that places a child out-of-state retains legal and financial responsibility for the child after the placement occurs. This directly benefits children by eliminating any question of who is ultimately responsible for the child’s well-being and for meeting the child’s needs following placement. The ICPC also protects the interests of states by ensuring that individual states are not put in the position of having to take on the legal and financial burden of caring for children placed within their borders from other states

Colorado Interstate Adoptions

The ICPC is the best means the U.S. has to ensure protection and services to children who are placed across state lines for adoption. It ensures all states remain in agreement.

The process may be overwhelming, and even inconvenient, as you wait to return home as a family, but remember this: it’s all done in the best interest of the child you’re adopting. Soon enough, you’ll be home watching smiles take over your child’s face.

Let Adoption Choices of Colorado help you focus on the highlights of interstate adoptions! We’ll handle the rest.

Adoption Choices of Colorado

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

Support Adoption Choices

CrowdriseAdoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, 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.

However, 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

Patience BramlettPatience Bramlett, a University of Southern Mississippi news editorial graduate, is a seasoned and award-winning freelance writer. She is also a passionate reader, whose only wish is to live life without fear of the unknown. Her motivation and inspiration to live her best life stems from the words of John Lennon:

“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”

This year, she’s joining Adoption Choices Inc. as an Editorial Intern. Fueled by her love of family, she hopes to educate those looking to grow their families through adoption.

When Patience is not exploring Colorado with her husband, she’s drinking coffee, forever figuring out how to tame her hair, growing her library, and trying to break into the publishing career.




Halverson, Kathleen Kelly. “What Is the ICPC, And Why Do I Need to Know About It?”, 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,

“Understanding Interstate Adoption.” AdoptUSKids,

Wiernicki, Peter J. “The ICPC: An Updated Overview.” Adoptive Families, 10 May 2017,

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