Although I went through the adoption process in 2001, not much has changed with regards to the application requirements. From agency to agency, there may be a little variation but for the most part they all want certain information and documents.
So even if you are just in the preliminary phase of just thinking about adoption, here is food for thought about what else you should be doing as you explore agencies and talk to other adoptive parents.
Tip #1: Work with more than one agency if you want to adopt domestically, in fact use as many as you can afford. I used six agencies and why? Unlike the olden days (the 50's, 60's and 70's), there is not a stigma to keeping your baby if you are unmarried which means that are not as many babies being given up for domestic adoption. The end result is that there are more families than babies to adopt. For international adoption, you can work with one agency.
Tip #2 - Start gathering documents for your application
In case you are unaware, the adoption application is pretty comprehensive and while it may not seem like a lot, pulling it all together takes time so why not just start now.
- Tax returns - Every agency is different but some agencies require the past 2 years tax returns, some require only 1 year. Make lots of copies especially if you are applying to several agencies, just to have them.
- Financial Statement or budget - Basically, this document details income, household monthly expenses, credit card balances, savings, investments, life insurance, rent or mortgage expense, etc. Put together an excel spreadsheet so you can use as a reference.
- Draft a Dear Birth Mother letter - a long and short version - This took me weeks to do. Remember, this may be the most important letter you ever write since it may be the deciding factor that a single mother chooses you over another family. No pressure, right.
- Gather photos of family, extended family, friends, your home, the babies room (this depends on the agency, I did not have to do this) to include in your photo album or book, again this varies by agency.
- Your photo
- Reference letters - Think about who you want to submit reference letters, you will need 3-5 references depending on the agency. Make it life easy for the person and draft bullet points for them so it's easier for them to complete. Allow enough time for them to complete this task and forward to the agency. One person I asked took forever and held up the process but I had a back up person to complete the application.
- Marriage license, divorce decree, where applicable
- Birth certificate
- Find out your company's policy regarding adding adopted child to be covered.
- Think about who will be the guardian in the event something happens to you.
Tip #4: Save, Save, Save - That is not much else to add there.
Other documents that will be needed but can't really be completed as every agency request or form will be different but I just wanted you to be aware of documents that will be needed to complete the application.
- Employment verification
- Medical report to be completed by your doctor, AIDs/HIV is one test most people have never taken but it is required for adoption application.
- Home study