What is an Adoption Dossier?


A dossier is a detailed file of information. For an adoption dossier, the file includes detailed information about you and your family, and information the country has requested for an international adoption. We often only use the term adoption dossier for international adoptions but some agencies use this term for domestic adoption as well. Whether you are adopting from Samoa or adopting from Bulgaria, you will need an adoption dossier. While an adoption dossier for an adoption in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) may have some similarities to one for an adoption from Nicaragua, they will also have their differences. It is important to know the items that are required in your adoption dossier and your international adoption agency will provide you with country specific dossier requirements.

The following are documents that would typically be in an international adoption dossier:

  • Home Study (completed by a licensed entity in your state of residence and includes information about you/your families background, life, home, health, finances, stability and safety.)
  • Immigration Pre-Approval (U.S. Advanced processing of orphan visa I600A or I800A )
  • Medical reports
  • Financial/employment information
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Birth Certificates
  • Reference letters
  • Adoption Education Certificate

Often each country has several specific foreign forms required for your dossier and your adoption agency will provide those to you. Typically, your dossier will be composed of 8-15 documents. Also, each country may have specifics regarding information that is required in the certain documents (medical reports, reference letters and home studies).

It is possible that if you are adopting a child with special needs, you may have additional documents/requirements.

An international adoption dossier often also needs to be authenticated (apostilled). This is a notary/authentication seal process that is utilized when a document from one country is being submitted to another country for a legal purpose and it proves that the document is real/authentic. Your adoption agency will provide information regarding details for authentication should your country require it.

Your international adoption dossier is an important part of your adoption process, and we recognize that it can be a lot of work for the adoptive parent. But the work is all worth it!

Photo Credit: Frederic Bisson

For more information regarding international adoption click here.

MLJ Adoptions is a Non-Profit, Hague-Accredited adoption service provider located in Indianapolis, Indiana, working in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Isles. We are passionate about serving children in need.