Woman with documents sitting on the desk, in officeThere’s no question about it, adoption requires the use of a variety of professionals.  From your home study provider to your attorney, all families need services. Even families going through state adoptions must work with professionals, take classes, and more.  Regardless of the type of adoption you ultimately pursue, be sure that you get everything in writing.
Many families ask, “Everything is digital now, why do I need to get things in writing?”  Here are a few good reasons along with ideas for documents that you always want a hard copy of:
Schedules of fees and costs should always be provided to you in writing.  If someone says “We don’t have a printed schedule,” then ask them to email you the fees and print it out for your records. You don’t want to have unexpected hidden costs tacked on in the future because you never received a clear outline and schedule of how much different services cost.
Similarly, agreements for services should always be detailed, complete, and signed. If you don’t have an idea of what someone is going to do for you, the billable hours may go through the roof!  Families need to know what to expect of the people they hire, and what is expected of them.  Insist on a written agreement and keep it to refer back to it.
Your home study is something that you may need a hard copy of at a variety of junctures in your adoption.  If your provider does not provide a copy to you, ask for one.  If he/she says that they do not routinely make them available to clients, ask what happens if you are out of state for a sudden adoption and need a copy and he/she is on vacation.  Often you will find a copy sent right over.
All classes that are required for your home study should issue a certificate of completion. Keep a copy of this. Too often we have heard of families having to retake classes because a home study provider lost a certificate. Having one on hand will ensure you are safe.
Any forms that you complete, such as home study applications, ICPC documents, legal agreements, and more, be sure to ask for a copy.  Again, these things can get lost in the mail or on someone’s desk.  Ensuring that you have a copy is a way to keep things moving forward after something is inadvertently lost.
Your profile will become a keepsake after your adoption. Ensure that you keep a clean copy so you have it for your child’s baby book.
Keeping copies, even in a digital world, just makes sense in an endeavor as important as building your family.  Cell phones die, WiFi may not be available, and babies are sometimes born in towns with limited access.  Hard copies will always give you a safe and secure back-up.