When adoptive parents choose to take the route of adoption, many are so excited that they do not take into account the amount of preparation that must occur before they can welcome home their new child. Some have no idea that they will need to gather documents, fill out forms, take classes, write papers, and schedule home visits. Here are some helpful tips for completing adoption preparation in an organized and timely manner.
1. Concentrate– Although the process may be overwhelming, remember that it is worth it! In the end you will be welcoming a new child into your family.
2. Organize– Create a binder using sections and tabs that correlate with each section of the packet you are working on. Once documents are gathered and completed, file them into the binder immediately.
3. Plan– A great way to do this is to use the checklist provided to you or to create a checklist of your own. Decided which tasks need to be completed first and then work on each, one at a time. Make sure to check off each task you complete them. There are great phone apps such as Lumen Trails if you prefer making digital check lists.
4. Prioritize– Some forms and letters must be completed by others on your behalf. Their schedule may not coincide with yours, so make sure that you delegate these tasks to be worked on first, giving them a reasonable amount of time to complete them. Make sure to agree on a deadline that they will be able to meet.
5. Set Goals– Give yourself a set amount of work that you want to complete each day/ week and push yourself towards meeting this goal
6. Teamwork – Don’t try to accomplish everything on your own. Partner up with your spouse, family members, and/or friends and divide the task up among each other. Work together to create a timeline and deadlines that you all can follow.
7. Be Creative– Telling personal experiences and interesting stories about yourself will give your home-study coordinator a more accurate picture of who you are. As you write your autobiography, include your favorite memories and experiences.
8. Double Check – Go over everything a few times before turning in your paperwork. Have someone proofread your essay for errors, and make sure you make a copy of everything.
9. Persist– Don’t give up if you have trouble finding a document. Think of where you may have placed it or where you can get a copy. For instance, search for your latest bank statement online or contact your tax preparer for a copy of your most recent tax return
10. Learn– The required adoption classes you must take are a great start, but it can be helpful to go beyond the required information to better educate yourself. For instance, you can read books and blogs about adoption, learn about the culture your child comes from, and speak to others who have adopted about their experiences. The more educated you are about adoption, the better prepared you will be when it comes time to bring your child home.
11. Seek Support– Build a network of families that are adopting a child in the same age range you are adopting in or who is adopting from the same country as you. You and your support system can be there for each other during the ups and downs of the adoption process and when dealing with issues after you bring your child home.
12. Relax- During your home visit, stay calm and be yourself. No one is expected to be perfect, because there is no such thing as the “perfect parent”.
While these tips can be a helpful guideline for you when navigating your adoption process, the most important thing you can do is to remain focused. Remember that after this hard work is finished, you will be met with the end goal of welcoming a new child into your family!