Thursday, February 12, 2015

Adoption Acronyms, Terms, and Process

I thought I would do a post to explain some of the acronyms, terms and processes related to adoption.  Hope this helps you understand our journey a little more.

HS - Home Study - A process that includes a series of visits by a social worker, education, and supporting documentation.  A Home Study report is put together following the completion of this process.

USCIS - U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is a department within Homeland Security that is responsible for approving families to adopt a child internationally.

I-800A - Application to USCIS to adopt internationally.  After the home study, the I-800A application is sent to USCIS.  After a biometric fingerprinting appointment, USCIS approves the application.  The approval is called the I-797.

Dossier - (Pronounced "doss-ee-ay") - A collection of documents that is submitted to a foreign country requesting permission to adopt.  The documents include the home study, I-797 approval, certified birth certificates and marriage certificates, income documentation, and more.  These documents have to be authenticated at the county level, state level, and the Chinese consulate level before they can be sent to China.

DTC - Dossier to China - This is the date that the dossier is sent to China.

LID - Logged In Date - This is the date that the dossier is logged into China.  Once logged in, if the adopted parents have not matched with child prior to LID, they are now eligible to be matched with LID-only children.

LOI - Letter of Intent - Letter requesting permission from China to adopt a specific child.  Some people submit LOI at the beginning of the adoption process.  Others are not matched with a child until after LID.

PA - Pre-Approval - Initial approval from China allowing a specific family to adopt a specific child.  PA comes before LOA (see below).

CCCWA - The Chinese Center for Children's Welfare and Adoption - This is the department within China that oversees the adoption process in China.

LOA - Letter of Approval/Acceptance - This is also known as the Letter Seeking Confirmation or LSC.  This is the official approval from China that an adoptive family can adopt the child they have matched.

I-800 - (not to be confused with I-800A above) Application to USCIS to adopt a specific child internationally.

Article 5 - Final approval from the U.S. to adopt.

TA - Travel Approval - Approval to travel to China to adopt.

Gotcha Day or Family Day - The day that an family receives custody of their child in China.

CA - Consulate Appointment - U.S. Consulate Appointment in China. This is the final appointment in China prior to traveling to the U.S.  The child's Visa is issued during this appointment.

Guangzhou, China (pronounced "Gong-jo" I believe) - A city in China where the U.S. Consulate is located.  All families travel first to their child's province to receive their child.  A few days after receiving the child, the passport is issued.  Once the passport is issued, the family travels to their consulate city.  All Americans adopting in China travel to Guangzhou, China for their last week of travel.

I am sure there are more terms and processes that I will learn or remember throughout this process, but I hope this overview will help you follow our journey better (or at least understand what we're talking about if you ask us about the adoption!).  

Someone (Mandy Rae) on one of the Facebook adoption groups created this chart to explain who does what in the adoption process.  For us the Home Study Agency and the Adoption Agency are the same (Lifeline Children's Services).  Some people chose an agency that is not licensed in their state so their home study has to go through a home study agency that is licensed in their state.  Some agencies take care of the dossier authentication process for you and others require you to do it yourself.  Lifeline does it for us.  The dossier authentication process is not really shown on here, but the completed dossier has to be authenticated before it can be sent to China.  #3 on the chart below shows "Send Dossier and Homestudy" to agency.  For us, we sent the dossier documents and they have our home study since they did ours.  Then, they do our authentication for us before sending everything to China (DTC).  But others adopting with other agencies would gather their dossier documents, have it authenticated themselves and then send it all to the agency.

 Let me know if I did not explain anything clearly or if you have questions!  I am happy to explain this whole crazy process to anyone!

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