So much of the adoption process is about waiting. Waiting for your home study to be finished, waiting to have enough funds, waiting to be chosen by an expectant mom, waiting to see if she chooses to parent or place her child for adoption. You wait on pins and needles until the baby is born and consents are signed. FINALLY, all of the waiting is done and your long-prayed for child is in your arms! You think the wait is over…except…hold on-there’s more. Suddenly the reality that you’re in yet another period of waiting washes over you with dread! If your child was born in a different state than yours, you can’t go home until you have cleared ICPC (Interstate Compact on the Placing of Children). UGH! More waiting!
ICPC is the legally mandated process where paperwork must be approved between the state where the child is being placed for adoption and the family’s home state before the child can cross state lines. It typically takes somewhere between 7-10 business days, but can be longer or shorter.
Over the years as an Adoption Consultant, I have seen family after family’s passionate rejoicing over the child in their arms quickly turn into impatience, complaining, anxiety, or anger as they wait for their ICPC clearance to go home. It doesn’t have to be this way! Your ICPC wait can be a gift. How? First, recognize the common temptations that may come and start praying for the Lord to help you with them. Then, when you’re in the ICPC wait, fight the temptations with thankfulness towards God.
What kind of temptations might you face during ICPC?
You will be tempted to complain about ICPC. You may be tempted to feel like you simply can’t enjoy your baby until you’re home again, tempted to fixate on the wait to be cleared, tempted to get mad at your agency or at the ICPC office for not moving faster, tempted about the money you’re spending while you wait to go home, tempted to feel like you can’t enjoy your new baby while you’re away from your other ones, tempted to worry about work you’re missing. Some (or all!) of these temptations are likely going to run through your head or heart. But you don’t have to be consumed by them! Fight the temptations with thankfulness to God and your ICPC can be a gift.
Psalm 59:17 “O my Strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love.”
1) Give thanks to God for the steadfast love He has shown you throughout your adoption
He has answered so many prayers getting you to this day. Recount His faithfulness and give thanks to Him. Remind yourself of the steadfast love He has shown you every step of the way.
2) Thank God for your child’s birth mom and continue to build your relationship with her
While you’re holding your precious baby, frustrated about not being able to go home yet, your child’s birth mother is at home recovering from child birth with empty arms. She’s made an incredibly difficult decision that’s brought her tremendous loss. Thank God for her and let her know how thankful you are for this gift! If you’re able, take her out to lunch, have her join in on a newborn photoshoot, or go out for dessert with her to show her your love and to have some more time with her. Those moments will be treasured forever by each of you.
1 Samuel 1:27 ” For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition that I made to him.”
3) Focus on bonding with your baby and thanking God for this child
You don’t have to go to work or clean your house or tackle your to-do list; this is a unique time where all you have to do is focus on your baby. Thank the Lord for this child’s life and pray for your heart and theirs to be connected. Look into their eyes, sing to them, wear them, do kangaroo care, tell them their adoption story.
4) Thank God for your spouse and enjoy them
Adoption can be stressful and you’ve walked through it together. Thank God for your husband/wife! You didn’t go through this alone-you walked it with them every step of the way. Tell them specific things that you thank God for about them. Enjoy the amazing reality of being a family.
Your ICPC wait can be an incredible time of gratitude towards God and a time of making memories as a family. Fight the temptations that come by giving thanks to God!