The facts about Adoption in Bulgaria
Adoption in Bulgaria - full of information about adopting children in Bulgaria, detailing what the Bulgarian requirements are necessary together with useful links to the authorities.
Who is a parent? Is it the person who has fathered or conceived a son or a daughter? Is a parent the person who takes responsibility for a child and takes care of him or her for life, although that person may not have fathered or conceived the baby? These and many other philosophical and ethical questions are taken into account by adoption laws worldwide, and Bulgaria is not an exception.
According to the Ministry of Justice, there are a series of requirements to meet for those interested in adopting a child, because the idea is giving a family to a child and not a child to a certain family.
For that reason, Bulgaria has set rules of eligibility for all adoptions.
- Potential adoptive parents may be married or single.
- They must be at least fifteen years older, but no more than forty-five years older, than the child they wish to adopt.
- Adoptive parents must spend five days in Bulgaria before the child is released into their custody.
- Residency is not required to complete an inter-country adoption.
The inter-country adoption process can take several months or even years to complete. As there are only a handful of Bulgarian orphans needing loving homes, it can take years for the Ministry of Justice to contact adoption agencies.
Those wishing to adopt a Bulgarian child must enable the services of a Bulgarian licensed adoption agency. The Ministry of Justice regularly reviews licensing applications for several adoption agencies based in other countries. Foreign embassies in Sofia keep a current list of approved adoption agencies on file. Alternately, you can visit www.bulgaria-embassy.org for more information.
Although the Internet is useful to choose the most suitable agency - e.g. for location constraints - Bulgarian officials strongly recommend new parents to research any adoption agency or agent, and the particular state government agency where the adoption agency is licensed and/or located.
Below are some of the fees that need to be taken into consideration when adopting. These fees, which are subject to change, are in Euros:
- Application Fee €100
- Birth Certificate Fee €3
- Court Fee €750
- Passport Fee €7 for children under 14, €14 for children over the age of 14.
- Transcript of the Court Decree €25
Foreigners who want to adopt from outside their countries should contact their own authorities related to adoption and immigration requirements. It is also important to make sure there are no pre-adoption regulations that must be met. The officials in your country should be able to provide you with potential adoption agencies as well.
All necessary documents must be filed with the Ministry of Justice by the licensed adoption agency. Once an application is accepted, the prospective parent/parent's name is added to the Bulgarian adoption registry.
The Bulgarian Ministry of Justice keeps a registry of Bulgarian children eligible for inter-country adoption who by Bulgarian law, appear on this registry only if a trio of Bulgarian families have declined to adopt the child in question. Priority is not given to the person holding the highest position on the list. Often, Bulgarian orphans have serious handicaps. For this reason, priority is given to adoptive parents who will accept such a child. Bulgarian officials also look closely to ensure a prospective parent is a good match to the orphan needing a new home.
All married couples and single women up to the age of 45 are eligible to adopt. Young couples without children are given preference over older couples, couples with one or more children, or single women. There are more boys available for adoption than girls. Ages range from 18 months to 10 years. Sometimes siblings are available. It is also possible to adopt two non-related children.
The Adoption Council is part of the Ministry of Justice and is the organization in charge of reviewing the applications of prospective parents and orphans, including all paperwork, and then proposing a match. Photographs and necessary medical details of the child are sent to the adoption agency in order to show them to the potential parents.
A potential parent has two months to accept or reject an adoption match. If they reject the adoption, they can later be matched with another child. Prospective parents are not limited to the number of times they can decline an adoption.
Once a child is selected and the Adoption Council approves the match, the case is forwarded to the Minister of Justice for final approval. Here the parent/s’ application is signed. One or more court hearings are then organized according to the prospect parent/s' background. When requirements have been met, the courtroom judge signs over custody of the child to the new parents. The new parents then must travel to Bulgaria for a stay of five days or more before a child is released into their custody.
When the child is transferred to the parents, their Bulgarian representative then applies for a new birth certificate and for the child's passport for which the fees are listed above. It is the Bulgarian representatives responsibility to perform these tasks, not the parents. The whole process can take up to one month.
The following is a list of documents required when adopting in Bulgaria. These documents need to be translated and submitted in the original.
- Application containing personal information. It must include a family history and financial information. The letter has to be prepared by your adoption agent.
- Background check for criminal convictions and arrests.
- Certification that the prospective parents have not been denied custody rights previously.
- Home Inspection.
- Marriage Certificate, if applicable.
- Medical Exams.
- USCIS approval.
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