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Md. Code Ann., Fam. Law § 5-604 (1984), a section of the codified Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children, provides, in part, that no sending agency shall send, bring, or cause to be sent or brought into any other party state any child for placement in foster care or as a preliminary to a possible adoption unless the sending agency shall comply with each and every requirement set forth in this section and with the applicable laws of the receiving state governing the placement of children therein. The child shall not be sent, brought, or caused to be sent or brought into the receiving state until the appropriate public authorities in the receiving state shall notify the sending agency, in writing, to the effect that the proposed placement does not appear to be contrary to the interests of the child.
The potential adoptive parents arranged an independent adoption, through an attorney, with natural parents who lived in Virginia. The identities of both sets of parents were hidden from each other. The adoptive parents refused to comply with Virginia's Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children’s requirements by filing a form that would include the names and addresses of the adoptive parents. The adoptive parents took custody of the child and brought him to Maryland without consent of either state's ICPC office. The circuit court in Virginia dismissed the adoptive parents’ petition for adoption. The adoptive parents sought review of the decision.
Did the adoptive parents violate the ICPC by transporting the child without the consent of the Maryland ICPC office?
The court first held that Virginia did not violate the ICPC by refusing to accept the adoptive parents' application, which did not comply with Virginia regulations. Furthermore, the court held that the parents violated the ICPC by transporting the child without the consent of the Maryland ICPC office. Because a child was brought to Maryland in violation of the ICPC, the circuit court should have required, if possible, immediate retroactive compliance with the ICPC. In order for the natural parents' "blank" consents to be valid, the adoptive parents had to establish on remand that they were the persons to whom the natural parents directed the consent to adopt. In this case, it was not clear if the natural parents had a meaningful opportunity to revoke consent.