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.



AAAAAmerican Association of Adoption Attorneys
ACAdoption Council/Also NCFA
AEAccrediting Entity – Formerly COA, now IAAME
APAdoptive Parent or Attachment Parenting
ASPAdoption Service Provider
ATCAdoption Tax Credit
BABusiness Agreement (also called SA)
BM/BFBirth Mother/Birth Father
CAPCenter for Adoption Policy
CAFOChristian Alliance for Orphans
CANChild Abuse and Neglect (also see DCBS, DFFS, DFFC etc)
CCAICongressional Coalition Adoption Institute
CDCCenter for Disease Control
COACouncil on Accreditation
COOCountry of Origin
CPSChild Protective Services
CQIContinuous Quality Improvement
CSPClient Services Plan
DCBS, DFS, DFFC, DSS, etcDepartment 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.
DHSDepartment of Homeland Security
DOBDate of Birth
DORDate of Referral
DOSDepartment of State
DOTDate of Travel
ELLEnglish Language Learner
EPExempt Provider
ETCEmpowered to Connect (aligned with TBRI)
FSPForeign Supervised Provider
HSHome Study
HPBHague Permanent Bureau
HTHague Treaty
IAAIntercountry Adoption Act
IAAMEIntercountry Adoption Accreditation And Monitoring Entity
ICPCInterstate Compact Placement on Children (not applicable in most internationals)
ISCIndependent Search Consultants
NBCNational Benefits Center (within USCSIS)
NCFANational Council for Adoption (also known as Adoption Council)
NVCNational Visa Center
PAFProspective Adoptive Father
PAMProspective Adoptive Mother
PAP(s)Prospective Adoptive Parent(s)
PAR/PPRPost Adoption Report or Post Placement Report
PPPrimary Provider
OCAOrphan Care Alliance
OCIOffice of Children’s Issues (in DOS)
SAService Agreement or Save Adoptions
SNSpecial Needs
SOAARStatement of Acceptance and Responsibility
SOSSecretary of State
SPSupervised Provider or Service Plan
SWSocial Worker
TBRITrust-Based Relational Intervention
UAAUniversal Accreditation Act
USCISUS Citizenship and Immigration Services (within DHS)
UTCUnregulated Child Transfer



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



ABCAmended Birth Certificate
BABusiness Agreement (also called SA)
BCBirth Certificate
BFBirth Father
BMBirth Mom
CANChild Abuse and Neglect (also see DCBS, DFFS, DFFC etc)
ChPChild’s Presentation
CPCCrisis Pregnancy Center
CPSChild Protective Services
CTAConsent to Adoption
DOPDate of Placement
EDDEstimated Due Date
EMExpectant Mom
FJAFinal Judgement for Adoption
GALGuardian ad Litem
HIPAAHealth Information Portability and Accountability Act
HRPHigh Risk Placement
ICPCInterstate Compact on the Placement of Children
ICWAIndian Child Welfare Act
LCLegal Custody
L&DLabor and Delivery
LRPLegal Risk Placement
MOB/FOBMother of Baby/Father of Baby
OAOpen Adoption
OIGOffice of Inspector General
OVSOffice of Vital Statistics
OTCOver the counter meds
PADPost Adoption Depression
PAP’sProspective Adoptive Parents
PFRPutative Father Registry
PMProposed Match
PNCPrenatal Care
PNVPrenatal vitamins
PPDPost-Partum Depression
SAService Agreement
SOAARStatement of Acceptance and Responsibility
SVDSpontaneous Vaginal Delivery
TPRTermination of Parental Rights
UBFUnmarried Biological Father



ADAAmericans with Disabilities Act
ADD/ADHDAttention Deficit Disorder/Hyperactivity Disorder
AMAAmerican Medical Association
ASDAutism Spectrum Disorder
ASLAmerican Sign Language
BDBehaviorally disturbed
CAPDCentral Auditory Processing Disorder
CDConduct Disorder
CPCerebral Palsy
DADisordered Attachment
DDDual Diagnosis or Developmental Disability
DSMDiagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
DSDown syndrome
EBDEmotionally/Behaviorally Disturbed
FAEFetal Alcohol Disorder
FASDFetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
HDRHeart Defect Repaired
IDEAIndividuals with Disabilities Education Act
LDLearning Disabilities
OCDObsessive Compulsive Disorder
ODDOppositional Defiant Disorder
OTOccupational Therapist
PLTPlay Therapist
PTPhysical Therapist
RADReactive Attachment Disorder
SEDSeverally Emotionally Disturbed
SIBSelf Injurious Behavior
SLPSpeech Language Pathologist
SNSpecial Needs
SWSocial Worker