The paperwork! As I said in the first installment Getting Started, the paperwork mountain was the most daunting part of the process for us. What made it so additionally difficult was collecting all the paperwork. It seemed like every time we had everything together, we needed one more form, address, or certificate.
Each state or agency will have its own list, but this list will get you started.
- Pet vaccinations and statements of health. You need to provide copies of all pet records
- Personal statements of health from your physician and lists of any medical conditions or medications.
- For private or agency adoptions any kind of major illness might be a deal breaker. If you have any condition, ask before you jump through hoops and spend money.
- Birth certificates for both prospective parents
- Marriage certificate
- Divorce decrees from any previous marriages
- Location and date of parent’s birth, marriage, etc. as well a current address
- List of all addresses for both adoptive parents for the prior ten years
- Employment history for ten years for both prospective parents
- Locations of fire station, police station, hospital and shopping in relation to home
- Pay stubs, Tax documentation, and bank statements
- Verification of all insurance (health, life and disability)
- Letters of reference from both family members and friends for both parents
- Diagram of the home, including room dimensions, with photographs of the exterior front and back of the house.
- Background checks – child protective services check, criminal check, FBI check
- If necessary, arrest records, court documents regarding arrests and disposition of criminal charges or other legal issues. This could include civil cases as well.
If you have an agency that you think you will use, ask them if they have a list of all the paperwork required. Then you can be ready once you decide for sure.
If you can start gathering this paperwork and just keep it all handy and accessible, you could probably get a home study finished very quickly. For us, the hardest part was tracking down all the documentation of our pasts. My husband had probably 15 different addresses in ten years being so transient in the military. I hadn’t kept copies of my divorce decrees and had to contact the courthouse in our home state for copies.
Having to make doctor’s appointments for check ups and a vet appointment for pets also were things we failed to anticipate nor were we maintaining documentation of our pay, insurance, disability coverage, life insurance, etc. It just took a long time to gather all the necessary pieces and get them all in one place. If you’re in the process of still thinking about it or researching agencies or saving money toward adoption, now would be the time to start building a file with all the necessary documents. Then when you’re ready to get started, you can just pull it out, make copies and mail them off or fax them. We gave copies to our social worker or faxed/emailed what we could prior to his home visit.
For me this was the most stressful part of the process. I felt like everyday I was digging for something new, that the second I mailed off a set of documents, I had to find something else. It felt like jumping through hoops. My husband went away for military training during this part of the process and trying to use a POA (power of attorney) to get his documents and necessary copies made it extra challenging. I had to be willing to fax documentation of my POA before I was even able to talk to people sometimes. It was frustrating. Who even has a fax machine anymore? You might want to make sure you have access to 1)fax machine, 2)notary, 3) a copy store.
Of course, all of that hassle is nothing compared to actually to actual parenting. Looking back, this part of the process was stressful because I wanted to get it done, I didn’t want to miss a chance to have our baby. But of course, God was in control, our the perfect baby for our family was right on time.