So, y'all, there are a LOAD of documents you need. My dossier checklist is kind of depressing because you need triplicates of everything, so there are a lot of unchecked boxes (30). Yes, thirty documents I still need.
There are a couple of things you can do, psh, right now if you want. Ordering some birth certificates is a good idea. Whether you need them for your dossier or not, you'll need one for your homestudy, one for your I-600A, and one (or two to be safe) for when you travel. Something you should know about newly-issued birth certificates: you cannot copy them. As in, you can't fully read the print because it says," VOID" alllllll over it. So there's that.
To get your birth certificate in Texas, simply go to Vital Statistics. As of this date, copies are $22 each. Yes, documents add up.
Marriage licenses in Texas can be obtained at your local county seat. In Brazos county, they're around $20 (look, I didn't keep a receipt or anything). I think documents are a total racket because, at least here, they just print out a scanned copy, press the little indent into it and sign. It's like 3 minutes' work for 20 bucks. Laa-aaaame.
You will need (at least for a dossier to Uganda) a criminal background check. Check with your homestudy agency if they can give you a copy of the one they had to do for you during that process. If they can't, the FBI does them in a fairly streamlined fashion. You will have to submit a set of fingerprints, even though you're going to be fingerprinted for your I-600A. Yes, that's stupid; it's the government.
If you need a child abuse clearance, those are super easy in Texas (and freeee! I wish we needed ours because it was free!). I did a bit of internet digging, so email me if you want the form, since I'm not positive I can easily link to how I got the info.
For your homestudy, you'll need a verification of your employment by your employer. I'd suggest to go ahead and get them so sign and notarize a few copies at the beginning so you don't have to ask them to do it again during dossier prep.
You'll need a lot more documents (copies of your passport photo pages, for example), but those don't require steps. I already told you about the big pain it was to get doctors' letters and such. If you're adopting from a country that's a leetle more uptight about things like health, they may require some kind-of-outrageous things (chest x-rays, anyone?), and having a psych eval done is somewhat standard (and expensive) procedure. Check around to see if anyone who does psych testing is an adoptive or foster parent. They'll make your life a little easier (email me if you're in CS; I know a great guy). But I don't know much about that aspect.