Whether you are adopting a step-child, relative, adult or foster child, it can be an exciting and stressful time for your family. There is so much preparation and emotion that encompasses this kind of life change. After you have made the decision it can be overwhelming thinking about everything that needs to be done to make the process and transition go smoothly. Here are some steps to make the process easier for you:
Complete your Home Study – Most adoptions will require a home study. This process usually takes three to six months and is a written document from a licensed social worker to describe your family dynamics.
Communicate with Your Family – Make sure your whole family understands the change that is taking place and how it will affect them. Spend some time talking through the transition so everyone is on the same page and feeling good about the new season of life.
Prepare the Room – By decorating and preparing the room of the person who will be adopted, your whole family can participate. It can help them feel welcome and apart of the family right away. If you are adopting a younger child remove anything that could be harmful or dangerous.
Contact Your Insurance – Starting from the day your child is placed in your care they will need to be covered under your health insurance. Make sure you find out what information and documents your insurance company needs from you prior to the adoption. Be sure to check with the company for any exemptions of insurance for pre-existing conditions your child might have. Consider Medicaid if you child has special needs because they may be eligible for an adoption subsidy.
Update your Will – Make sure to make changes to your will and if needed change beneficiaries on your life insurance policies. Work with Andrews & Arbenz to make sure your paperwork is in order as you make this transition.
Secure Original Birth Certificate – It is important to obtain a copy of the original birth certificate of the child your adopting before the adoption goes through because it could be difficult to get that documentation after the adoption is finalized. After the adoption the child’s birth certificate will be changed to reflect the adoption.
Get a new Social Security Card – Most likely your child will already have a social security number and you may be able to change just the name and keep the same number by using the new birth certificate. Regardless, in order for your child to be claimed as your dependent they will need identification with their new name on it.
Take Care of Yourself – Remember to take care of your own needs. Advocate for yourself and your child. Joining an adoptive parents’ support group can help you feel supported and build your network fo peers who are experiencing the same transitions you are. You may also want to set up therapy, counseling, or tutoring based on your child’s needs to make the transition easier for you and them.
Regardless of your situation, reason, or type of adoption, know that you are not alone and there are plenty of resources available to you. Please contact Andrews & Arbenz for your adoption needs for relative, step-child, adult and foster care adoptions. We are an Tacoma attorney firm that knows how to help you through this special and exciting time for your family. Let us use our experience to help you navigate your adoption and make a process that could be overwhelming go as smoothly as possible.