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Can one adopt a child from out-of-state in Georgia?

The procedures necessary to adopt a child in the United States, like most other family law actions, are generally dependent upon the laws of the state in which the adoption takes place. Because of the federalist system of government we have, the states are usually given power over such matters. However, the federal government does have laws that can regulate such activities at times, especially when the actions cross state lines.

We have previously discussed several aspects of adopting a child in Georgia, and how state law may apply to both adoptive and biological parents in general circumstances. But, what if a Georgia resident wishes to adopt a child who resides in a different state? Well, there is a federal law known as the "Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children" (ICPC) which governs how such adoptions may have to be done.

As a very basic thumbnail sketch of this law, the ICPC mandates that each state that is a member of the compact appoint a Compact Administrator who oversees the requests for out-of-state placement from that state. When a person or agency in a state wishes to place a child for adoption in a different state, a notice of the proposed placement must be filed with the Compact Administrator for the state. This notice is then forwarded to the receiving state's Compact Administrator, who will coordinate any legal requirements for the placement, such as a home visit or inspection with the prospective adoptive parents or any other necessary procedures as dictated by the type of adoption. The "sending" state's administrator retains responsibility for the child's welfare until it is terminated by the final adoption.

As might be suspected from the above description, adopting a child from out-of-state can be a complicated and lengthy process. Because of the interplay of state and federal laws and regulations, individuals contemplating such an adoption may wish to consider contacting an experienced Georgia family law attorney.

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