Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Now that the adoption is finalized...

...you thought the paperwork was done and you could just live life right?!  Well, no.  If you want to do it right, make sure everything is done RIGHT.  Here are some things to consider in the weeks after your child's adoption is final.


Original Birth Certificate
Before you sign on the dotted line, fight to get an ORIGINAL birth certificate for your child.  Not a copy, an official, original unaltered birth certificate.  Once you finalize, the government will issue an amended birth certificate stating your child's adopted name & list the adoptive parents as the birth parents.  We won't delve into the complicated issues this presents, but know that the amended birth certificate will take the place of the original and in some states is inaccessible for life or until the child reaches adulthood.  This can cause problems later on if the child wants to enroll in an native american tribe, get a passport or just have a fuller picture of their story pre-adoption.  {I fought to get Sweetie's and right now it is the ONLY thing in the fireproof safe.  I value it that highly.  I will place the amended next to it when it comes.  Both are parts of who she is - and she deserves to have both.}

Will/Life Insurance/Guardian
If you don't have one, get a will and some life insurance.  This child is now your responsibility and you want them to be taken care well, even if you can't be there.  Also think about who you'd like to raise your child in case of your death and put that in your will.

Social Security
Get new SS # and a new card for your child.  The social security office is sometimes hesitant to give a new #, but if you don't get one it can come back to haunt you later.  If someone else gets a hold of your child's SS#, they can claim them on their taxes, open credit cards in their name and many other things.  And the kicker is that you probably would not become aware of it until your child reaches adulthood and starts to grow their own credit.  Only it is already trashed.  Better to start fresh.  If they refuse to give you a new # you can request a flag be put on their file moving forward and then check to make sure their credit hasn't already been tampered with by writing a letter to the credit bureaus. {Here's how.}  That won't prevent someone from claiming them on their taxes but might help sort out credit problems that might arise.

Medical Insurance
Add child to your medical insurance plan.  Or if they are receiving insurance through medical assistance (part of adoption assistance for some kids), update name and contact information.

Professional Updates
Update child's information with the all professional's the child has worked with, whether or not you plan to work with them again in the future (drs, therapists, dentists, school, etc).  That way, if you do need to see them again, the paperwork will all be current.  Also ask them to remove all other contact persons off the accounts (social workers, birth family, etc) and update all contact information to you alone. 

Establish Citizenship
If you adopted internationally, make sure your child's adoption is final IN THE US and that they are a US Citizen.  Do the work now to make sure they are - so that they don't have to deal with it when they want to go on that first international trip and find they can't get a passport because they aren't officially US citizens, or citizens anywhere.  This happens all the time folks - MAKE sure.  {Read Citizenship Isn't Automatic for more on this.}

Announcements
Now for the fun part, make and send some announcements sharing the joy of this child joining your family.  If you want some adoption specific ideas, check this out.  Once you have it done, be sure to send one off to the White House and Disney World as well, they will send you back an official congrats - which is one extra fun thing for the adoption scrapbook.  {White House Instructions / Disney World Instructions}

Now, that you've done it RIGHT, you can just enjoy your family and be done with paperwork. :)


19 comments :

  1. This is brilliant! How did you know all of this! I totally saved this for later use. Thank you, thank you!

    ALSO- I bawled like a baby when I read that your adoption of Sweetie was complete. I'm so, so happy for you all!

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    1. Thanks Vanessa, some of this I learned from my social worker bit by bit and some by just talking with other adoptive parents. I always just wanted someone to hand me a checklist though which they never did so I thought I'd create one and wallah - here it is.

      Thanks for being excited - we sure are! :)

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  2. This is a great list! My daughter's adoption was finalized in August last year but we just got her new birth certificate in the mail two weeks ago. Earlier this week we got her new SS card with a new number. I'm thankful they didn't give me a hard time - the first lady I talked to said they can only change it if the child is young enough and "we'll see" but the guy who ended up doing the process for us said it was no problem at all. Im thankful because we already had an issue of two different tax payers claiming her as a dependent the first year. Now we can finally make a will, update our life insurance and health insurance and all that. I feel like we're finally THISCLOSE to being done with all the paper trail related to her adoption. (Time to start the next one, right?)

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    1. So, what on my list can you do BEFORE getting the amended birth certificate? Because this list is both a how-to for folks and a to-do for me and we don't have the BC yet. Any tips would be great!

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  3. Thank you for this! It is very helpful and timely for us since we are adopting our two foster daughters in May 2013!

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  4. Thanks for your tips! That’s really how it should be, do everything the right and legal way to not experience any problem in the future. Child adoption is a serious matter that needs to be finalized in a legal way to assure that your child will experience the same privileges and life a legitimate child does.

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  5. I'm so sorry to be posting this almost a year after your original post but noticed this on pinterest and my husband and I are adopting from ethiopia. The only portion of this blog, which is fabulous by the way, that was confusing to me was the original birth certificate portion. I agree complete about the importance of it but I am not sure who I am supposed to fight with for this. Is this something I would ask for in country when the adoption is finalized? I am just not sure I understand who I would bring this up with. Thank you so much.

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    1. That would be a great question for your social worker. I am not sure how Ethiopia does original birth certificates, or if it'll be possible for you to get a copy. Good luck. :)

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  6. Is there any way to get an original birth certificate after finalization? We didn't get one prior and our little one is now 3.

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    1. Check with your county/agency to get a copy (if they have one) or their birth parents - they might have one.

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  7. I was wondering if you still had the instructions for the Disney world? I clicked on the link but only ads came up.

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    1. I will check the link, but there you go - http://attemptingagape.blogspot.com/2013/07/congrats-from-white-house.html

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  8. I know I'm seeing this a couple years after the fact but I was wondering what "complicated issues" you are referring to that make getting the original, unamended birth certificate so important?

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    1. If your child is native, but you (and any other legal parent) are not, they may not be able to enroll in a tribe. And getting a passport can be trick without both - showing original family and adoptive/legal family. Also, just the issue of adoptees not being able to have access to their original information in many states still. This is changing, but I think its important for all people, regardless of adoption status to have their full legal docs (pre & post adoption). Not sure what else I am forgetting, but its a good thing to have. :) Thanks for asking.

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  9. As a parent of 2 boys, internatiomally adopted, your advice is very good. I am amazed your social workers did not give you a list. Our agencies told us about doing almost every thing you recommended. Our boys are young adults, your comments about more layers to normal type issues is very accurate. Both boys are "typical" young adults. They both have medical issues that impact their day to day lives, one has hearing loss, & the other is considering taking meds for his ADHD as an adult. Both have learned manage their health issues. I am not sure more medical from biological parents or the adoption agency would have made a significant difference treating their issues. We belonged to an adoption support group when our boys were young, through about 8 th grade. We made friends, and our boys knew other adopted children.

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  10. How do i find the Disney world info to send them an announcement, the link on here doesnt work :(

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  11. How do i find the Disney world info to send them an announcement, the link on here doesnt work :(

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It'll be a pleasure hearing your thoughts. Alisa