It’s never too early to begin preparing for your adoption placement! As many adoptive families will tell you, once you’re approved for adoption, the process can seem to be moving very slow and then all of a sudden move very fast. If you’re approved with Act of Love Adoptions it’s a good idea to have a plan set in place. Prepare to be away from home for 10 to 14 days for the adoption process and ICPC clearance.
If you have pets, make arrangements to have family, friends, or neighbors care for them. Have someone lined up to watch your house, get your mail, water plants, etc. Most adoptive families also let their employers know their plans for adoption so they are aware you could be gone quickly for up to two weeks. This really helps in cases where you get the call on a weekend and have to leave a message that you will not be in to work on Monday. If you have other children that are not going to be coming with you, make plans with family or friends and let their teachers know that you may be leaving suddenly for your baby. Making plans in advance for your other children will also help with their transition and waiting for their new little brother or sister.
Have some basic baby items purchased and ready to go. At the very least, you will need a car seat, a few outfits, undershirts, blankets, bottles and diapers. (This shopping is lots of fun!! – even for Dads.) When the baby is released from the hospital you will usually receive a gift pack. The gift packs usually include a few diapers, some premixed disposable bottle of formula, as well as a can of the formula that the baby is eating, and some odds and ends like a bulb syringe, a pacifier, and a scalp brush. You can buy and bring with you as much as you want to carry in your luggage, but many families also purchase a fair amount of supplies here (especially formula since you won’t know which kind the baby will be eating).
Be looking ahead at how you will make flight reservations and maybe which hotels you will want to stay at. If your baby is born in Utah, you will be flying into the Salt Lake City airport. The Act of Love Adoption Agency office is located in Sandy, Utah about 25 minutes from the airport. The hospitals in the Salt Lake Valley are about 20 to 30 minutes from Act of Love. Last minute flight reservations can be costly. Many adoptive families have used frequent flyer miles, check for deals on the internet, been able to get better deals by talking to managers, received recommendations of travel agencies specializing in adoption, etc. Most adoptive families stay close to our office in Sandy; however some prefer to stay in the downtown Salt Lake City area or by the airport.Act of Love has found that most adoptive families like some sort of suite arrangement with kitchen facilities. The suite arrangement makes preparing and sterilizing bottles easier and allows you to stay cozy and comfortable as you prepare your own meals. Salt Lake City also has many vacation rentals available in the area. Act of Love can provide brochures and referrals for adoption friendly accommodations.
Babies are typically discharged from hospitals in Utah between 24-48 hours after birth. If you arrive in Utah sometime the day after delivery, you most likely will not spend a great deal of time at the hospital. Some birth parent(s) want to take the time they have to be with the baby at the hospital and prefer the adoptive family not be at the hospital. Other birth parent(s) cherish the time that they have at the hospital with the adoptive family. Once the birth parent(s) sign their relinquishment, Act of Love can complete the paperwork with you, which is usually done at the Act of Love office and YES! you get to take the baby with you after discharge from the hospital. If you do not live in Utah, once the baby is discharged from the hospital you will be waiting for Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) to clear the state of Utah and your home state, so you can travel home . If the baby is born in another state, ICPC clearance for an Act of Love Agency adoption will start in the state where the baby is born, be sent to the Utah ICPC office (Must happen as Act of Love is licensed in the state of Utah), and will be sent from the Utah ICPC office to the adoptive family home state office.
While waiting to go home, many Act of Love adoptive families go stay in Park City at the ski resorts, explore Sundance Resort, or drive south a few hours to southern Utah and stay at the National Parks. (Just don’t leave Utah with the baby!) The adoptive family will need to pick-up documents from Act of Love once ICPC gives clearance for the baby to leave the state of Utah. The best advice from Act of Love staff is to treasure and enjoy this special time with your new little bundle of joy!
Many adoptive families ask Act of Love about ICPC and the reason it is needed. Anytime a child moving across state lines, from one state to another, the Utah ICPC office and the ICPC of the home state of the adoptive family must review and approve the paperwork before the child is allowed to travel from one state to another. Act of Love staff will prepare and submit the ICPC packet. The ICPC process is included in the adoption fee and the adoptive family will not be involved in this process. The Act of Love office will notify the adoptive family of the ICPC approval and give the adoptive family clearance to leave the state of Utah and travel home. The ICPC packet includes things like copies of the birth parent(s) non-identifying information, relinquishment paperwork, medical records for the baby and the adoptive family home study. Thus, the ICPC cannot be completed until after the baby is born, the birth parent(s) have relinquished, and the baby has been released from the hospital. Act of Love prepares and delivers three copies of the ICPC packet to the Utah ICPC office in downtown Salt Lake City. Utah and your home state will each keep a copy and once the process is complete the third copy will be sent to your supervising agency, which is your agency or licensed social worker in your home state assisting you with post placement visits. As you are preparing for your adoption, make sure you have an agency or LCSW in place to complete your post placements. It is important for the adoptive family to inform the agency or LCSW that they are working with Act of Love Adoption Agency in Sandy, Utah and have been placed with a baby for adoption. Most ICPC offices are housed in state human services or family services departments (*thus nothing happens with ICPC over weekends or holidays). Most of the wait time for ICPC occurs as your home state reviews the paperwork. The home state will thoroughly review items in ICPC packet as the baby is coming into their state and in most cases the adoption will be finalized in the adoptive family home state. Sometime the ICPC will ask for additional information and Act of Love does their best to supply those requests as quickly as possible. Once your home state approves the clearance for the baby, the ICPC office will communicate with the Utah ICPC office and the Utah ICPC office will communicate with Act of Love that the baby is cleared and the adoptive family may travel outside of Utah. If you come to Utah for the birth or your baby or a little before, plan to be in Utah the additional time for the ICPC process to occur (plan for 10-14 days). Once the ICPC clearance has been received, the adoptive family is free to travel home with their new bundle of joy!