Friday, January 2, 2009

Adoptions terms

I have discovered that when I post, I do a large amount of explaining of terms, and thought it would be a good idea to post definitions to some of the terms most frequently used.

Without further ado...

Home study - the assessment and preparation process a prospective adoptive family undergoes to determine whether they should adopt and what type of child would best fit the family. This is also referred to as preadoptive counseling. The home study is conducted by a social worker, and generally included interviews with the adoptive parent, education and training related to adoption and childcare, and collection of paperwork similar to the dossier.

CIS - United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is a bureau in the United States
Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It performs many of the functions formerly carried out by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service(INS), which was part of the Department of Justice. The stated priorities of the USCIS are to promote national security, to eliminate case backlogs, and to improve customer services.

Dossier – a collection of paperwork about a person. In adoptions, this will include birth certificates, financial/employment information, completed home study, obligations required by the country of adoption. Each country has different requirement, and each dossier is different. Each document in a dossier must be original, notarized and apostilled.

Apostille - legalization of a document for international use under the terms of the 1961
Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents. Documents which have been notarized by a notary public, and certain other documents, and then certified with a conformant apostille are accepted for legal use in all the nations that have signed the Hague Convention. Each document must receive this certification from the state of origin before it is acceptable for international use.

Hague Convention - This is one place to fully read about the Hague Conventions. In short, it’s a set of regulations for international practices. International adoptions are regulated under Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. One of the key components of this regulation is to protect the right of children, and prevent abduction, sale, and human trafficking of children internationally. To say that a country is a “Hague Country” means that the country subscribes to the regulations set forth by the Convention in regards to international adoption and child protection. Not all countries subscribe to the Convention.

I-600A – the formal application to USCIS for the intention to adopt foreign born orphans and make them US citizen. This form is used when the child/children being adopted are unknown, in the case of most international adoptions. A similar form is the
I-800A. This form is used for international adoptions from a Hague Country.

I-171H – the official document from CIS stating the approval of the I-600A, and by proxy, the approval of the adoption of foreign born orphans to become US citizens. This information is also sent to the US Embassy/Consulate of the adoption country. The original letter must be hand carried and presented to officials in country.

Another good reference is There is an encyclopedia of terms for both domestic and international adoption, as well as resources and information for birth mothers and adoptive parents.