Written by Lianna Mills, International Coordinator

The world of adoption has a vocabulary all on its own – below are several common terms you’ll encounter during your adoption journey:

  •  Placing Agency – Agency that is responsible for facilitating the international adoption from another country; also referred to as the “primary provider.”
  •  Home Study Agency – Agency that writes the home study and is responsible for approving family to adopt; may be the same agency completing placement. Must be Hague accredited and licensed in the family’s state of residence.
  • Home Study – Assessment of adoptive family that includes details about their family, background, motivations for adoption, parameters of the child they hope to adopt, and recommendation by the agency about family’s suitability to adopt; may also be called a “pre-placement assessment.”
  • Dossier – Packet of documents about the adoptive family that will be submitted to the central adoption authority in China (CCCWA) to allow them to match the family with a child.
  • USCIS – United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, AKA Immigration. US Authority that approves a family to adopt internationally and then bring that child to the US to become a US citizen.
  • In-Country Representatives– Legal representatives who serve as the primary point of contact for all foreign governmental bodies and orphanages, and help facilitate the international side of the adoption process.
  • CCCWA – China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption; China’s central adoption authority
  • Shared List* – This is the master list of all Chinese children who are waiting to be adopted. Agency representatives are the only individuals who have access to this information.
  • LID* – Logged-In Dossier; Term used for when a family’s physical dossier is received by CCCWA
  • LOI* – Letter of Intent: this is a family’s written request to adopt a specific child.
  • LOA* – Letter of Action; This document is issued once a family has been approved by CCCWA to adopt a specific child.

*These terms are China-specific