Tuesday Topic: Home Study/ Dossier Hints

This week’s Tuesday Topic is:

What helpful hints do you have for families who are preparing their Home Study and/or Dossier?

As with last week, I will hold your comments until next Tuesday (10-27-09) and post them all at once. It is much more fun that way! I look forward to reading your good advice. Let’s help one another through this often complicated process.

~Lisa

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

13 Comments

  1. this is us
    October 20, 2009

    I remember this so clearly! During our first adoption, I was running to Office Depot ALL the time to make photocopies and the day we decided to start our second adoption, I bought a printer/copier/scanner for $79 – the first money we spent on that adoption. I was so thrilled to be able to handle that part of the paperwork right at home!

    Reply
  2. this is us
    October 20, 2009

    Oh – one more! If you have to make a copy or order a copy of something (birth certificates, drivers licenses, tax returns, etc.), go ahead and make/order and extra 2 or 3 copies at the same time. It's so nice to get a request for something and have an extra there already in your file (we found this handy especially for grant applications, etc.).

    Reply
  3. ACK
    October 20, 2009

    I like to read your blog. I hope that you can read mine. I have learned alot from your blog. I never knew waht a dossier was until today. I have decided that i might home school my kids when we have kids. Me and my Husband just celebrate our 8th Year.

    Reply
  4. triplehmoms
    October 21, 2009

    If you don't have a check list, create one! Most documents need to be notarized, certified/apostilled, and then authenticated. Make a check off column for each step of these steps for each document. This will help you to be able to see some progress!
    Look over the documents needed for both your homestudy and your dossier, if possible. There are somethings that you could get at the same time, like doctor/health letters, without having to go back again.
    I realize that my scope is limited as I have only adopted from Guatemala which isn't open right now but I've done 3 adoptions!
    karen

    Reply
  5. Mark and Sarah
    October 21, 2009

    I think getting organized is key. For our first adoption, we weren't very organized and used post-it flags with the names of each document, but it felt chaotic. This time, I created two binders–one for our homestudy documents and the other for our dossier documents. Each binder had a checklist of documents needed in the front, with a checklist for where we were in the process for each document(request made, received). Each binder had a slew of pocket dividers that held each document separately. I can't tell you how helpful this system was in keeping everything straight.

    Reply
  6. Vicki
    October 21, 2009

    I am waiting for my caseworker to come to my house right now to do my homestudy. This is my second homestudy. I am trying to adopt an older child through the US foster care system. My first agency was more foster care than adoptive placement. My new agency is a small Christian agency that primarily does adoption. Regardless of where you adopt, I think keeping copies of everything is extremely important. It took me 4 months from start to finish for my first homestudy and that was working at a crazy pace. My second homestudy has only taken me two weeks from start to finish. My former agency wouldn't give up any part of my homestudy, so I had to start over. The only thing I didn't have to re-do are the the classes because I kept proof at attendance.

    I think to move quickly with a homestudy you need an agency that does not mind frequent calls. My first agency didn't care for phone calls. My current agency is just as excited as I am to move this along quickly and welcomes the calls. I talk to the director as often as my caseworker and they will talk to me for an hour if I want… Small agencies have their benefits.

    Reply
  7. thecurryseven
    October 21, 2009

    Binders! Binders with clear plastic sleeve protectors, to be exact. I went through my list of required documents and made a plastic sleeve (labelled) for each one. In the front I made a check list of each document, so I could see at a glance what I had and what I needed and also which documents still needed work…certifications and what not. The minute I received a document, it went straight into the binder. That way I knew where everything was and what I still needed to do. It was the thing that saved my sanity. I did the same thing for collecting our sons' visa application documents as well.

    Reply
  8. Ann
    October 21, 2009

    Buy lots of computer paper, ink cartridges and manila envelopes. Find out where and how to mail things FED EX. Find a bank offering free notary service. Find a traveling notary service. Get several copies of everything–marriage, birth cert. etc.–read the dossier instructions over, and over, and over again! Keep an accordian folder with each dossier document in a labeled slot.

    One last suggestion, when it all seems overwhelming, set the kitchen timer and work on it for just 30 minutes. Anyone can do anything for 30 minutes.

    And of course, think about your child. Waiting even one extra day might mean a delay of several weeks/months if there are changes in process. If we had waited even one extra week to mail our dossier our son would have waited an extra three months because of immigration paperwork changes.

    Reply
  9. Ajay
    October 21, 2009

    Buy a copier/scanner/fax machine combo! Just when you think you're done making copies and sending faxes…get ready to make some more! Also, be prepared to become good friends with your local notary! =0)

    Reply
  10. Nancy
    October 21, 2009

    A 3-ring-binder with lots of those clear plastic page protectors, divided into sections. Every document was photocopied with 3-4 extras and then the original slipped on top with a post-it that said "original" so I didn't inadvertently give it away at the wrong time. Then each doc had it's own page protector that kept everything neat and easily identifiable and no need to 3 hole punch precious documents. It also had lists of contact information with email and phone numbers… I was able to find a soft-covered 3-ring that was easy to tuck in our carry on luggage or my backpack when we traveled to adopt. That binder went everywhere with me, on any adoption related errand for almost 2 years! And I was amazed at the amount of times that I needed something in it when I didn't think I would. It was a life and time saver.

    Reply
  11. Michelle
    October 21, 2009

    Try not to get overwhelmed by the big picture. Just take it step by step and you'll get it done.

    Oh..and read everything you can about notaries in your state. One wrong statement/signature and you'll have to start over with that document!

    Reply
  12. Sean's Ladies
    October 21, 2009

    Depending on the country…if you are doing a private or independent adoption- hire the professional translator. it may cost a bit more but they are used to dossiers. They know the technical language, formats, etc. and can usually turn around the docs in a couple of days. We lost months w/ well intentioned bilingual people. HTH

    Reply
  13. Andrea H.
    October 23, 2009

    Yes, thinking of homeschooling all the time and I am sure I will be knocking at your door as soon as I stop working. I loved the scanned photo. So cute.

    Reply

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