A-Z Glossary

Many adoption, foster care and child welfare vocabulary are subject to interpretation. This glossary identifies commonly held definitions for terminology that can be found in the field. It defines common acronyms and provides comprehensive definitions for a broad range of terms. The glossary will be updated as new terminology emerges in the field and as new legislation is enacted.

There are 33 names in this directory beginning with the letter I.
I-171H Letter
A form letter from the BCIS stating that they have processed and approved the adoptive parents’ Application to Advance Process Orphan Approval (I-600A or I-800A form) and that the National Visa Center has cabled the US Embassy abroad as indicated on your I-600A/I-800A. Approvals are primarily determined based on favorable FBI fingerprint clearances and home study content.
I-600 Form
"Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative": This form is required for all international adoptions. It is utilized by the US Embassy/BCIS when adoptive parents are in country/going through the exit process/interview after your completed court hearing. The form is very similar to the advanced processing form (I-600A) form most people initially submit; with the exception that it is blue in color and states adoptive parents have now identified a child. This form is used by the BCIS to determine whether the child the prospective parent(s) wants to adopt, meets the BCIS definition of an "orphan." If an I-600A was not previously filed, the prospective parent(s) will also be required to submit the documentation that would normally have been submitted with the I-600A.
I-600A Form
"Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition": For most people, this is the initial BCIS application submitted to their regional office/sub-office. The I-600A can speed up the adoption process in the US by allowing the BCIS to begin the part of the immigration approval regarding an adoptive parents ability to provide a proper home environment and their suitability as a parent. The adoptive parents do not need to have a completed Home Study or have identified a child or country in order to submit the I600A - the Home Study can be sent separately when completed, as well as information regarding which country’s embassy to cable the approval to once the I600A is complete. Adoptive parents will be required to submit photocopies of birth, marriage (current) and divorce decrees, plus the BCIS fee. The specific requirements are outlined on the form. Fingerprinting starts the FBI background checks required by the BCIS for all adults in your household.
I-800 Form
The purpose of this form is to determine the child’s eligibility for classification as a Convention adoptee. The petition is filed by the U.S. Citizen Prospective Adoptive Parent (PAP) to finalize the immigration process of a child who habitually resides in a Hague Convention Country. The petitioner must have an approved, valid Form I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country (Article 16), in order to file the Form I-800. This form is filed with the NBC
I-800A Form
The purpose of this form is to adjudicate the eligibility and suitability of the applicant(s) to adopt a child who habitually resides in a Hague Adoption Convention country. A prospective adoptive applicant should file Form I-800A with the NBC office, but may not do so until a Hague Accredited agency, acting as their Primary Provider, has approved, signed off on and released the home study.
I-864 Form
an "Affidavit of Support" in an international adoption
IAA - Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000
IAA is the acronym for the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000, the Public Law that provides for the implementation of the Hague Adoption Convention
Acronym for Interstate Compact for Placement of Children, which monitors the movement of foster and adoptive children from state to state. The compact allows children for adoption to cross state lines.
Identified or Agency Assisted Adoptions
Agency adoptions in which contact between birth and adoptive parents occurs prior to agency involvement. In that sense, the adoption situation has already been ’identified’ and the agency ’assists’ with the placement. According to state statutes, the agency may temporarily assume guardianship of the child (this would be required in Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, and Minnesota), or where permitted, the guardianship may be passed directly from the birth family or legal guardian to the adoptive family. Also known as Designated Adoption.
Identifying Information
Information about members of the adoption triad such as full names and addresses.
Acronym for Individualized Educational Plan is a written plan for educational support services and outcomes developed for students enrolled in special education programs.
IH-3 and IH-4 Visas
These visas are similar to the respective function of the IR-3 and IR-4 Visa noted above. However, the “IH” is a classification of immediate relative under section 201(b) to a child who has been adopted in a foreign state, or a child who is emigrating from a foreign state to be adopted in t he United States, when the foreign state is a party to the Convention
Immigrant Visa
See Visa
Immigration and Naturalization Service
See Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration.
