We’re off and running, right?

Here we are, filling out forms, taking numbers, kicking apps. Here are some things I’d advise that everybody else probably already figured out about applying to adopt a human being from somewhere in the greater United States area.

1. Get ready with a small office space stocked with the latest computers, printer and mailing supplies. Perhaps rent something modest with an inspiring view and a built-in childcare professional for the kids you will ignore while you fill out page 3 of form S.

If this is not possible or you are trying to go green and don’t want to support some nanny who might forget to recycle the kids juice boxes, at least get yourself an accordion file. Everyone feels smarter holding one of those things. And you’ll absolutely need a label-maker. One of those spinny round-topped ones with a squeeze mechanism for marking each letter will entertain your two other kids for at least half of an address and part of a social security number. An added bonus: Once you’ve labeled their shirt, glasses, sippy cup and each appendage you’ll have a handy reminder of their names. Believe me, when you reach that golden hour of paperwork where your last brain cell packs up and vacates the premises you’ll be grateful you don’t have to keep saying, “Hey, kid wearing blue shirt, please stop drawing robots on your certified original birth certificate.”

2. Make copies BEFORE you start filling out the forms. Because, duh, not like I already screwed up in the line for our names or anything.

3. Prepare to involve lots of other people in your inconvenience. Just get over it and assume they are darn near glowing with the honor of this duty. You’ll need people you actually know to swear they think you’re great parents, fantastic Christians, practically magical. You’ll meet new doctors and insurance officials you never knew existed. Even the postal workers can thank you for singlehandedly supporting your neck of the woods, just as soon as they recover from the last time you had to stand in line for thirty minutes with a three year old tornado who is going to be the perfect big brother (on paper anyway).

4. Prepare to write an autobiography that is sincere without sounding too braggy, too glamourous, too goofy, too suburban, too desperate, too open, too closed, too manipulative. And, GO!

5. Get a bunch of pictures of your current family ready. These should follow the general propriety guidelines as listed above and should additionally show the children always smiling but natural, the parents fit and friendly but natural, the friends numerous and close but natural. In summation: Look Awesome!, but natural.

Have fun with it! It can be a time of deep bonding and fodder for lengthy future therapy for all. Take notes, but keep it natural. Don’t be intimidated by the depth and breadth of our knowledge and experience. Soon you’ll be using Wite-Out like it’s 1999, too!


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