By Dee Waltz
In spite of the thought that you will someday have a child of your own and that the two of you will adore each other there is the reality of applying to adopt. There is, for lack of a better way to put it, the grunge work that accompanies the dream. There are forms to fill out, fees to pay, visits to arrange to the doctor’s office and police department and a million documents to collect, copy and organize. (Now where did you put that marriage certificate again?)
Though everyone knows there is a price to pay for every dream, the truth is that the task can be quite daunting. As an Adoption Advisor I’d like to share a few suggestions of small things you can do to make things easier on yourself and those you will work with.
Make a “Family Documents” file – This file should contain a copy of every birth certificate, marriage certificate, and other legal document you can think of…you’ll most likely need it! Passports, driver’s licenses, insurance cards, bank statements (usually for the last 3 months), current income tax, veterinary shot records, health records, and so on. The more you can think to add the less you will be digging for the information later when your caseworker asks for it. You may need a few other things but it won’t take you as long to find it.
Plan a “copy day” or two – Whether you are working on a domestic adoption or an international adoption you will need more than one copy of just about everything so save yourself some stress and take the whole file to a copy shop and do it all at once one day. Or mark your calendar about 2 weeks apart and plan to go on two days so you can catch what you missed the first time around.
Make a “Documents-to-Take” file – This file will hold a copy of everything you actually give your caseworker to complete your home study. Have three copies (Remember those copy days on the calendar?) to take with you to pick up your child. One for the placing agency if you are not using the same one as you are doing your home study. One copy to keep with you at all times in case someone asks you for something they’ve misplaced (and you are not able to drive back home to get it). And one copy for ICPC if you are doing a domestic adoption. ICPC stands for Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children and they are the ones who give approval for you to leave the state with your child. Add a few pictures of your home and family, and the room the child will sleep in (even if the clouds haven’t been painted on the ceiling yet). It’s possible that they will also want these pictures as they sometimes do here in Georgia. Take this file with you when you travel – it is your life!
Take stock of all your dates – Make a note of EVERY document and the date it was completed. Every piece of paperwork (other than birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc.) needs to be updated every year. If you are gathering documents at different times during the home study process it is highly unlikely that your dates will all expire at the same time. This means that if you had your lab tests on June 25, 2011 and your dog’s rabies shots done on July 1, 2011 you will need to have your lab tests done again on June 25, 2012 and the dog’s shots done again on July 1, 2012 even if your home study doesn’t expire until July 15, 2012. If you try to adopt a child and get approval from ICPC to bring the child home between those two dates it most likely will be denied so watch your dates carefully! Your home study agency will not always be aware of each of these dates when it’s time (can you imagine remembering each of these for even 30 clients?) and it’s your responsibility to keep track of it.
Plan some days off – You will do yourself a big favor if you can plan some days to do the errands you will need to do to get your paperwork in order before the adoption. You will need to visit the doctor for a checkup, the lab for tests, the police department for fingerprints, the courthouse if you need a duplicate certificate, and you may need to find a notary or visit a government office before it’s over. Oh, and don’t forget your copy days! If your days are planned and you can arrange to do as many of these during those days it will not feel like you’re running around like a chicken with its head cut off (as my mother used to say), in jeopardy of losing your job due to absences or go broke filling the gas tank.
Make a to-do list – This is a to-do list for when you are done running errands and feeling crazy and are just plain crazy with waiting! Sometimes waiting for the adoption arrangements to come through can be the hardest part. You want to have some ideas to work on while you wait…to curb your finger from dialing the agency every ten minutes for an update. Think scrapbooks, diaries, blogs, pictures and baby furniture shopping.
The Good News…
Though nothing you prepare early can assure you that you will have everything under control as needed (get used to it…you are bringing home the perfect example of surprises in life!) this list will be a good start. Good luck with your paper chase and I’ll see you at the shop on copy day!
About the Author
Dee is an Adoption Advisor and Parenting Instructor for Crystal Adoptions. She invites you to learn more about how she can save you money, many hours of frustration and cut your waiting time by more than half by letting her guide you through, and to, an adoption. Go to our FAQ now to find out more: http://crystaladoptions.com/FAQ.php
Crystal Adoptions: Everyone needs a hand to hold. You be theirs. We’ll be yours.
(c) Copyright – R. Dee Waltz Shihady. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
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