Incest is defined as sexual intercourse between close blood relatives. It is a crime in all states, even if consensual by both parties. It is often also co-existent with sexual abuse since usually the younger person is a victim of the predatory sexual activities of an older relative. If a pregnancy occurs due to an incestuous relationship a miscarriage is possible as well as the birth of a child with mental or physical disabilities due to the joining of recessive family genes carrying such weaknesses.
Independent Adoption
An adoption arranged privately by a non-agency third party (i.e., lawyer) or between the birth family and adoptive parents.
Independent Living
A type of placement that provides life-skills training to youth to assist them to acquire the skills they will need to live independently as adults. The program is designed for children who are "aging out" of foster care and for whom there is no other permanency plan
Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)
Federal Act designed to protect the interest of Native American children and tribes. The Indian Child Welfare Act is a federal law passed in 1978 that protects the rights of Native American children, families, and tribes. In accordance with this act, when placing a Native American child for adoption, preference must be given to an extended family member, a member of the tribe, or an adoptive family of Native American heritage. The tribe has the right to make decisions regarding a child’s placement, which may include placing a child with non-Native Americans if there is no other resource.
Indirect Adoption
When an agency through its collaborative relationships helps identify a child placement for one of their adoptive parent clients. The birth parent surrenders the child to the other agency or attorney not the adoptive parent’s agency.
Individualized Educational Plan (IEP)
A plan for educational support services and outcomes developed for students enrolled in special education programs.
Experiencing problems conceiving or carrying a pregnancy to term.
INS has changed its name to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, now a bureau under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
The placement of children in hospitals, institutions or orphanages. Placement in institutions during early critical developmental periods and for lengthy periods is often associated with developmental delays due to environmental deprivation, poor staff-child ratios or lack of early stimulation.
The process where the caseworker or intake specialist receives information on the prospective clients and shares information on the agency and the adoption process.
Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000
Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (IAA) is the Public Law that provides for the implementation of the Hague Adoption Convention.
Intermediaries and Facilitators
An individual or group, which assists in adoptive placements but are not licensed adoption agencies. Activities by intermediaries and facilitators are prohibited in many states.
International Adoption
The adoption of a child born outside of the United States
International Facilitators and Intermediaries
In contrast to domestic adoptions, where these terms are used synonymously, these terms take on different meanings in the field of intercountry adoptions. Facilitators are individuals or groups working in the United States who assist in arranging intercountry adoptions. State authorities do not license facilitators, but they often make their services available to licensed agencies. Intermediaries are individuals or groups working in overseas nations who assist in arranging intercountry adoptions. They are frequently attorneys.
Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance (ICAMA)
An agreement between member States that governs the interstate delivery of and payment for medical services and adoption assistance payments/subsidies for adopted children with special needs. The agreements are established by the laws of the states, which are parties to the compact.
Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC)
An agreement regulating the placement of children across state lines. All 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands have independently adopted the ICPC as statutory law in their respective jurisdictions. The Interstate Compact for Placement of Children monitors the movement of foster and adoptive children from state to state. The compact allows children for adoption to cross state lines.
Involuntary Termination of Rights
A situation where children have been removed from their birth parent(s) by the courts and parental rights were terminated due to abuse or neglect
IR-3 Visa
The child was adopted overseas and (1) the adoptive parent (if single parent) or both parents (if married couple) saw/observed the child prior to the adoption and (2) the foreign adoption grants both adoptive parents and child the same rights, responsibilities, & privileges as would an adoption in the US. Children issued IR/HR-3 immigrant visas do not require re-adoption in the US under federal laws.
IR-4 Visa
The child is coming to the United States for adoption. An IR/HR-4 is issued to a child when (1) the foreign country’s laws only permit the adoptive parents to obtain guardianship of the child rather than to fully adopt the child in that country and/or (2) the prospective adoptive parent(s) did not see/observe the child prior to the foreign adoption. Children issued IR/HR-4 immigrant visas must be adopted or readopted after they enter the US. See also Re-Adopt.)

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