How Does MLJ Support Me During the Dossier Process?


The paperwork required during the adoption process can be overwhelming. There are applications, surveys, letters and endless forms to complete. First, families must complete a home study, and gather and fill out the numerous documents that go with it. When the home study is finished, it is time to compile the dossier, a collection of legal documents that are authenticated and translated so they can be sent to the country a family is adopting from. This dossier will provide all the important information about the adoptive parents so the Central Authority, who matches children with families, can learn important information about your family.

Almost all the dossier documents require notarization, and most times anything that has been notarized is also required to be authenticated or apostilled before sending it to the country. Each state has different requirements for the apostille/authentication process. Some Secretary of State offices charge for this service, while others are free. The program team at MLJ can help with each step of the process and walk you through each document that needs to be gathered for the dossier.

When MLJ adoptive families are ready to begin the dossier phase of their process, they will receive a guidebook that outlines each document and the specific requirements for submitting it. Some families send us their questions via email, while others prefer a phone call to go over the dossier documents. The program team is here to help you in any way that we can.

Each country has different requirements for the dossier, but the most common documents that make up a dossier are:

  • Home study
  • Copies of passports
  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • Medical letters
  • Criminal history checks
  • USCIS approval letter (the letter from our government that approves you to adopt from your chosen country)
  • Power of Attorney form
  • Employment verification letter, or other proof of income
  • Mental health letter or psychological evaluation
  • Adoption education certificate
  • Real estate deed or copy of lease

Once the country-specific dossier documents have been with the proper notarization and apostille/authentication, families mail them to the program team for review and translation. After translations are complete, the program team will send the dossier to the MLJ attorney in-country so that it can be submitted to the Central Adoption Authority and be officially registered. The family is then placed on a waiting list to be matched with a child(ren). This is when the country knows about the family and can begin considering the family for a referral of a child.

Gathering the never-ending requirements of documents can seem like an overwhelming task, but just remember to take this stage of your adoption process one step at a time, and talk to your program team if help is needed! Once completed, you are one step closer to bringing your adopted child home!

Photo Credit: Moppet65535

Jen Gavin is the Associate Program Director for Africa and the Pacific Isles. Jen graduated from Anderson University, with a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership. She sees working in adoption services as a calling, which she became acutely aware of through a personal passion assessment at her church.