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"ICPC Doesn’t Stand for What You Think" by Katie Smith

Updated: Jul 26, 2022

Supposedly, ICPC means Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children. What ICPC really stands for is “I Could Panic Continuously”. Anytime you are adopting across state lines, this is a necessary step; it allows you to legally transport a child into your home state. Essentially, the birth state looks over your home study and paperwork to make sure you are legit, then they send it to your home state to verify and sign off, then you get clearance to go home. If you do not adhere to this step, you can jeopardize the entire adoption. If you are already in the adoption process, this is a concept you have already been familiarized with. If you are in the research stages, this might be something new. The ICPC process can vary but it generally takes around 2 weeks. Ours was exactly two weeks.

First, I am the world’s worst flyer. I used to love it…but now I am old…and realize my mortality. So, I was convinced that (even though we were open to anywhere in the US), we would get a baby we could drive to. Here we go…God’s giggling at me again. It’s one thing to fly for vacation, it’s another to realize you are going to have to fly back…with a newborn. Step one: arrive safely in Utah. Step two: become parents. Step three: cry for your mom while you are sleep deprived with a newborn with a husband who has never changed a diaper in a city too far for her to come rescue you. Step four: fly home! Easy, right? ICPC was anything but easy. As a diabetic, my blood sugars went nuts from the stress and lack of adequate sleep. My husband, God bless him, was a fast learner but newborns are so…much…work. Even when she was sleeping soundly, I had to wake up every 35 seconds to make sure her chest was still rising and falling for the 47,567th time. Ya know, first time mom. There was no one to relieve us and the people we wanted to call for advice were in a different time zone. There were some days I would be so nauseous from exhaustion and high blood sugar that I would lay in the bathroom feeling like I was going to puke. I just wanted to go home, back to my comfort zone and my mama. That song “Mom” by Meghan Trainor that y’all were supposed to listen to was totally written for my mom. She is the best darn Mimi in the entire world and my personal superhero. Donnie was a huge help (and is still the best Dad ever) but sometimes with tiny beautiful crying creatures, you need a veteran. We were staying right outside of Salt Lake City and Donnie happened to have family in Idaho. His cousin, Elizabeth, was sweet enough to pack up her family and drive the five hours to stay for just one night so we had visitors. She brought her four kids and a dog and made mommin’ look easy. Inspirational. I am still super grateful for that 24-hour visit at the midway point of ICPC!

Because we knew we would be stuck in Utah for a period of time before bringing her home, it was hard to know exactly what to bring. We opted not to bring a stroller (even though they fly for free) because I wanted to minimize the amount of stuff we had to get in (and out) of airports and rental cars. I also knew that once she was in my arms, she was not going to be leaving them anytime soon. I’ll be danged if I waited this long to have a baby just to put her in a daggum stroller. No sir. We really only brought the car seat and base, a week’s worth of baby clothes (and the anticipation of a lot of laundry), a Boppy pillow, burp clothes, 4ish bottles and a baby wrap so I could wear her. The agency was in the same town where Ella was born, and they loaned bassinets to families coming from out of state. The other necessity was a bouncer. That would have been awkward to fly with, so we bought one at Target for maybe $18 (least fancy option) when we got there. We donated it back to the agency because again, we didn’t want to fly with it, and we had one at home. Diapers we bought when we got there. Formula we bought once we left the hospital and knew what she was going to be on. The hospital sent us home with a good amount anyways. It should be noted: shoulder diaper bags are an airport nightmare. Invest in a backpack style.

Thankfully, unlike the horror stories we had heard, Ella didn’t make a single peep on our first flight (4 hours long) or the second flight (2 hours long) and spared us of blowouts! That was the moment I knew, without a doubt, that maybe she loved us too!

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