I have a confession to make: I get a little nutty when I am in the midst of an adoption. Once my husband and I have decided to move forward to adopt a child, I want the process to go as quickly as possible. And in the process of adopting six children, I have discovered some things that really help keep the paperwork moving.
1.) Who cares most? First of all, I think it is important to remember that no one cares about your adoption process more than you. No one. No matter how well intentioned people are, YOU care the most and, because of that, it is your job to make sure your adoption paperwork stays on the front burner in people's minds. But how do you do that?
2.) Make the human connection. At each point in the paperwork-gathering, try to make a personal connection with the person who actually needs to sign that paper. I usually call ahead and find out the person's name and which days they work. As often as possible, I go to that person's office myself, in person, prepared to wait until that person becomes available. I know, sending things in the mail seems like a time saver, but in the long run your paperwork will probably get done faster if you show up at each person's office.
If it is impossible for you to travel there, speak directly with the person on the telephone. If you get a machine, leave a detailed message, and call back every other day until you get hold of a human. I've found that sometimes you can get out of answering machine purgatory by dialing zero -- many businesses use this as their default option to reach the switchboard.
3.) Remind people that it's about a child. Always mention your child and how eager you are to get him or her home. Sometimes people forget that this isn't just about a signature on a sheet of paper. When I have a picture of my child, I like to attach a copy of the photo to the top of all paperwork that goes anywhere. I don't do this to be melodramatic, but simply to remind people that there is a little person involved. Smile. Be friendly. When you're talking with someone about necessary paperwork, say, "I really need... Can you help me? Is it possible to have it by __?" Mention a date, even if there's no official deadline, because that encourages people not to just leave it languishing on a desktop. And ALWAYS find out if it is possible to simply wait right there to have the paper signed that very day. People are often very willing to help once they realize that THEIR little bit of paper is essential in moving your adoption forward.
4.) Pay attention to details. Make sure you have all the specifications for each document before you rush to get it. And then make sure every detail is correct. Spell every name correctly. Get the dates right. Make sure signatures are in ink, not photocopied. Also make sure your notary's commission is not about to expire. In the case of an international adoption, the notary's commission should have at least 18 months left to be on the safe side. Pay attention to every detail. Your adoption agency will thank you, and your process will go much more quickly if you do not have to have things redone.