There is a high percentage of orphans in Bulgaria. It is becoming an increasingly popular option for people from all over the world to adopt a Bulgarian child.
The children living in Orphanages across Bulgaria are generally cared for well and given as much love and attention as possible. Often they are living in basic or poor conditions as the orphanages are small and can house up to 75 children.
Children who have been left for more than 6 months in the Orphanage can be adopted without the agreements of their birth parents.
In Bulgaria the age of children available to adopt varies vastly from as young as 12 months, up to 14-16 years, however the greatest number of children that are waiting for a family and home are older, within the age range of 6-14 years old, or are Children who have special needs.
Most of the children are of Roma descent and have Olive skin tones and dark brown hair and eyes. All the children are screened for HIV, Hepatitis B and venereal disease. Medical reports are provided for all children and often a video is available, especially if the child has special needs.
Bulgarian adoption processes are usually faster than other countries, making this appealing to families wanting to adopt a child. The length of the process does depend on the family and will be different every time. Usually many families can get a home study and dossier (which is basically a person´s record/detailed information about them) ready in 2-3 months, sometimes faster.
Before beginning the adoption process, it is advised that you first choose an agency. The agency can then schedule and arrange the home study visits. Once a home study visit is complete, you can submit the USCIS paperwork (1-800A) and gather paperwork for the foreign dossier.
Required documents for adoption in Bulgaria are:
Application (personal information, short family history, financial situation)
Documents certifying that the adoptive parent has not been deprived of custody rights
Approval by the USCIS (I-171H)
Once the dossier is completed, it can then be submitted to Bulgaria and once the government has all of your paperwork, finalisation of the adoption varies from anything from 6-30 months, which whenever between this period is the finishing point, you can travel to Bulgaria to pick up your child. Two trips to Bulgaria should be accounted for and planned for, the first trip at the beginning of the process is a must, and a second trip will be when you go to pick up your child, however there is also the option of having an Escort bring your child home.
It is possible to adopt more than one child at one time, non-related or siblings are also available to adopt in many orphanages.
The limitations for adoptive parents are quite flexible. Bulgaria allows married couples, and single females aged 25-55 years to adopt, as long as one parents is at least 15 years older then the child in question.
Preference in some agencies is referring healthy young children to 2 parent families who already have 2 or less children. However the number of children already in your family, under new legislation, does not affect your chances/the process.
There are no specific Bulgarian residency requirements in order to complete an international adoption in Bulgaria. Potential adoptive parents though are expected to spend 5 days with their adoptive child before the orphanage will release the child.
Looking at the official statistics of the State Agency for Child Protection, up to 2002 the total number of adopted children from specialized homes and orphanages was 1622. The number of children adopted in Bulgaria was 710 and out of all the children in the homes and orphanages adopted in Bulgaria, there were 41 children with known disease, this representing 5.7% of the adoptions. Statistics from this agency also show that adoption preferences are for children up to 3 years old, and clinically healthy. In Bulgaria, approximately 3.2% of the children adopted have a diagnosed disease.
Regarding fees, your national embassy in Bulgaria should be contacted for all the current laws and Bulgarian fees for adoption, as they are always subject to change. Here is a rough guide to fees based on 2006 stats:
Application fee at the MOJ: 100.00 Euro
Court fee: 750.00 Euro
Transcript of the Court Decree: 25.00 Euro
Passport fee for child under 14: 7.00 Euro
Passport fee for child over 14: 14.00 Euro
Birth Certificate fee: 3.00 Euro
The maximum rate of the mediation fee, approved by the Ministry of Justice, is 10.000 Euro. This fee includes expenses for state, court and notary fees, expenses for written and oral translations, legalization of documents and technical realization of the procedure. It also covers expenses for the Adoptive parents stay in the country whilst getting to know the child, and when taking the child home. The fee also includes the fees for the specialists working upon your case, and the fee of the lawyer hired for legal cases and post adoption control. The payment is made over 4 installments. Also fees will vary depending on the Agency used.
Here is a list of some Adoption agencies for Bulgaria, and some contact information for Embassy’s: