How do I adopt a child living in another state? How do I adopt across state lines?


Families often adopt children from other states, and children can find permanent families living in other states. The basic adoption process for adoptions involving multiple states is similar to the process for adoptions within the same state. All prospective adoptive parents must obtain a home study (or family profile) and follow their state’s adoption laws.

In addition, in an interstate adoption, prospective adoptive parents need also to comply with the laws of the sending state (the state where the child lives). For an overview of adoption laws that apply, please refer to summaries of state statutes (laws) provided by Child Welfare Information Gateway, a service of the Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families.

Additionally, the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) must be involved any time a child is moved from one state to another for the purpose of adoption. The ICPC requires that parties comply with the law of the sending state before the sending state's ICPC office will approve the child's transfer. ICPC is a membership organization that does not work directly with families. Families who are involved in an adoption across state lines generally work with both an adoption worker in their home state to complete a home study and preservice training, and another adoption worker in the child’s home state to walk them through the steps needed to satisfy the ICPC requirements. More information on the ICPC is available in the Adopting Children From Other States or Jurisdictions section on the Information Gateway website

Professionals working with prospective adoptive families may find an overview of applicable adoption laws in the summaries of state statutes provided by Child Welfare Information Gateway.

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