Preparing to adopt a child can be a wonderful, fulfilling, and hectic time all at once. With so many details to consider—from paperwork to preparing the home to getting ready to introduce a child to loved ones—here are some things to have in order when adopting.

Finalize and keep track of the paperwork

At times, it might seem like the paperwork is endless. Adoptive parents might have registration forms, applications, and surrogacy or family court-related forms (depending on the type of adoption). “Getting paperwork in order, filed, and organized can help smooth any issues out now and in the long run,” said Willis Cooley, financial advisor with Northwestern Mutual in Dallas. “Consider having back-up blank forms on hand as well as copies of everything just in case something goes missing.”

Communicate openly about emotions, thoughts, and feelings

It’s one thing to ready the paperwork, but another to prepare emotionally for an upcoming adoption. For single parents, checking in with their support system (including friends, family, therapists, and counselors) can be a useful step to processing emotions, thoughts, and feelings. For couples or co-parents, communicating openly with each other and their support systems can prepare them for this wonderful change.

Prepare the home

Getting a home ready before the child arrives can help with the transition; it can also be another way for new parents to prepare emotionally. Depending on the age of the child, think about safety checks (including electrical cords, outlets, sharp edges, and things that they could trip or fall on) as well as ensuring their bedroom or nursery is ready. Consider whether any home upgrades or repairs are needed, and complete them before the child arrives.

Consider life insurance

Gaining a new dependent is also a time think about life insurance. “Evaluating and adjusting life insurance coverage can help guarantee that the child’s needs will be taken care of both now and in the future,” Cooley said. “Plenty of adoptive parents getting life insurance for the first time choose term life insurance. Term life, which offers coverage for a set number of years, can offer financial protection until their child becomes an independent adult.”

Schedule those first doctors’ appointments

While doctors’ appointments are essential for parents adopting an infant, those first few weeks can also be a good time to make sure an older child is up-to-date on medical care and introduce them to their new physicians. Consider making appointments with the primary care doctor as well as any specialists.

Get ready to meet family and friends

Meeting family and friends can be an exciting step for everyone involved. Figure out the logistics—whether new parents are inviting guests over, making the rounds at others’ homes, or having a big party. Once that’s settled, prepare to celebrate and welcome family, friends, and loved ones into the new child’s life!

Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company (NM) and its subsidiaries in Milwaukee, WI.

Source: Northwestern Mutual