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Bulgarian Adoption Program Overview

About Bulgaria

Bulgaria is a small country in Eastern Europe. It is a pretty, mountainous country inhabited by friendly, helpful people. It is also a nation of contrasts, a merger of the East and the West. Bulgaria has been a democratic republic since 1989, a change that took place with the fall of communism. A new, progressive generation has now emerged and is advancing Bulgaria on many fronts. For example, several years ago, Bulgaria closed its international adoption program, enabling the government to institute a child welfare system that is more protective of its children. The new system is compliant with the Hague Convention, and the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) is committed to finding families for the children in their orphanages.

The quality of care provided in Bulgarian orphanages and foster homes can range from adequate to outstanding. The children in the program have typically received good medical care. Many even receive supplemental services, such as physical and occupational therapy.

Traditional vs. Waiting Children Adoptions

Although children of all ages and physical conditions are available for Traditional Adoption, the Bulgarian government’s first priority is to place older children, children with special needs, and sibling groups – often known as Waiting Children. These adoptions are typically expedited, ensuring that they will receive the attention they need as soon as possible.

Demographics

Below are some of the typical characteristics of Bulgarian children in need of a forever home.

  • Over the age of 2
  • Boy or girl
  • Often of Roma descent, but we receive a variety of referrals
  • May have a wide range of special needs
  • Has been on the Ministry of Justice’s national child registry for at least 6 months and has been declined by three Bulgarian adoptive families

Eligibility Requirements for Adoptive Parents

  • There must be at least 15 years’ difference between the age of the adoptive parents and the child.
  • There should be no more than a 45-year age difference between the parents and the child (exceptions can be made for children with special needs).
  • Both parents must be in good physical and emotional health.
  • You must be either a married couple or single woman.
  • You must clear a criminal history and child abuse background check.
  • If married, at least one parent must be a U.S. citizen and currently live in the United States

Matching the Child and Family

Traditional Adoption

When pursuing a traditional adoption, Upbring and New Beginning Association will work together to register your dossier (a collection of documents required by Bulgaria) with the Ministry of Justice (MOJ).  One of the dossier documents is the home study, which is a report that is an assessment of prospective adoptive parents and their ability to parent an orphaned child.  You will collaborate with your social worker to identify characteristics of a child that would best fit your family, such as age and medical conditions. When the Ministry identifies a child who appears to be a good match for your family, a ‘referral’ will be issued, which is the term used for matching. You will then have time to consult with international adoption specialists, family and friends before deciding to either proceed  or decline the referral. If you decide to proceed with the referral, you will travel to Bulgaria to meet the child and make a final decision.

Waiting Children Adoption

If you are interested in adopting a Waiting Child, you will review the individual profiles we receive, translate and post monthly.  After reviewing these profiles, you can contact us should you like to learn more about a particular child.  We recommend that you take time to consult with international adoption specialists, family and friends before making your decision.  If you do choose to pursue this adoption, Upbring staff will work with you to gather preliminary dossier documents that are submitted to the MOJ.  Upon approval from the MOJ, you will be given 6 months to gather the remainder of your dossier documents, submit them to the Ministry and prepare to travel to meet the child before making a final decision.

Timeline to Adopt a Bulgarian Child

Currently, it takes approximately four years, from the beginning of the process until the end, to complete a Traditional adoption. That time frame can be shortened to about one year if you adopt a Waiting Child.

Upbring Bulgaria Adoption Program Costs

Texas Family

Traditional Adoption – $25,300

Waiting Child Adoption – $20,340

Out-of-State Family

Traditional Adoption – $21,100

Waiting Child Adoption – $16,980

In addition, you will pay governmental and miscellaneous fees of approximately $2,000, travel costs, in-country lodging and meals, for an estimated total of $7,500 for two trips. The quoted fees are for Texas families only; fees will vary for out-of-state clients.

Next Steps