If I have a weakness in my personality I have to say it is my lack of organizational skills, and with all the paper work involved in adoption I thought that there would have been more links on the web in regards to organizing it. Instead of starting on the forms I have been giving thought and doing research on how to best approach this task. And I have to say it is a good thing I stalled on putting pen to paper. So instead of giving out a long boring lecture I’m going to jot down things that I have picked up.
1. Know what method works for you. If you are the kind of person who doesn’t put paper in binders right away with an “I’ll do it later attitude” (like myself) don’t use a binder. Opt for a plastic covered expanding file folder. If you work well with binders, you may want to use plastic sheet protectors to keep papers dry and stop the ink from smearing. You may need a few binders.
2. Make hard copies, and scan blank documents into your computer. Computers get viruses, breakdown, etc. It cannot hurt to have extra hard copies in case papers are lost, or mistakes made.
3. Keep a pencil case/box close to your binders or in the back of your file case. Have paperclips, mini staplers, pens, sheet protectors (in case of rain), and envelopes close by.
4. Make a list of everything that needs to be done and keep it at the front for easy checking. Do what is most important, or can easily be done first (keep in mind that some tasks have expiration dates and may need to be done again. Check with your agency).
5. Addresses/phone numbers/emails ~ Keep them All! You never know when you will need who. I suggest having this as page two after your list for easy access.
6. Label. A) Homestudy, B) Agency, C) Dossier papers, D) International papers, E) Receipts F) Travel You may want to do sub catogories for instance homestudy: inside and outside the home. You can always add more files as needed but this is just a guideline.
7. Keep all your receipts, not only will it help get the Adoption Tax Credit, it will also help you keep track of all your spending. There are hidden costs, such as mailing.
8. There are things you need to do as well that don’t involve the adoption paperchase. Doctor’s visits, medications, needles, prescriptions (including eyeglasses), website addresses, credit card company should be informed of your travel plans, stopping newspapers/mail, kennel arrangements, house sitters, contact information for friends and relatives, address or phone number of your country’s embassy so in case of a crisis they can reach you. etc.
9. On a side note The Complete Book of International Adoption has an extensive list of suggestions when traveling, from money belts, anti theft purses (and other ways to protect yourself), tips entertain children on planes and in airports, ways to save money, or even help you be prepared for inconvinces that will most likely happen that you may or might not have thought of. I would list them all here but there is just too many to list.
With all this I am still open to suggestions.