August 25th, 2007
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Categories: Glossaries

When starting out in the world of adoption, there are many words and terms that can seem absolutely alien to Prospective Adoptive Parents (PAPs.) I remember cracking open Adoption for Dummies for the first time and being so grateful to have some of those confusing words defined for me. Here are some words/terms that you will come across as you read more about adopting from Viet Nam. If there are any others that you’re not sure about, let me know ( or comment below) and I’ll find out for you.

Dong – Vietnamese currency that is mainly in the form of bills, though you can find some coins floating around in the marketplace. One US dollar (today) is worth approximately 16,000 dong. Click here for a currency converter.


Dossier – All of your adoption paperwork that will be sent to Viet Nam is called a dossier. It is essentially a big ol’ stack of papers that are necessary to begin and complete your adoption.

Giving and Receiving Ceremony – Also known as the G&R, this ceremony is where a child is legally adopted in the eyes of the Vietnamese government. Often times orphanage directors and caregivers attend this ceremony to “give” their child to their new parent(s) who “receive” them.

IAD – Department of International Adoption in Viet Nam. Although this government body is supposed to have ultimate power over all Vietnamese adoptions, the local provincial governments all run somewhat differently and according to their own standards.

Licensed Agencies – by Vietnamese law, only adoption agencies who have been licensed by the country of Viet Nam are permitted to engage in intercountry adoptions. Please do not work with non licensed adoption agencies and see my post here for further information about agency “umbrella-ing.”

Referral – When you receive information, pictures and a medical history of a child that has been matched with you, it is called getting your referral. Upon acceptance of a referral, your adoption will proceed and you’ll begin the agonizing wait for a travel date.

More Reading:


Adoption 101 – Terminology
Common Terms Used in the Adoption Community

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