Gathering the documents

There are a number of documents needed in order to complete an international adoption. These documents are referred to as your dossier (pronounced "dos ee ay"). The following are the basic documents that you will need to provide. Once all documents are together, they will need to go through an authentication process. Your agency will be able to provide an exact list of what documents are necessary for the country you choose. In general, the following documents are what you will need.

  1. Home Study . Your social worker will interview you and write out a 5-8 page document, stating who you are, what you do, why she thinks you will make good parents. Your social worker will get this notarized for you. Get 3 copies.
  2. Birth Certificates . You and your spouse (if applicable) must request certified birth certificates from the state capital of your birth. For the nationwide list of where to apply for your certified birth certificate, and cost, click here. Please request 3. It is a safe number, and you will need at least 2. These certified copies are considered officially notarized.
  3. Marriage Certificate. If applicable. Request 3. For a complete listing of Vital Records offices for each state, click here. This official certified Marriage Certificate, is considered notarized.
  4. Financial Statement . This is usually a one page typed list of your financial holdings. This document is completely put together by you. You include your assets, what your bank balances are, etc. You and your spouse sign this in front of a notary. Get 2 or 3 copies.
  5. Employer's Letter. This should be on your employer's letter head. He/She should simply state what your position is, how much you make, how long you have been employed. If you are self-employed your accountant will need to write this up on his stationary. If you don't have an accountant, find one who will do it based on your W-2 form, or income tax return. This must be notarized. Not content, just signature. Get 2 or 3 copies.
  6. Medical Letters . Your social worker doing your home study will want this also, so get 2 copies. You will need to have a basic physical (sometimes it takes awhile to get an appt. for a physical, so make an appt. now). Your doctor will need to to sign a letter on his stationary stating that you are in good health. Sometimes a specific form must be completed by the physician. This form will be provided to you by your agency, and it must be notarized. Get 2 or 3 copies.
  7. Police Reports . You are going to need some sort of statement from the police saying you are not a criminal. Some states require fingerprints, some do not. Your social worker, doing your home study, needs this for your home study, and you need a copy also. These must be notarized. Your social worker will help you with this.
  8. Divorce Decree. 3 copies. From the Bureau of Vital Statistics.  
  9. Approval Notice from INS. You must apply with USCIS(formerly know as the INS) to bring a child into this country that you have adopted. Call 1-800-870-3676 and request form I 600-A . Tell them you need fingerprint cards with the form, 2 sets for each person.  OR, you can easily download the form from the INS website: