Expat Tips & FAQs

Tips for Being Organized During this Process

  1. Seek detailed consultation from the Small World experts on expat adoption.  Complimentary consultations are available by contacting info@smallworldadoption.com.
  2. Keep these instructions in a notebook with a labeled divider for each one.
  3. Get a file box and start a file for each process to keep documents separate. Some of the documents will be used for several processes. Be sure to place these copies in each of these files.
  4. If you have difficulty organizing, please let us know. It is our desire to make this process as easy as is possible. I know that it can sometimes be difficult but not at all impossible! Talk to the many other families who have their child home.
  5. If you are having a difficult time with the instructions or see corrections that need to be made in the instructions, etc. please let us know. It helps us to help future families.


  • E-mail is often the best method to reach us  and your immediate Small World contact, your assigned social worker
  • We are also available for phone calls from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm M-Th and 9:00 am to 12:00pm Central time. After those hours, please feel free to call or leave a message and we will get back to you ASAP.
  • We always try to return the contact within 24 hours. If we do not, please resend your e-mail or call us again we also Skype.  My Skype ID is jim.Savley

If you would like to schedule a meeting to go over the paperwork or any part of the process, please let us know. We are very excited to be able to help you on your adoption journey.

Tips for Preparing Your Documents

  1. Start a File for Your Adoption – Keep everything organized and filed! You may want to set up separate files for CIS, Homestudy, and Dossier. Keep your instructions in a notebook where you can readily get to them.
  2. Use the Same Name and Address on all Documents – If you use your maiden name, you must use it all the way through this process. Use the same form of your address on all documents.
  3. Make Copies of All of Your Documents – Make a photo copy of all documents that will go to the country where you are adopting.  Your primary provider will send all originals to the foreign country. You will want a photo copy to keep for your file at home.
  4. Please Read All Instruction Very Carefully – Make sure that you check your documents to fill in all the necessary blanks.
  5. Please Call or Email Us if You Need Any Help – There is absolutely no question that you can not ask!
  6. Remember the End Goal! – There are times that you may feel frustrated and/or confused. Remember that this paperwork will enable you to bring home YOUR child!
  7. Use This Time to Strengthen Your Relationship with Your Husband, Wife and Friends – Dream and pray together about your child and your trip to bring him/her home.

Expat FAQs

What is a Dossier?

(A fancy French word for a group of documents)

Your dossier is a set of documents that go to your child’s country of origin. For example a China dossier is made up of 16 documents, pictures, and copies. Each document is certified and authenticated before being sent to the CCCWA except for the photographs and passport copies. Your primary provider will supply you specific directions concerning your dossier.

Our online database will be your best friend and many documents you can simply upload to your account in the database.  You can also see where your Small World worker has reviewed and approved your documents in your account.

Items that you will prepare as a part of the homestudy process include:

  1. Birth Certificates – one certified copy for each parent
  2. Marital Status Certificate – one certified copy
  3. Certificates of Profession – one original for each parent
  4. Certificate of Income and Property (Financial Statement) – one document
  5. Health Examination Certificates – one original document for each parent
  6. Certificate of Criminal or No-criminal Record – one original document for each parent
  7. Homestudy – one original copy

Items in addition likely to be required for your dossier:

  1. Application Letter – one original document
  2. Immigration Approval – one original document
  3. Passport Copies – photocopy of each parent’s passport
  4. Passport Photos – two passport photos (2×2) of each parent
  5. Family Life Photos – 6 family photos

You will compile your dossier documents according to the instructions given you. Documents originating from any country or territory other than the 50 United States require special handling. Please notify your Small World Worker immediately and speak to your program director about handling of these documents.

I have a “sensitive” job and location can I still adopt?

Most likely yes! We have worked with many families in this situation. Please email or call us and we can talk to you more about the process from this perspective.

As an expat, will I have to return to the US at any point during the adoption process?

Only at the end of your adoption will you need to enter the US to make your child a US citizen. Documents from the US needed for the home study can be ordered online or with the help of someone in the US. Talk to us too- we can help!

As an expat, will I have to fly over a social worker from the US to complete my homestudy?

Depends on where in the world you live. Small World has social workers living outside the US on every continent except Antarctica. So the cost of bringing one of them to you may be cheaper than flying a social worker from the US. We also throughout the year have US employees traveling to other countries that could visit you. If this is the case then you will be responsible for a portion of their transportation costs.