Basic Steps and Timeline of the Adoption Process

The following highlights the major steps and timeframe of the adoption process. Due to the nature of international adoption, this timeframe can change during your adoption process, but CCAI is committed to keeping you informed of the current timeframe as you work toward your adopted child.


CCAI Application for Adoption and Medical Conditions Checklist – 5 Business Days

Your application allows CCAI to screen your qualifications for a China adoption based on the requirements of various government entities that will be involved in your adoption – US government, Chinese government, etc. If a family submits a complete and truthful application and is approved by CCAI, we are committed to serving you through all the stages of a China adoption. Your Medical Conditions Checklist (MCC) is required along with your application to help CCAI understand what age, gender, and medical conditions your family will consider, and to determine if your expectations are reasonable in light of the children available in the China program.

Compilation of Dossier Materials – Approximately 5-6 Months

Once your adoption application has been approved and your signed Service and Fee Agreements have been returned to CCAI with your 1st agency fee, you will be invited to download your Adoption Dossier Guide and Home Study Guide, after which you may begin your home study and your adoption dossier. Your dossier is a collection of documents that reports on various aspects of your life and represents you as adoptive parents to the CCCWA, the Chinese government agency responsible for all international adoptions in China. CCAI will support you in compiling your paperwork with our copyrighted Adoption Dossier Guide and with our knowledgeable Dossier Team.

You will generate and compile many of the dossier documents on your own, but your dossier cannot be complete without your home study and approval from the USCIS (United States Citizenship & Immigration Services). The timeline for compiling your dossier varies, due to such factors as child abuse clearances, how diligent you are when preparing your documents, and the USCIS timelines for approval of your I-800A (the immigration application for a Hague adoption).

For those families who desire extra help to complete their dossier, CCAI does offer the option of a Dossier Compilation Service for an additional fee. Please contact our Dossier Compilation Coordinator at or 303-850-9998 for more information.

CCAI Dossier Review and Mail to China – 8-10 Business Days

Once you submit your completed dossier to CCAI, our Dossier and Translation Departments will critically review your documents, bind your dossier, mount the pictures, complete a summary translation, and write an agency recommendation in Chinese. We will then send it to CCAI’s China office via international express mail. Our Beijing representatives will hand-deliver your dossier to the CCCWA.

Child Match and Acceptance Letter – Timeline Varies

This is the most variable aspect of your adoption timeline, as your child match wait time will depend entirely on the age, gender, and medical conditions your family is open to AND the children made available for adoption. Most families wait between 6-36 months between submitting a Medical Conditions Checklist (MCC) and receiving a potential child referral in the Waiting Child Program. However, this timeline will vary tremendously based on a family’s openness to age, gender, and medical needs. In general, families who will consider a child of either gender, a wide age range, and a broad variety and severity of medical conditions will have a shorter wait, perhaps even just a few weeks following home study completion, and those families who desire to adopt a younger child with less complex medical conditions will most likely wait longer, possibly beyond 3+ years.

When you are presented with a potential child match, CCAI will immediately forward to you the child’s photos and all available information, including a translated physical examination, State of Growth form, development report, and immunization record, etc. CCAI is happy to request additional/updated information, but we cannot guarantee the availability of such information. We strongly encourage you to share this information with a medical professional as you consider your decision.

Once you have accepted a Waiting Child (“locked in” by submitting a Letter of Intent) AND your dossier has been logged in with the CCCWA, you will receive your acceptance letter (LOA or, formally, Letter Seeking Confirmation from Adopter) from the CCCWA within 1-2 months.

I-800 Submission

When your official LOA arrives at CCAI, we will scan and e-mail a copy for you to sign and e-mail back to CCAI, and we will overnight your I-800 documents to the USCIS office in Texas. From that point, your travel timeline begins! CCAI will also need the original copy of your official LOA signed and returned to us, although this can be completed after your I-800 documents are sent to the USCIS office.

Travel – 9-12 Weeks after receipt of LOA/I-800 Submission

After you sign and return your official LOA to CCAI, we will express mail it to the CCCWA and wait for your Travel Approval. CCAI will provide you with adoption travel information and as well as arrange your travel, accommodations, and adoption finalization in China. At this time our estimate for your travel is approximately 9-12 weeks after submitting your child match related documents to Immigration. Your China trip will last approximately 14-17 days.

Post Adoption Services and Adoption Validation

After you return to the United States, CCAI will provide post adoption services and support to assist you with your adoption transition. Six post adoption reports and sets of photos (at 6 months, 12 months, 2 years, 3 years, 4 years and 5 years following placement) must be completed to satisfy the current CCCWA requirements. CCAI will provide you with necessary information concerning how to validate your finalized adoption or complete a re-adoption through your local court in CO, FL, GA, WY, KY, and TX, and general information for families in residing in other states, enabling your adopted Chinese child to receive a US birth certificate from your state and obtain her/his Social Security card. CCAI will also provide you with an adoption cost letter for use in collecting your adoption tax credit, if applicable.