How to Manage the Adoption “Paper Chase”

I’ve heard a lot about the dreaded “Paper Chase,” the part of the adoption process where prospective adoptive parents need to gather original copies of their marriage license, birth certificates, doctors’ physicals, proofs of employment, background checks…The list goes on and on.

Going into this process I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy to manage all of the paperwork and forms. I had to find a way to keep track of and keep together all the required documents necessary for the adoption of our child.

It kind of felt like I was in middle school all over again, attacking a social science project. I went to my local store and purchased a nice, fun 2-inch binder as well as a pack of clear plastic binder sleeves that keep documents from getting damaged, but allow me to easily read or remove them if I need to. I then made a list of all the documents MLJ required for the dossier and a list of all the documents our social worker required for the home study. I combined and annotated the list when some documents were needed for both lists. I put my checklist at the front of my binder. I divided the binder in half. The front half held the home study documents and the back half held our dossier documents. As I received each document, I slid both copies into one sleeve and marked it off on my checklist. As my binder filled up and my checklist shrank. Once the home study was complete, we added that to the binder as well.

Our binder holds all the documents and our computer is housing all the pictures our country requires. It’s a wonderful feeling to see a full binder and know we are just waiting for our I-171h approval letter and our binder will be complete. We have a nice digital folder of family, house, hospitals, parks and playgrounds. When the time comes to send our dossier to MLJ, we’ll print out all those photos to send along with our binder.

This method may not work for you, but it has worked beautifully for us. Our method may give you some ideas for successfully handling all of the required paperwork for your adoption. I highly suggest finding some way to keep everything organized. It makes life and the adoption process that much easier.

MLJ Adoptions is a Non-Profit, Hague-Accredited adoption service provider located in Indianapolis, Indiana, working in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Isles. We are passionate about serving children in need.