The adoption process is a complicated matter which requires the help of an agency to help navigate the legalities of the adoption process. There is a mountain of paperwork that can feel rather daunting to complete, particularly if you are in the very early stages of setting up the adoption process. In this article, we will discuss ways to help you organize and keep track of the necessary paperwork involved in the process.
The first few weeks to months may feel like a whirlwind, but there are some tips to help keep you organized. You will quickly begin to collect a plethora of documentation from the adoption agency. They will communicate with you monthly and also want reports for the first six months after the finalization of your child's adoption.
During this period, it is recommended you keep a 3-ring binder with a set of folders or dividers inside. Each section can be labeled for a different aspect of the adoption process. You will need a large section for the adoption agency, social worker, and the legal documentation they will need to share with you. Copy everything before you give it to them. You will thank yourself later when they reference a paper you signed and sent to them. You will quickly be able to look at the copy and understand their reference.
Another section of your adoption binder can be used to track financial information. It is important that you keep details of all your financial transactions during the first year, not only for your own purposes but also to help with tax record of the adoption process. You can keep receipts in one of the folders within your binder. Another we will discuss later is to scan these items into the computer for safekeeping and easy retrieval on demand.
You may also have a section in your binder for communication with the birth parents. This may be a section of your folder that you indulge in and really enjoy. Others may not have many items to keep in this portion of their adoption folder. Regardless, it is important to keep this information where you can retrieve it quickly should it become necessary to share details with the agency or social worker.
Digitize It for Storage, Organization, and Retrieval
Many opt to keep their information in a digitized format, easily access and retrieved from the internet and/or computer. Scanning is a great way to make multiple copies in various places for easy access. If you sign papers at home to send to the agency, scan it into your computer before sending it away. This way, you have record of anything they may reference at a later date.
It never hurts to make paper copies. There are some documents that will need to be in paper form. Digitizing information for archiving is easy and important, but there will be moments where you will need to produce a paper copy of a birth certificate. Officially-stamped certificates cannot be reproduced and will not be legal in a digitized form. Be sure you have birth certificates available to give away to legal entities that need these.
Decide on an organization method that feel most comfortable to you. If that consists of binders and color-coded folders, then utilize that method and make multiple copies. If digitizing your documentation is more suitable for you, ensure that you are also utilizing a large-storage data site that is reliable. Make sure to password protect your documents and only share viewing permission with your most trusted family member.