Bulgaria is a democratic country located in Eastern Europe, with a population of approximately 8 million people.
The children available for adoption from Bulgaria are Caucasian, Gipsy (Roma) or Turkish heritage. Healthy children from Bulgaria are available for international adoption after 12 months of age. Children with special medical needs may be available before one year old.
Bulgaria gives priority to childless couples or childless single women for the adoption of healthy children under the age of 4. Families who have one or two children may also apply and be approved for adoption of a healthy toddler. Families who already have several children may apply to adopt Bulgarian children who are over 4 years old, or children under 4 years old who have a medical special need (for example cleft lip, cleft palate or club foot).
PROCEDURE IN BULGARIA
At least one parent must travel for 4 to 5 days at the beginning of the adoption process to meet the child, and again 6 to 8 months later to bring the child home. In some cases an escort is allowed to bring the child home, therefore not requiring the parents to travel the second time.
Since Bulgaria is a relatively small country, families can be driven to all orphanages (in-country flights are not required).
Immediate referrals are available for families with a completed home study and INS approval. The initial portion of the International fee is submitted, along with an agency application, a Family Presentation and part of their dossier in order to receive a referral. A Family Presentation is a letter from you that tells a little about your family and why you would like to adopt from Bulgaria . This letter has to be not longer than one page. The Family Presentation will be shown to the orphanage director in Bulgaria so that you can receive a referral of a child.
The Family Presentation letter should include:
1. Your names
2. Your ages
3. Place of residence
4. Occupation and income
5. A description of your home
6. Why you want to adopt a child from Bulgaria
7. Your ability to care for the adopted child
The Presentation should also include several photos of yourselves, your home, and your family. The pictures will be attached to your presentation. Photos of the adopted child's room are welcome, if you already have the room furnished.
We prefer to get your letter and pictures by e-mail if possible. If you are not able to scan photos, you can mail us your Family Presentation. Please use plain white paper for the letter, as the darker backgrounds on some stationary does not scan well. Your presentation and photos will be sent by e-mail to Bulgaria .
As soon as we receive the initial orphanage director's approval you can start making travel plans for the first visit. We will inform you about possible dates according to the availability of the staff and Bulgarian officials. Meanwhile, you will need to complete the rest of the dossier.
Once the completed dossier documents are received by us, we review them and assuming that everything is completed correctly, we ship them to Bulgaria . It takes approximately 6 to 8 days for any mail to arrive in Bulgaria .
After the documents arrive in Bulgaria , they are given to a translation agency, which translates, notarizes and authenticates them in the Foreign Ministry. This process takes between two and four weeks. Once the translated documents are received, they are first sent to the orphanage. There is certain technical time that is necessary before they can be filed in the ministries. The dossier is then submitted to the Ministry of Education or to the Ministry of Health depending on the age of the child (if the child is under 3 years the dossier goes to the Ministry of Health, if the child is over 3 years of age, the dossier is submitted to The Ministry of Education). It usually takes about 30 to 45 days to get the positive opinion from the appropriate minister.
When this positive opinion (approval) is received, the dossier needs to be submitted to the Ministry of Justice. The processing at this Minister takes approximately 30 to 45 days. Once the procedure has been approved by the two ministries, the dossier can be filed in the court. It takes about 10 to 15 days to get a date for the court hearing.
After the court hearing, once the case is approved by the court a project of an adoption decree is presented to the court, which the judge reviews and signs. Once the decree is signed there is a legal waiting period of 14 days before the final court order becomes effective. When the decree becomes effective we can take it and submit to the appropriate office for the issuance of the new birth certificate.
The last step of the procedure is the international passport. Since there is a new central database in Bulgaria for the whole population of the country, the information from the new birth certificate is automatically sent to the computers of the police (the Police issues the international passport). We cannot file the documents for the passport before the police have received the information from the birth certificate in their computers. Once we have filed the documents for a passport it takes another 30 days for the passport to be issued. At that point you can start making arrangements for travel. There are certain documents that need to be prepared for the interview at the American Consulate.
All the terms and time frames mentioned above are approximate. There are no fixed terms in the adoption procedure.