Tuesday, January 24, 2017

your ICPC survival guide

For many adoptive families today, they using a multi-agency approach and adopting outside of their home state. This means they travel out of state to take custody of their baby as part of their adoption journey. When this happens, families need to follow the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC), a statutory agreement between all fifty states that governs the placement of children from one state to another. While all of the required paperwork is gathered and ensures the laws of both stated have been observed in the adoption process, the new family has to wait to cross state lines and travel back home. 

The ICPC process takes and average of  7 to 10 business days before a family obtains approval to return home with their newly adopted baby. Practically, this means a family has to maneuver all the challenges of a newborn paired with being away from home and all things familiar.


So how do you survive the ICPC wait? Here's a round up of some of my favorite tips:

Find the right housing

  • I've found that extended stay hotels, suites, or rentals like Airbnb and Vrbo are a great fit for adoptive families staying more than a few days. This gives you space to spread out and can be much more comfortable to bring your newborn "home" to for those first days together.
  • Check out this closed Facebook group, Domestic Adoption Housing Connections. It's a platform that connects families across the U.S. who want to help each other out and offer their home, a rental, or a vacation home to families waiting out ICPC or a long NICU stay.
  • Remember to look for important extras: things like a washer/dryer or laundry service (don't forget quarters!), a kitchenette with a fridge and microwave, free hot breakfast, etc. These things can be life savers.
  • Let the staff know you're there for your adoption. I've been amazed how many companies have blessed adoptive families with deep discounts, offered sweet gifts for the baby, and given free upgrades to help a family celebrate!


Know what to pack
  • Make sure to pack some of the basics, like blankets, sleepers and onesies, burp cloths, diapers, etc.
  • But here's a few lifesavers from some adoptive families that have experience with hotel living with a newborn:
    • A safe sleep space for baby is a must. Some favorites are a moses basket, pack 'n play, or rock 'n play.
    • Baby wrap to wear your baby (might be easier than a stroller to travel with and promotes great bonding!)
    • Medela Quick Clean Mico-Steam Bags can make bottle sterilization a breeze in a hotel room with a microwave.
  • The good news? Since this is a domestic infant adoption, there is sure to be a Target close by to stock up on anything you may have forgotten or run out of!


Make the most of your time

  • Inevitably you will have a lot of down time. Pack cozy clothes, some games to play together, books and magazines to read, or save the Netflix show you've been wanting to binge on!
  • Take the opportunity to journal your child's birth and adoption story! Before the demands of life take over when you get back home, this is a great chance to record all of those precious details while they're fresh. On a related note, you could also write Thank You cards for gifts or to friends and family who have supported you on your journey.
  • Why not have your newborn pictures taken during this time? Find a local photographer and schedule a photo shoot. A great resource is Red Thread Sessions, an organization that connects professional photographers with adoptive families and offers discounted or even free photoshoots.
  • Take advantage of your travel. Chances are you're in a place you've never visited. Check out the local attractions and become a tourist. Head to the beach as a new family, visit friends or family who might be nearby, or find the best local coffee shop or restaurant. Go on an adventure as a new family!


In the end, one of the most helpful things you can do to survive the ICPC wait is to reframe your attitude. Let's face it. Being away from home and friends and family, especially for days on end, can be hard. And being trapped in a hotel room with and infant can make you stir-crazy. Waiting for paperwork to go through and the unknown of when you can return home can be frustrating. It can be tempting to see ICPC as a barrier to getting home and starting your life together as a new family. BUT, this is the long-awaited time you have prayed for waited for. Your baby is finally in your arms, you have added a little one to your family, and you can celebrate. 

This time can be a sweet "babymoon." Although of course you are eager to return home and introduce your baby to friends and family, ICPC can be a gift. When else will you get the opportunity where your only job (without the regular responsibilities of life) is to love on and bond with your precious baby? Enjoy it and soak up every moment. 

You've survived the adoption process. Surely the ICPC wait will be a breeze!



Want more practical help on your adoption journey? Think about hiring an adoption consultant!



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