Glossary of Adoption Terms

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A state-level legalization process, for documents to be used in countries that are part of the Hague Convention of 1961. (Please note: Although families adopting from Latvia or Ukraine need to have documents apostilled, China and Haiti are NOT part of this Convention and families adopting from either China or Haiti should have their documents certified instead!)

The is a letter issued by the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou notifying the CCCWA that adoptive parents are eligible to adopt their child and that the child can enter and permanently reside in the U.S.A.

To have a document legalized at the federal or national level; namely, by the US Department of State or Embassy/Consulate. (The last of three basic sealing steps most often used during the dossier process.)

China Center for Children’s Welfare & Adoption (CCCWA), the ultimate Chinese authority for international adoption affairs.

A permanent document used to prove citizenship has been issued in the United States. This document is issued automatically for all final Hague adoptions and most non-Hague adoptions.

To have a document legalized at the county or state level; namely, by the County Clerk or Secretary of State. (The second of three basic sealing steps most often used during the dossier process.)

The visa application for your child(ren) to enter the U.S.A.

A collection of documents, including your home study, that represents you as an adoptive family to the CCCWA.

If you are not currently in process with CCAI, this electronic form is necessary in order to submit a Medical Conditions Checklist.

Formally known as The Hague Adoption Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption, this is a set of internationally agreed-upon standards of practice to safeguard inter-country adoptions. All China adoptions are considered “Convention adoptions” and are subject to Hague regulations, including, for example, a required 10 hours of parent training.

(Please note: There are MANY different Hague Conventions and this Convention is different than the Hague Convention of 1961, which expresses how documents can be sealed for various countries. See the definition for “apostille” for more information.)

Part of your adoption dossier, this is a document composed by your social worker reporting on various aspects of your family’s life.

Not to be confused with one another, these are two separate sets of immigration documents. The I-800A is submitted to US Immigration during your dossier compilation in order to obtain US Immigration approval for your family to adopt a foreign-born child. The I-800 is child-specific and is submitted AFTER you have been matched AND your dossier has been logged in, at the time you receive your acceptance letter (LOA).

Formally titled “Letter Seeking Confirmation from Adopter,” this is a document generated by the China Center for Children’s Welfare & Adoption (CCCWA) within a few months after you have accepted a child AND your dossier has been logged in. It is first generated electronically, which CCAI will email to you, and then in official hard-copy form, which CCAI will ship to you for your signature(s). This document represents your formal acceptance of your child match and is necessary to file immigration paperwork that paves the way for US citizenship.

This is a short letter composed by your family at the time you accept a specific child, communicating to the CCCWA your desire/intent to adopt that particular child.

A designation applied to a Waiting Child’s file by the CCCWA, indicating the requirement that the child be matched ONLY to a family with a dossier logged in (LID) with the CCCWA. This is generally applied to younger Waiting Children and/or those with minor to moderate medical needs.

The date your dossier is “logged into” or “checked into” the CCCWA’s computer systems.

A password-protected electronic document your family submits to CCAI to communicate your openness in terms of a child’s age, gender, and medical needs.

To have a document legalized by a valid Notary. (The first of three basic sealing steps most often used during the dossier process.)

Only for families who do not yet have a dossier logged in, this is the CCCWA’s acknowledgement of the receipt of the Letter of Intent and agreement to process the family’s adoption paperwork, once the dossier arrives. It is NOT a formal approval.

The process of notarizing, certifying, and authenticating a document (most often used during the dossier process).

A designation applied to a Waiting Child’s file by the CCCWA, indicating that the child may be matched to a family at any stage of the adoption process, even those already matched with another child. This is generally applied to Waiting Children with more significant medical needs.

The CCCWA’s formal invitation for the adoptive family to travel to China to complete the adoption.

United States Citizenship & Immigration Services, responsible for approving families to adopt children internationally.