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Our Bulgaria Program

Upbring has partnered as a primary provider with the New Beginning Association, an NGO (non-governmental organization) accredited by the Bulgarian government to provide international adoption services to adoptive families.

The Children

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, possibly even receiving physical and occupational therapy.

Demographics of the typical Bulgarian child needing 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 have been declined by three Bulgarian adoptive families

Although children of all ages and physical conditions are available for 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.

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 is committed to finding families for the children in their orphanages.

Eligibility Requirements

  • 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

When pursuing the adoption of a healthy child, Upbring and New Beginning Association will work together to register your dossier (a collection of documents required by Bulgaria) with the Ministry of Justice. When the Ministry identifies a child who appears to be a good match for your family, a referral will be issued. You will then have time to consult with international adoption specialists, family and friends before making a decision to either proceed with the process 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.

If you are interested in adopting a Waiting Child, we receive, translate and post profiles of children that are eligible for adoption on a monthly basis.  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 a decision to proceed with the process.  If you do choose to pursue this adoption, Uprbing 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 make preparations to travel to meet the child before you will make 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 adopt a healthy child. That time frame can be shortened to about one year if you adopt a Waiting Child.

The Bulgaria Adoption Process

International adoption can be an exciting process. When you partner with Upbring, we will help you through every step of the process. While each adoption is unique, this is a general outline of what you can expect from the process.

  1. You will complete the application materials and return them to Upbring.
  2. You will participate in a home study (including the Hague-mandated training, which Upbring provides for Texas families, or Hague compliant online training for out-of-state families). As an agency that is licensed in Texas, we can act as your primary provider as well as providing your home study and post placement services.  For out-of-state families, however, you will need to identify a licensed agency in your home state to work with.   During the home study process, a social worker will visit your home to complete an assessment of suitability for international adoption.  Based on those interactions, combined with required documentation, the social worker will draft a home study report.
  3. You will submit the I-800A form and a copy of the home study to the United States Citizen and Immigration Service (USCIS) for approval. To familiarize yourself with USCIS and this process, we recommend that you review their website.
  4. You will prepare a dossier (a collection of documents required by Bulgaria) and submit if for approval to be registered on the Bulgarian adoptive family registry.
  5. You will receive confirmation of your approval, and then you simply wait for a referral.
  6. When you receive a referral of a child, you will review it and either agree to proceed or decline the referral.
  7. If you proceed with the referral, you will travel to Bulgaria to meet the child. Plan for two days travel and five days in Bulgaria.
  8. If you still want to proceed, you will submit the I-800 paperwork to USCIS for approval.
  9. You will then wait for the adoption hearing to be completed and the child’s birth certificate and passport to be issued.
  10. At that time, you will travel to Bulgaria to complete the visa process, which will require another 5-7 days.
  11. You can then celebrate and return home with your child.
  12. Once home, your new family will participate in post-adoption support services through Upbring or your local home study agency if you live outside of Texas.  During this time, a social worker will visit your home on 5 occasions over a 2 year period: within the first 6 weeks after arriving home and then at 6 months, 12 months, 18 months and 24 months. At each visit, the social worker will assess the family to see how everyone has adjusted to the adoption and offer any support that is needed.  The social worker will then write a report that Upbring will have translated and submitted to the Ministry of Justice.
  13. The final step is to re-adopt your child in a U.S. court and have another celebration.

Upbring Bulgaria Adoption Program Costs

Texas Family
Out-of-State Family
Healthy Child Adoption – $19,700 Healthy Child Adoption – $16,550
Waiting Child Adoption – $15,900 Waiting Child Adoption – $12,750

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.

Getting Started

Email us at internationaladoption@upbring.org, or call our toll-free number 800-396-4611 or 512-454-4611 to discuss our programs in more detail.

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