7 Tips for Going Through the ICPC Process

The ICPC process is different for each family; however, here are some great tips to keep in mind.

Shelley Skuster July 16, 2018

For many adoptive parents, the process of adopting a child is filled with waiting.

First, they wait to be matched with an expectant parent. Then they wait for the birth or placement of that child. And finally, they wait for paperwork to process so they can bring that child home.

That final stint of waiting while paperwork processes is called the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, better known as the ICPC. As with most adoption situations, the ICPC can look different for different families.

Here are seven tips to keep in mind about the ICPC process:


The ICPC is a required part of the adoption process. It essentially oversees the transfer of a child from one state to another. A social worker or attorney should initiate this process for you after placement. While you can travel within your child’s home state, you cannot leave the child’s home state until you receive ICPC approval.


On average, approval of the ICPC can take 7-10 days. If your child is born in a state other than your own, you will need to set up a “home away from home” while you wait for the green light to leave your child’s home state. Some families choose to stay at a hotel. Others have good luck with online house rentals through Airbnb.com or VRBO.com. And some families even connect with others through online support groups like the Domestic Adoption Housing Connections on Facebook.

Tip: You may want to make sure you have access to WiFi so you can Skype or FaceTime with relatives back home.


Your baby will need a safe place to sleep during the ICPC process. Most hotels have cribs or Pack n’ Plays available. If there’s not one available where you’re staying, you may be able to borrow one from a shared connection, or you should be able to pick one up at a local retail store like Walmart or Target. Just remember, if you purchase one there, you’ll need to find a way to get it back home.


You should plan on seeing a pediatrician at least once during the ICPC process. The hospital or adoption agency social worker should be able to help you arrange an appointment with a local pediatrician for an early check-up. Make sure you have all paperwork and insurance information with you at this appointment.


You can bring your other children with you to wait out the ICPC process and can even hit up some tourist attractions if you’re feeling up for it. While some parents appreciate the one-on-one bonding time with their new child, it can be difficult to leave their other children behind. Depending on the age of your children, your lodging accommodations, and how much is in your travel budget, you may consider having them visit or stay with you during the ICPC process.


Consider taking newborn pictures in your child’s home state while you wait for the ICPC approval. A great place to start searching for a photographer is Red Thread Sessions; many of these photographers have a heart for adoption and offer sessions at a discounted rate (or free) for new adoptive families.


Pack lightly. Babies don’t need much in the early weeks, and the hospital staff should be able to give you a nice supply of bottles, formula, diapers, and wipes. If you forget something or need more, there’s usually a Walmart or Target close by for you to quickly grab any necessities.

author image

Shelley Skuster

Shelley is a former award-winning television journalist who traded in suit coats and red lipstick for a messy bun and yoga pants. She's a freelance writer who stays at home with her three daughters who are all ((gasp)) under the age of three and came to her via adoption and birth. She's the woman behind the blog Shelley Writes and she can also be found on facebook and twitter as ShelleySkuster.

Related Articles See All

The views and opinions expressed through Adoption.com Articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Adoption.com. If you would like to report any articles for us to review, we would love to hear from you.

Host: www1