1. Many times (at least in our case) some of the dossier documents you need are the same that you might need for your home study (ie: a physical) instead of taking two forms at two separate times, just take the form required for your dossier, our home study agency accepted that one with no problems because usually the dossier medical form is more detailed anyway.
2. get your home study done first! don't worry about your dossier as much in the beginning. As soon as you finish your home study, you can apply with USCIS, and then wait for your fingerprint date. So bust out that home study first and then work on dossier documents while you wait for your fingerprint date and your approval letter to come.
3. Keep every single receipt (you never know what the government will ask for when it's time to file taxes)
4. Keep everything in a binder, as soon as you get a document for your home study or dosser file it in that binder.
5. Keep in constant contact with your social worker and/or case worker and as soon as you get a dossier document scan them a copy so they can check it and make sure it's ok and you don't have to do it again. Some agencies many already do that (AWAA does) but if your agency doesn't, it's a good way to stay on the ball.
6. Try to get your fingerprints done early? I've never done this but know many people who get their fingerprint date with USCIS and then choose to try and go early, and actually everyone I know has gotten in early! We're waiting for our appointment letter now and we just might try to get in there early this time.
7. Read every single detail, some forms might have to be filled out with a specific ink color, check that.
8. Make copies! Even when you're not instructed to. When I get a form done, I always make a copy, just in case.
9. You gotta fight now. Not everyone you're going to work with during the paper chase period will be as speedy as you want them to with forms. They don't understand the urgency you may have or the need to get things done quickly. You have to start fighting for your child now, but give others grace. The paper chase is a great time to start sharing about adoption and you don't want to leave a bad taste for adoption in someones mouth because you choose to yell at them at the window of the doctors office because they don't understand your urgency. ;)
10. Don't let time frames discourage you. Sure every agency gives estimated time lines of when your paper chase should be complete but every family is different and some hold ups you just can't control.
Don't forget to check out our family of the week this week, they're writing everyone's name who donates on a frame for their little guy! Make sure you get your name on there. :)