Staying Organized During an Adoption

I’m thrilled to be teaming up with iHomeschool Network over the next week for a 5 day series about adoption.  Here are the topics I’m going to be covering this week:

         Monday:  Staying Organized During an Adoption

         Tuesday:  Special Needs Adoption

        Wednesday:  Adoption Challenges

        Thursday:  Homeschooling and Adoption

        Friday:  Adoption and Sensory Issues

I love to get items organized, staying organized is another matter, especially now with 6 people behind me un-organizing all my organizing!  

When we first decided to pursue an adoption many years ago, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on all the paperwork requirements.  Not really because I love paperwork, I don’t, but because I could finally be taking some concrete action toward our goal of having a family.

{1} The first step I took was to get a large 3-ring binder and plenty of page protectors.  {2} I made a section for agency paperwork, home study paperwork, and government paperwork.  It really doesn’t need to be any more elaborate than that.  The adoption process is complicated enough, don’t make the organizing part any more challenging than it needs to be.

Take a deep breath, all of the papers, forms, and requirements will feel totally overwhelming at first.  You will read about terms and documents that are completely new.  I-600A?, fingerprints?, tax returns for how many years?  Oy.

 Each adoption agency is going to be different in the way they lay out their requirements.  Sit down and read through all the instructions thoroughly, then read through them again, highlighting any due dates or other important dates.  It also may be helpful to jot down an a separate sheet of paper when money is due, it will help with budgeting as you go along.  Usually everything happens in phases.  Money is turned in when initial paperwork is complete, another due date may be when the home study is turned in etc. 

{3} It’s equally important to keep track of all your expenses.  A simple spreadsheet will work great.  Jot down any and all expenses related to your child joining your family.  Taking time to write these items down during your adoption will make it so much easier come tax time.

Organizing for an adoption isn’t rocket science, but truly, the more organized you are the more quickly the process can flow.  

Make copies of everything you submit to your agency or any other entity.  {4} Keep everything you get from everyone, even if it seems inconsequential at the time.  You can weed through the paperwork after your adoption is complete.

My husband swears that the reason none of our adoptions took longer than nine months is because we were so organized.  I’m not a 100% sure that is a true statement, but I know we were a lot less frazzled during a very emotional and challenging period of time because our paperwork was in order.  

May God bless you on your adoption journey!



  1. Ani Pennings says

    Yes! And another bonus to staying organized during an adoption…if you adopt again (and especially if you adopt from the same country!) you have everything from the previous adoption all together to serve as a guide to help you remember what you did and how you filled out the forms :)

  2. Julie F says

    looking forward to Friday. our adopted son has been diagnosed with severe sensory issues. I am wondering how the 2

  3. Aadel Bussinger says

    It would be interesting to know the differences in paperwork for international vs domestic adoptions. Are they comparable? Do you have to have more for international?

  4. Jen4Ever4Always says

    That’s a great question and one that is difficult to answer. Each country will have different requirements and each state will have different requirements as well. We have never completed a domestic adoption so I can’t say for sure, but there will be some things that are the similar such as the home study requirements. Everyone needs a home study to do any type of adoption.

  5. Ami Brainerd says

    Someone told me at the beginning of our journey to get organized. Thank God for that person! I put everything in a big accordion type organizer with divided tabs/folders. I labeled everything, and have (so far) been able to keep track of things pretty well. :) It was really helpful having a checklist for the dossier, too. Whew! We are *almost* done with paperwork for awhile. :)

  6. Aadel Bussinger says

    Thanks for that reply. I’ve been doing a lot of reading about domestic adoptions and they don’t sound quite as paperwork heavy. Of course I could be wrong.

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