Understanding the legal process of interstate adoption

| Mar 5, 2020 | Uncategorized |

When a family decides to adopt a child from another state, they must abide by the laws of both their home state and the state where the child lives. Sometimes, this can complicate the adoption process, so it is important to know what to expect before moving forward. 

Learn more about Indiana’s laws and how they may impact interstate adoption. 

Seeking approval 

Indiana requires parents pursuing private adoption of a child who lives in another state to abide by the federal Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children. Under this law, the family must provide the following to the Indiana Department of Child Services: 

  • Written approval of the adoption from the child’s home state 
  • Signed consents to adopt from the child’s parents or a court order terminating parental rights 
  • Confirmation of the involvement of a licensed child-placing agency if applicable  

The child may not leave his or her state until the adoptive family meets these requirements along with any requirements of the child’s home state. 

Requesting expedited placement 

Depending on the requirements of the child’s home state, the adoption process can last several months under the ICPC. However, adoptive families may be eligible for expedited placement in one of these circumstances: 

  • The child’s current home is an emergency placement. 
  • At least one child in a sibling group has an existing mentoring or familial relationship with the adoptive parents. 
  • At least one child in a sibling group is age four or younger. 
  • The child’s parent has suddenly died, become incapacitated or is in prison. 

If the Indiana court approves your petition for expedited placement, the ICPC office must complete your required home study within 20 calendar days. 

Understanding DCS visit requirements 

When a child from another state receives adoption placement in Indiana, DCS officials must meet with the child in person each month. The family case manager handling your case may alternate these visits between your home and another location, such as the child’s school.