Day 2: Adoption Acronyms & Jargon

There are so many people, acronyms, and terms associated with adoption that those involved in adoption (particularly international!) quickly learn the language of Adoptionese. For example, my husband and I are at the very beginning of our second adoption, so here is what I might say to fellow adoptive mom concerning my current status:

Adoptionese: We wanted to boomerang ASAP and were just cleared by our LL SW. Our HS SW is coming to do our update on 5/22 with Kai’s next post-placement. We’re shooting to be DTC by June, but hoping to be LOI in a couple of weeks because we think we found someone on the SN boards! So, hoping for a quick PA and the dreaded LOA. Lord willing, we’ll have TA and be in GZ before mosquito season!

Regular Joe Translation: After Kai’s adoption, we knew that we wanted to adopt another as soon as possible. We reapplied to Lifeline Children’s Service, our adoption agency, and were just given clearance by our social worker! Now we need to refresh our adoption documents that were used with Kai’s adoption. So, our home study social worker is scheduled to meet with us on 5/22 to update our home inspection, interviews, etc. on the same day that she’ll be doing Kai’s 6 month post-adoption placement visit. We’re hoping that all of our home study updates, references, background clearances, etc. will be ready to send to China by June. But, as all adoptive moms do, I’ve been obsessed with browsing the special needs waiting children boards and we think we found our Lok! We’re hoping to submit our Letter of Intent and corresponding paperwork in a couple of weeks. We’re also hoping for a quick Pre-Approval after our paperwork is sent and hoping that our Letter of Acceptance wait won’t be too long! Lord willing, we’ll have Travel Approval to schedule our flights to China and will be at the US Consulate in Guangzhou before next summer! 

See the difference?! Thank God for acronyms and jargon. Well once you understand it, that is. Since I only have first-hand experience with a Chinese adoption, I’ll clue you in on our jargon. Each country has its own requirements, so terms that we use for China may or may not be used in Korea, etc.  adoptions. But all international adoptions will be much more similar in style to each other then they would be to domestic adoptions. We are, after all, dealing with two countries… and the dreaded Hauge!

Here’s your Adoptionese 101:

AP: Adoptive Parent

CA: Consulate Appointment (your scheduled date and time at the US Consulate where your new little becomes an official US citizen)

CCCWA: The China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption (where all the action happens on the China side of your adoption)

China Mom: A mom adopting from China (yes, we know that we are [usually] not Chinese, but it’s how we refer to each other)

Dossier: a collection of an insanely crazy amount of personal documents, writing, financials, photos, criminal clearances, medical reports, homestudy, etc. This takes forever to finally make ready.

DTC: Dossier to China (your dossier is finally sent to China! This must be done within 6 months of receiving your PA)

Gotcha Day (the day you finally meet your little; also referred to as Forever Family Day)

GZ: Guangzhou (a city in southeastern China which hosts the US Consulate; all families travel here)

Hauge: The Hauge Convention (the reason why international adoption takes so long and is so expensive, courtesy of the UN. Me no likey, you can read about it here:

HS: Homestudy (a collection of documents to prove your family’s trustworthiness and emotional, physical, financial, and psychological readiness to add a new member; this also includes several interviews, trainings, book reports, and an inspection of your home)

LOA: Letter of Acceptance (the magical document that give you confirmation of your match, but it’s much more important that PA. You’re generally in China about 2 months after receiving this document)

LOI: Letter of Intent (the paperwork you send to China once you found your child)

LID: Log in Date (the date that China receives your dossier and logs you into the CCCWA system)

OOT: Out of Translation (hooray, your dossier has been translated from English to Mandarin and can be reviewed by the CCCWA.)

PA: Pre-Approval (China’s approval of your family pursuing your new little)

SF: Special Focus Child (a child with a difficult to place medical special need or an older child)

SN: Special Needs Child (a child with a medical/cognitive special need; almost every China adoptee falls into this category)

SW: Social Worker (often your favorite and least favorite person in the world depending on the day and the news they have to share)

TA: Travel Approval (pack your bags, you’re going to China!)

Whew! Clear as mud, right? Hopefully this was a teeny bit helpful. I’ll be referencing these terms in upcoming posts, but I’ll try to include their snippet definition whenever I use them. There’ll be a quiz in the next post, so I hope you took notes!


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