Bulgaria is one of the
once-popular adoption programs that is once again
becoming popular with adoptive parents. Mrs.
Tacheva, the new Bulgarian Minister of Justice
appointed in 2007
recognizes and supports international adoption
as a viable option for orphaned children. With
her help, adoptions out of Bulgaria have been
steadily increasing and special-needs children have
been put on a waiting list renewed on a regular
basis. Now prospective families are able to
officially request additional information about
these children prior to financial commitment.
Families that prepare and submit their dossiers
receive full referral including pictures and medical
information prior to travel.
reside in state orphanages, where they receive
comparatively good care and prompt access to medical
treatment when needed. Many older children attend
regular public schools, receiving more exposure to
family life through their friends and classmates.
Their education also tends to be more academic than that
offered in Russian and Ukrainian internats with in-house
schooling. Bulgaria does not require a long
bonding period between adoptive parents and children,
but most orphanages are accommodating to extended daily
visits by adoptive parents during their trip.
Ministry of Justice is the Central Authority in Bulgaria, which is part to
Hague Convention on international adoption. MOJ licenses private
agencies/attorneys to work directly with proper foreign authorities, in our case
with American Hague-accredited agencies. Because of the Convention
regulations, the process is transparent, stable and designed in the best
interests of the children. While MOJ assigns referrals centrally,
adoptions are completed through local adoption authorities and attorneys
represent American families in Bulgarian adoption court. Please see U.S.
Department of State
for more details.
Although our Bulgarian program is new, our partner
attorney in Bulgaria has been handling international
adoptions for years and will represent AAC families with the
same professionalism and joy.
Children from 1 to 16 years old are available for
international adoption. However, healthy infants are usually adopted by
local families. But there are a lot of healthy
children over 3 or 4 years old and special-needs children waiting for their
forever families. It may be possible to adopt a younger child with her
older sibling in a reasonable amount of time. Siblings groups are
available, but it is possible to adopt unrelated children as well. Most kids
are of Roma descent, but there are some Caucasian
children available as well.
While in the U.S., prospective families are
required to prepare an adoption dossier (a set of
documents required for adoption processing by local
authorities abroad). For Bulgaria, dossier
includes USCIS (former INS) permission to adopt
internationally, homestudy prepared by a licensed
agency, and a number of documents
verifying family marital status, income, health
condition, criminal history, etc.
Once the dossier is completed, it is mailed to
Bulgaria. There, it is translated into Bulgarian, authenticated and delivered
to MOJ. After the dossier is processed
and registered, MOJ issues an official referral with
pictures and complete medical information for family's review. About A Child
does not withdraw a referral until the prospective adoptive parent(s) have had
two weeks (unless extenuating circumstances involving
the child's best interests require a more expedited
decision) to consider the needs of the child and their
ability to meet those needs, and to obtain physician
review of medical information and other descriptive
information, including pictures of the child. If a
family accepts the referral, a first family visit to
Bulgaria is arranged. At this point,
a family can no longer "lose" their
referral to another agency or international adoptive family that might be
interested in the same child.
At least one of the parents must travel on the first trip to meet the child(ren) and accept
proposed referral. Upon arriving to Sofia, parent(s) will travel to the orphanage to meet referred child(ren)
and visit him/her/them for 5 days, at which point a family decides whether to proceed with adoption or not. If a family decides to
proceed, parent(s) can return home, while the attorney prepares the documents to be
filed in court.
The court is held two to four months after parents'
visit, depending on the final adoption clearance
received from the U.S. State Department. Parents
don't have to be present at court, our partner attorney
will be representing them. After the court one of
the parents (or both) can travel to pick up the child
and complete immigrant visa processing at the U.S.
Embassy in Sofia.
In U.S., parents are asked to register their child
with the Bulgarian Embassy within three months of
arrival. After that, parents are asked to submit
four bi-annual reports about their child's well-being,
done by a licensed agency.
Adoptions from Bulgaria may take anywhere from
6 months to 3 years depending on the child(ren)
requested. Older or special-needs children may
be referred right away, while the wait for an infant
may be over two years long. Typically, it
takes 3-5 months for dossier preparation, but
unexpected circumstances and USCIS
delays might extend the wait time. Once the
dossier is mailed to Bulgaria, it usually takes one to
two months to be registered as prospective adoptive
parents and be placed in the waiting queue.
An average waiting time for a healthy referral 3 to
6 years old is currently estimated to be 12-18
Bulgarian adoption program is on average more
affordable than those of other former Soviet Republics. Most of all, it
affords a convenience of a planned one-week stay (for one of the parents) for
families with one parent on a tight work schedule.