What is an adoption dossier?
A major step in the adoption process involves the preparation of an adoption dossier. A dossier is a collection of documents that are necessary to meet the legal requirements for adoption from a foreign country as well as the immigration requirements of the U.S. Government. Your dossier represents your family to the foreign adoption authority. Assembling a dossier can become complicated, time consuming, and expensive. It is highly recommended that Prospective Adoptive Parents (PAPs) submit their documents to our agency and let our professional staff get them authenticated by the appropriate authorities. The process usually moves much more quickly and saves the PAPs the aggravation, delays, and excessive costs that can occur. With our experience and expertise from compiling hundreds of dossiers, we can get the job done correctly and in a very timely manner.
All documents in adoption dossier must be appropriately authenticated before they can be submitted to foreign country. This is the process of which various seals are placed on the documents. The number and type of authentications that a document needs to obtain depends on its nature and the country where you are adopting. Documents used for Hague adoptions need to be apostilled by the appropriate Secretary of State offices. Most documents for the adoption dossier will need 3 steps of authentication:
- Step 1: Notarized by a public notary
- Step 2: Certified by county office (if your State requires)
- Step 3: Apostilled by the Secretary of State (for Hague adoption)
PAPs are responsible for step 1 by completing and having the documents notarized. PAPs will then send the notarized documents to Faith for further processing in steps 2 and 3.
All signatures on adoption forms must be notarized by a certified public notary. The notary statement must include the following information; otherwise it is not valid.
- Exact full name of the notary public as how it is registered on his/her Notary Commission Paper. The name should be printed or typed under the notary’s signature
- Expiration date of notary commission
- State and county of notary’s residence and where they are licensed
- Date notary is signing the document to prove the notary is active on the date signed
- Notary public inked stamp or impressed seal
Here is a sample of notary statement:
Subscribe and Sworn before me this 1st day of January, 2012
Resident of Washington State, Pierce County
Name: John Doe. My commission expires: January 1, 2015
You must use your full legal name (first, middle, and last as how they appear on your passport) on all documents for your adoption dossier. Please DO NOT use any nicknames or shortened versions of your names. Make sure your references, employers, and bank use your full legal name on all documents as they prepare for you.
Dossier Checklist for Each Country
Each country requires a different set of documentation for the adoption dossier. These instructions will help you as the PAPs to prepare your adoption dossier in the best manner and meet the requirements by the foreign adoption authorities. Please carefully follow the instructions and make appropriate adjustments based on your own situation. Contact your adoption caseworker for any questions, concerns, or assistance.