There's a lot of paperwork -- a lot, -- involved in an adoption. By the time you bring your child home, you've likely been doing paperwork for months on end, and possibly longer. You're tired of red tape and you just want to enjoy your time together as a family. As nice as that would be, there are a few things to handle after the adoption's finalization that can make your transition easier and help you plan for your child's future.

Short Term

First and foremost, do your best to get your hands on your child's original birth certificate. This can be very difficult to do later in life, and can be incredibly helpful in helping your child know where they come from. As the adoption is finalized, you will receive a new birth certificate with your name as the parent, but having the original unaltered birth certificate is incredibly beneficial. After the adoption finalization it is often very difficult to obtain this vital piece of paper, so discussing it throughout the process with the birthmother and adoption agency is recommended.

The next order of business is making sure you have health insurance in order. In some states, you may receive assistance with this through the state as part of your adoption assistance, but if you will be adding your child to your private healthcare plan, either as their primary or secondary insurance, you often have a narrow window of time to add them to your plan after what the insurance industry calls a major life change -- which includes adoption. Another step to take for your child's healthcare is to make an updated list of medical professionals who have worked with your child in the past and present. Even if you're not seeing a particular doctor or therapist anymore, they may have vital records that you may need in the future, and having an easily accessible list can be priceless in an emergency.

Long Term

It's important to start planning for the future now -- you have a person that is completely dependent upon you for their immediate and ongoing future. A huge part of that is making sure your will is completed and up to date, with a guardian selected in case anything should happen to you. The potential legal guardian should of course be consulted and give their consent to this before they are included in this. You should also invest in life insurance to ensure no undue financial burden is placed on your family members, including your future, hopefully grown, children.

It is very important to get your child a new social security number once the adoption is completed. Because so many other people may have access to the child's original social security number, it puts them at increased risk for identity theft, which might not be discovered until they are old enough to apply for credit. Additionally, you could encounter problems with someone else trying to claim the child on their taxes, which might not be revealed until they or you are audited.

Last but certainly not least: announcements! Let your friends and family know about this exciting new stage in your life and introduce them to your new family member. This important step is also fun, so get creative!