The interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, or ICP, governs all cases in which a child is moved from one state to another state for the purpose of an adoption. This law requires the state the child is leaving (sending state) to notify the state to which the child is going (receiving state) that the child is coming. The receiving state has to approve the child's relocation before the adoptive family can bring the child to their home.

Although it sounds simple, ICPC rules are quite complex and differ from state to state. A failure to comply with ICPC can lead to a state refusing to allow an adoption and, in some states, even criminal penalties.

In some cases it is not clear who the sending state will be. For example, if a birth mother becomes pregnant in one state and moves to another state before the birth, which state must send the notice? Or what if she is merely traveling and gives birth outside of her home state? Because of the possibility of a substantial penalty for failure to comply with ICPC. it is always best to consult with an adoption attorney or agency about adopting a child from another state.