Adoption Lingo: What Is a Dossier?

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Sometimes the adoption process is referred to as a "paperwork pregnancy".  It is definitely a labor of love and involves many, many documents.  The culmination of this work is when you submit your dossier.

A dossier (dos-ee-ay) is a collection of documents that report on various aspects of your life and represents you as adoptive parents to the country’s  government. Dossiers are comprised of country-specific documents, and vary in their requirements country to country.

Typically, a dossier is made up of:

  • Your homestudy
  • Medical reports on the prospective adoptive parents
  • Petition to adopt
  • Background checks
  • USCIS immigration approval
  • Other country specific documents

For more info on Homestudies, check out our blog Adoption Lingo: What Is a Homestudy?

Many documents require a notarized signature as well as a verification of the notary called an apostille which is done through the Secretary of State office in your state. 

The dossier, on average, takes 4 – 6 months to complete. Once your dossier is completed,  it is authenticated and sent to the country for translation and submission to the country’s Central Adoption Authority.

An example of a dossier

A special thank you to CCAI for their assistance with this information! 

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Traci Mai


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