What is a Dossier?

What is a Dossier?

We’ve been following along with Evan and Ashley as they navigate the adoption journey. They decided to start writing about their process when they realized they received lots of the same questions. We’ll be hearing more from Evan and Ashley over the next few months, as they answer the frequently asked questions they encounter. Today, Ashley writes about the dossier, the overwhelming and all-important documentation every adoptive family knows so well.


We get many questions as we go through this adoption process, and right now the most commonly asked question is, “What is a dossier?”

In simple terms, the dossier is a collection of documents that we need to gather and send to China so that we can finally be in line to get a referral for a child. That doesn’t sound too terrible, right? Wrong! I am a little funny in the fact that I really enjoyed the home study paperwork. However, the dossier is a completely different beast. We have paperwork that needs to be notarized, and then state sealed, other items that just need to be notarized, and yet other items to be collected and thrown in the pile. It would be far less daunting if we weren’t born in Indiana & South Korea, married in Colorado, living in Ohio, and then Evan’s letter of employment coming from Tennessee. We have so many different states that we need to get items from, send them back to get them authenticated, and then get them back home again! So far nothing has been lost by the post office, which is awesome!

We are learning many lessons in this process, the biggest (for me) being patience. Another lesson is that planning ahead for the dossier is a bad idea. Everything has to be dated and certified within 6 months of reaching China. I’m not sure why. If my birth certificate is certified in 1980 and I was born in 1980, it seems like it’s just as official and trustworthy as that same document certified in 2017! So, back in September, I grabbed new birth certificates for each of us only to read the dossier packet and find out they are too old! Oops.

I also learned that you can actually find traveling notaries! Who knew!? We need papers notarized as our doctors sign them. Evan’s doctor has a notary on site, but mine does not. So, I googled it and found a person who was actually willing to come meet me at my doctor’s office for just $25. I should look into becoming a notary so I can help people when they have things pop up like this!

Something you would think would be easy is getting Evan’s letter of employment, but in a big company it is much more difficult than you could ever imagine. Evan and his boss started the process in February, and by mid-march I tried to jump in and take over because it was taking longer than I would like. I learned yet another lesson. I really just need to sit back, be patient, and trust my amazing husband to take care of it. I can get too emotional and easily hurt and frustrated when I feel like someone is being unreasonable and ridiculous and Evan is such a great balance to that. What would I do without him?

When I first started reading the packet and realized all the crazy stuff we had to do, and everything that had to be done within a certain time frame or we’d have to start over, I got very stressed and might have even shed a few tears. After taking a deep breath, jumping in, and just taking it a step at a time, I realized it’s not as bad as it seems. Yes, there is a LOT of red tape, so many hoops to jump through, but it is all worth it. I just keep thinking about why we are doing this. In order for us to be adopted into God’s family, Christ died on the cross, shed his blood, and defeated death! I think we can handle a little stress in order to show a picture of the gospel and complete this journey of adoption.

Give to the Dlugosz Adoption Story

Written By
Ashley Dlugosz

Hopeful adoptive mom Ashley lives in Ohio along with her husband Evan. She loves the outdoors, being active, reading, crafts, traveling, football, family, hiking, and kids. You can learn all about Ashley’s adoption journey here!