The ABC’s and 123’s of International and Domestic Adoption

Entering the exciting world of international or domestic adoption, one quickly realizes that there are acronyms for virtually everything. It is impossible to follow along or anticipate the next steps in the journey when you have no clue what the acronyms mean. This is to serve as a quick guide, and we hope to eventually do a more in-depth explanation of how things work together, as well as other adoption related terms. Please do let us know things we have left off and we will consider revising to be more useful. We have included several different aspects of adoption terminology – some entries may be duplicated as they can apply to both international and domestic. Some entries applicable to both may be only listed in one place. This is not an exhaustive list.

Please note, this is not legal advice, nor is it guaranteed to be accurate or updated. Do not rely on this information in any decision making. Consult with your ASP (Adoption Services Provider) and/or your attorney, click for more information here.



AAAA American Association of Adoption Attorneys
AC Adoption Council/Also NCFA
AE Accrediting Entity – Formerly COA, now IAAME
AP Adoptive Parent or Attachment Parenting
ASP Adoption Service Provider
ATC Adoption Tax Credit
BA Business Agreement (also called SA)
BM/BF Birth Mother/Birth Father
CAP Center for Adoption Policy
CAFO Christian Alliance for Orphans
CAN Child Abuse and Neglect (also see DCBS, DFFS, DFFC etc)
CCAI Congressional Coalition Adoption Institute
CDC Center for Disease Control
COA Council on Accreditation
COO Country of Origin
CPS Child Protective Services
CQI Continuous Quality Improvement
CSP Client Services Plan
DCBS, DFS, DFFC, DSS, etc Department for Community Based Services, Department for Family Services, etc.  – State based offices often involved in requesting child abuse checks and anytime a child’s safety is in question.
DHS Department of Homeland Security
DOB Date of Birth
DOR Date of Referral
DOS Department of State
DOT Date of Travel
ELL English Language Learner
EP Exempt Provider
ETC Empowered to Connect (aligned with TBRI)
FSP Foreign Supervised Provider
HS Home Study
HPB Hague Permanent Bureau
HT Hague Treaty
IAA Intercountry Adoption Act
IAAME Intercountry Adoption Accreditation And Monitoring Entity
ICPC Interstate Compact Placement on Children (not applicable in most internationals)
ISC Independent Search Consultants
NBC National Benefits Center (within USCSIS)
NCFA National Council for Adoption (also known as Adoption Council)
NVC National Visa Center
PAF Prospective Adoptive Father
PAM Prospective Adoptive Mother
PAP(s) Prospective Adoptive Parent(s)
PAR/PPR Post Adoption Report or Post Placement Report
PP Primary Provider
OCA Orphan Care Alliance
OCI Office of Children’s Issues (in DOS)
SA Service Agreement or Save Adoptions
SN Special Needs
SOAAR Statement of Acceptance and Responsibility
SOS Secretary of State
SP Supervised Provider or Service Plan
SW Social Worker
TBRI Trust-Based Relational Intervention
UAA Universal Accreditation Act
USCIS US Citizenship and Immigration Services (within DHS)
UTC Unregulated Child Transfer



I-600A Advanced processing for a non-Hague orphan case (family specific)
I-800A Advanced Processing for a Hague case (family specific)
I-797 Notice of Action (Approval of forms I-800A or I-600A)
I-171H Notice of Approval for Form I-600A (most often a I-797)
I-600 Child specific petition to classify non-Hague orphan as an immediate relative
I-800 Child specific petition to classify Hague convention child as an immediate relative
I-824 Request for further action on a previously approved petition
I-864 Affidavit of Support
I-864(w) Request for Exemption for intending immigrant’s affidavit of support
G-884 Request for Return of Original Documents
DS-260 Application for Immigrant visa and alien registration
DS-1981 Request for vaccination exemption for children under 10
N-600 & N-600K Applications for Citizenship
N-565 Application for Replacement of Citizenship Documentation



ABC Amended Birth Certificate
BA Business Agreement (also called SA)
BC Birth Certificate
BF Birth Father
BM Birth Mom
CAN Child Abuse and Neglect (also see DCBS, DFFS, DFFC etc)
ChP Child’s Presentation
CPC Crisis Pregnancy Center
CPS Child Protective Services
CTA Consent to Adoption
DOP Date of Placement
EDD Estimated Due Date
EM Expectant Mom
FJA Final Judgement for Adoption
GAL Guardian ad Litem
HIPAA Health Information Portability and Accountability Act
HRP High Risk Placement
ICPC Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children
ICWA Indian Child Welfare Act
LC Legal Custody
L&D Labor and Delivery
LRP Legal Risk Placement
MOB/FOB Mother of Baby/Father of Baby
OA Open Adoption
OIG Office of Inspector General
OVS Office of Vital Statistics
OTC Over the counter meds
PAD Post Adoption Depression
PAP’s Prospective Adoptive Parents
PFR Putative Father Registry
PM Proposed Match
PNC Prenatal Care
PNV Prenatal vitamins
PPD Post-Partum Depression
SA Service Agreement
SOAAR Statement of Acceptance and Responsibility
SVD Spontaneous Vaginal Delivery
TPR Termination of Parental Rights
UBF Unmarried Biological Father



ADA Americans with Disabilities Act
ADD/ADHD Attention Deficit Disorder/Hyperactivity Disorder
AMA American Medical Association
ASD Autism Spectrum Disorder
ASL American Sign Language
BD Behaviorally disturbed
BP Bi-polar
CAPD Central Auditory Processing Disorder
CD Conduct Disorder
CP Cerebral Palsy
DA Disordered Attachment
DD Dual Diagnosis or Developmental Disability
DSM Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
DS Down syndrome
EBD Emotionally/Behaviorally Disturbed
FAE Fetal Alcohol Disorder
FASD Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
HDR Heart Defect Repaired
IDEA Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
LD Learning Disabilities
OCD Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
ODD Oppositional Defiant Disorder
OT Occupational Therapist
PLT Play Therapist
PT Physical Therapist
RAD Reactive Attachment Disorder
SED Severally Emotionally Disturbed
SIB Self Injurious Behavior
SLP Speech Language Pathologist
SN Special Needs
SW Social Worker
TH Therapist