A Consent and Relinquishment is invalid if the attorney-witness fails to be present when the birth mother (or father) signed the document and both witnesses failed to observe the statutorily-required discussion of the provisions of the Consent and Relinquishment.

Practice Point: Make sure both witnesses are in the room with the birth mother or father when the provisions of the Consent and Relinquishment are being discussed and when the Consent and Relinquishment is being executed.

Case Law

Almost any time that you have a multistate adoption, you trigger the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children. One way to determine if ICPC is triggered is to determine if the Sending Agency sent, brought, or caused to be sent or brought any child to another party state for the purposes of adoption.

Sending Agency means a party state, officer or employee thereof, a subdivision of a party state, or officer or employee thereof, a court of a party state, a person, corporation, association, charitable agency or other entity which sends, brings, or causes to be sent or brought any child to another state.

Unfortunately, even a birth mother is deemed a Sending Agency if she places the child with adoptive parents in another state; thus, triggering the ICPC process.

The South Carolina ICPC statutes are Sections 63-9-2200 thru 63-9-2290 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, as amended.

The definition of Sending Agency is found in Section 63-9-2200(1)(b).

Below is a checklist required for Horry and Georgetown Counties. I use this checklist with all my adoption files. The checklist is simple to use and covers most requirements of the court. One suggestion before attempting an adoption in a county you are not familiar with is to contact the administrative judge’s office for local rules and contact an attorney that practices in the county you are seeking to file an adoption action in.

Plaintiffs vs. Defendants



This Adoption is:
_______ Step-parent adoption or adoption related by blood or marriage
_______ Non-relative adoption

The following documents have been filed with the Clerk of Court:
_______Order appointing GAL
_______Proper service of Order appointing GAL on the GAL
_______Answer of GAL
Proof of service of Summons and Complaint on:
Biological parents (if no consent/relinquishment or TPR)
Child to be adopted (if 14 years or older)
GAL or child (if 13 years or younger)
Proof of Service by Publication (if served by Publication)
Notice to named biological father
____ Responsible Father Registry Search Results
Mother’s Consent Relinquishment (if given)
Father’s Consent Relinquishment (if given)
Consent of Child if age 14 or older
Pre-placement Investigation signed within one year of date of placement (not required if step-parent adoption or related by blood or marriage)
Post-Placement Investigation (not required if step-parent adoption or related by blood or marriage)
Medical & Social History (not required if step-parent adoption or related by blood or marriage)
Itemized Accounting (not required if step-parent adoption or related by blood or marriage)
Adoption Placement Certificate (if DSS placement)
Answer of DSS (if DSS placement)
Service of Summons and Complaint on DSS (if DSS placement)
Notice of Hearing to DSS (if DSS placement)
Interstate Compact Approval (if child is placed out of state or placed in S.C. from another state)
Order of Exceptional Circumstances (if child is placed in another State from S.C.)


Attorney for Plaintiffs

In Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, the United States Supreme Court, in essence, says that an absentee Indian cannot rely on ICWA to challenge an adoption. The Court said that the heightened standard outlined in ICWA does not apply to a parent that has not either had physical or legal custody of the child. The essence of the ICWA is to preserve the bonds within the Indian community, and in this case the child was never in the custody of the Indian father. 

Indian Child Welfare Act Panel to be Held at University of South Carolina School of Law
April 11, 2013
Victoria Middleton
Executive Director,

Dr. Marcia Zug
Professor, University of
South Carolina School of

Chief Bill Harris
Catawba Indian Nation
(803) 366-4792

Nicole Adams
National Indian Child
Welfare Association
O (503) 222-4044 ext. 133
C (503)754-0466

Columbia, SC—The South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs is hosting a town-hall style
educational panel discussion on the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) at the University of South Carolina-School of Law’s Auditorium on Tuesday, April 16, 2013 from 10:00am until 12:30pm. Media are invited to attend starting at 10:00am. The event is free and open to the public.
Panelists will give testimonies regarding their personal experiences with the Act, explaining the need for the Act and its significance to Native American Indian people. Panelists include: Dr. Marcia Zug-USC Law School, Chief Bill Harris-Catawba Indian Nation, Ms. Susan Dunn-ACLU-SC, Ms. Linda Love-Catawba Indian Nation, Ms. Jacqueline Davis-Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and others.
ICWA was enacted in 1978 by Congress in direct response to state adoption policies that were draining Indian tribes of their future citizens. The Act gives states guidance regarding adoption and custody issues of Federally Recognized Native American Indians allowing for Tribal and family intervention to keep children within their culture and communities when possible.

The Supreme Court will hear the case Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl on April 16, 2013 which involves a South Carolina couple seeking review of a South Carolina Supreme Court ruling in an attempt to force Dusten Brown, a member of the Cherokee Nation, to give his daughter Veronica up for adoption. Mr. Brown, who is now raising Veronica at their home in Oklahoma, has prevailed in every court that has considered this matter, including the South Carolina Family Court and the South Carolina Supreme Court.

The South Carolina Commission for Minority Affairs-Native American Affairs Initiative serves as the State’s official Native American Affairs agency working with Native American Indians to address issues of poverty and socio-economic deprivation through collaboration with government and private partners.

For more information about the event, please contact:
Marcy L. Hayden, Native American Affairs Coordinator, SC Commission for Minority Affairs
(803) 832-8169 or (803) 402-2336

Terminating a parent’s rights or taking his consent and relinquishment without a pending adoption primarily occurs  in DSS cases. The Court approving a Consent and Relinquishment or terminating a parent’s rights without a pending adoption is rare in private actions. The person would have had to have done something  egregious to warrant a Court terminating his rights without a pending adoption.

Please note that a reading of the termination statutes seems to indicate that a person’s rights could be terminated under statutory prescribed conditions regardless of whether an adoption is pending or not. We must remember that the Court has a great deal of discretion in applying those statutes; and at least in Horry County, the Court will generally not terminate a parent’s rights without someone ready to adopt.

The Termination of Parental Rights statutes are Section 63-7-2510 throught 63-7-2620 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, as amended.