For many adoptive parents, the wait while their Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) paperwork is approved can seem like the longest period of their adoption process. After all, they finally have the child they’ve been dreaming about for so long and can’t wait to start their new lives as a family — back at their own home.
As tough as the ICPC wait can be, it doesn’t have to be wasted time in your life. In fact, the period in which you are waiting for ICPC approval can actually be the most integral when it comes to establishing a relationship between you and your new adopted child. No matter how long your ICPC wait is, think of it as a great chance to get to know your new addition and the city and state in which they were born.
Your adoption specialist will always prepare you for the ICPC process prior to your child’s birth, including any suggestions he or she has for managing the wait. Below, find a few ideas on how to spend your time waiting for your ICPC approval:
1. Build a bond with your new baby.
Directly following placement and prior to your ICPC approval is the best time to bond with your new addition. After all, this is some of the only time you, your spouse and your baby will have alone together for a few months (think about all of the family and friends who will want to meet your baby when you get home), and it’s a great chance to get to know each other without the pressures of everyday life getting in the way.
Take advantage of this alone time with your baby. Focus on learning all the new tasks of being a parent and finding out more about your little one’s personality.
2. Explore the town in which your child was born.
Adoptive families can expect to stay in their child’s birth state for about 7-10 days after their baby is born. If you know where your baby is going to be born, plan ahead! Look for family-friendly activities and places to explore during this waiting period. As exciting as it can be at the beginning to stay at home with your child all day, it can also be exhausting, and breaks outside of your hotel room will be much appreciated.
3. Document important experiences for your child’s adoption story.
On the same note, recognize that this town and state is an important part of your child’s adoption story. If you can, take photos of them at the hospital in which they were born, and document other important aspects of this city. If that city has a landmark, take photos and write down facts about it. These photos and descriptions will be something your child will enjoy as they grow up, especially if you incorporate them into an adoption scrapbook.
4. Spend time with your child’s birth family, if they are comfortable doing so.
If your open adoption relationship allows for it, make yourself available to your child’s birth family during this time. Remember that the birth mother will be grieving at the same time that you are enjoying your new child, and it may help her heal to spend some time with your family before you leave. Simple things like meals and outings at local attractions together can help you all get to know each other better, relieving the birth mother’s fears and giving you information to answer your child’s questions as they grow up. The relationship between an adoptive family and a birth mother is a very special one, and taking the time to cultivate it early on will aid in your relationship during the years to come.
5. Purchase any baby items you forgot you needed.
As much as you may have prepared for your ICPC stay, it’s completely normal to find yourself missing some key items to take care of your baby. Use your ICPC wait period to purchase those things you perhaps didn’t know you needed, or the things you were waiting to purchase until you knew the gender of your baby. Just remember that everything you purchase has to come back with you, so plan accordingly!
6. Be available for any required signings, documentation or court meetings.
While you will likely have plenty of time to explore the city and the state in which your child was born, don’t travel too far during your ICPC wait. Depending on your situation, you may need to complete additional legal steps before your ICPC process is complete. For example, your adoption professional may require more documentation to gain ICPC approval, or your adoption attorney may need more signatures after the adoption consent is first performed. Being available and flexible for your adoption professionals’ needs will be helpful in expediting your ICPC approval process.
7. Relax and enjoy this time.
We know the wait for your ICPC can be stressful, especially with a new baby and everyday responsibilities piling up back at home. However, relaxing and appreciating where you are at in your adoption process can alleviate some of those worries. You will never again have this particular special bonding time with your baby, so take advantage of it and try to stay in high spirits during this period of time.
ICPC can be a difficult part of your private domestic infant adoption. But, with preparation and the right attitude, it can be another successful step toward creating the family you have always dreamed of.
What are some of your suggestions for managing the ICPC wait? Let us know in the comments!