CHI’s Bulgaria Adoption History
Children’s House International has worked in Bulgaria since the mid 1990′s. As the government evolved and changed their international adoption processes or closed for periods of time, Children’s House stayed involved and in communication with the authorities in order to best help the children. The Executive Director made many trips to Bulgaria over the years in order to maintain relationships. Currently, Bulgaria has an excellent process which includes a database of children that are waiting and Children’s House has agreements with several foundations which are approved by the Bulgarian Government to assist in processing the adoption needs of the children living there. We feel privileged and hope to help many waiting Bulgarian children find their forever families. We are anxious to help answer any questions you may have about this program.
Why Children’s House International?
There are a lot of good people working in adoption. What makes CHI different? We promise attention to detail – we’ll be spending the hours and hours on the telephone and computer with Bulgaria while you prepare your new child’s room. We’ll make sure your paperwork is in order so your approvals happen as smoothly as possible. We will be there to answer your questions and we will always try to get right back with you quickly. We will point you in the direction of useful resources to help in your planning – things like Bulgarian adoption Internet groups, books and language resources, qualified specialists in International adoption to answer your medical and developmental questions, and more. And when it comes time to travel, we’ll arm you with all the information you need to make your trip both successful and pleasurable. Lastly, we won’t make you bring large sums of cash with you when you travel. All money for the adoption can be handled through CHI here in the US. Our goal is to make your adoption experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible. Children’s House International is proud of its reputation. We would be happy to answer all your questions.
Adoption Forms and Fees
For more information including our application, agency retainer agreement and financial agreements and statistical information on: the number of adoption placements per year for the prior 3 calendar years, the number of placements that remain intact, the number of families who apply to adopt each year, and the number of waiting children eligible for adoption, click here
As with any program, you must complete a home study process, be approved by CIS and complete your dossier for the country of Bulgaria. We are happy to help you through each step of the process and provide check lists and examples for your documentation. Since Bulgaria is considered a Hague country, your home study must be prepared by a Hague accredited adoption agency, which we will partner with. Please visit with us concerning which agency would be best suited to write your home study for an I800A/Hague process.
There are two possible program options with Bulgaria.
A healthy child referral program. This normally takes up to 3 years waiting for a referral once your paperwork is registered in Bulgaria.
Special needs waiting children. This program begins by identifying a child you wish to pursue adopting from the special needs waiting list in Bulgaria.
Once your paperwork is completed, The Ministry of Justice will then send referral papers through our partner foundation in Bulgaria to us for you. You will have 2 weeks to ask questions and speak to an international adoption doctor concerning the health issues. If you decide that you want to continue and adopt this child, you will take your first trip to Bulgaria within 2 months.
Once you have decided you would like to adopt, a child will be referred to CHI by the Ministry of Justice and you then will be required to take a visit trip to meet the child. You will stay 5 business days in Bulgaria for this process. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet and spend time with the child referred before you make your final decision. This will help you better prepare for your child’s arrival when the process is completed roughly 4 months after your first trip. One or both parents will be required to make the first trip to meet the child referred. After the trip, our foundation in Bulgaria will handle the legal matters and court date, and you will not be required to be present. For traveling parents, the “pickup” trip usually involves a maximum five business day stay in Bulgaria, although, children can be escorted home as well by agency personnel.
Children in Bulgaria
Healthy Child Program
Families may apply to adopt a child that is considered as healthy as possible. That program will require a family to wait longer for referrals; more than a year is typical and for a child under 3 this could take as long as three years. Because of that, may families choose to work with the special needs program.
Special Needs Waiting Child Program
Bulgaria has a database which contains information on all the children currently legally available for adoption. Medicals and background information is provided with the referrals. Many children with various special needs from extremely serious to correctable are waiting for families. If you are interested in a particular special need, please contact us and we can inquire with our foundations as to the availability of a child with a particular need.
Bulgaria has an orphanage system divided up into age groups: 0 – 3, 3 -7, and 7 up. Children older than 12 months, both boys and girls and siblings are available. In the orphanage, the children see new families come and children leave. They understand what this means and hope that they will be chosen next. The quality of the orphanages vary. Children become available for adoption through a number of circumstances: abandonment, death of both birth parents, or when the birth parents relinquish their rights. Since most of these children have a mix of ethnic and minority backgrounds including Gypsy, Turkish, and Bulgarian, they are often passed over for adoption by Bulgarian families. CHI provides pictures and health histories of the children we represent to aid in your decision to either accept the referral or not. This information is provided by the Ministry of Justice. Children’s House encourages all families to seek professional medical consultation regarding the medical information of any child referred for adoption prior to making a decision.
Adoptive Parent Requirements
While your adoption journey may begin today, adoptive parents should understand that adoption is a lifelong commitment. A successful homestudy plays a vital role in helping on your preparation to become adoptive parents. Our trained and caring professionals’ respect your confidentiality was we work together to educate and create an accurate portrait of you as future adoptive parents. The home study is an invaluable first step toward parenthood.
Approved Home Study
An approved home study preferably completed by a COA Hague accredited social worker who will ensure that all of the Bulgarian requirements for families are met in the home study process. The home study begins with adoptive parent education and a thorough evaluation of your family that will include several background clearances, medical evaluations and financial stability. Your home study is foundation on which USCIS and in country approvals for international adoption are based. They enable adoptive parents to learn, reflect, and prepare for parenting. It involves opening your hearts, minds, and home to a social worker through a series of meetings and gives you the opportunity to ask all the questions you may have as well.
USCIS Immigration Approval
USCIS immigration approval is required for all international adoptions (this includes an FBI fingerprint results). This approval allows your newly adopted child to receive a VISA from the US Embassy and enter the US and become a citizen. You will use the I800A application for your CIS adoption process.
Bulgarian Adoptive Parent Requirements
Requirements for adopting from Bulgaria are fairly straightforward. Parents should be 21 years of age or older. While there is no legislation in Bulgaria preventing older couples from adopting, the Central Authority follows the guideline of placing children with no more than 50 years difference in age from the younger parent in a couple. The older parent may be no more than 55 years older than the child. In the case of single adopters the prospective parent should be no more than 50 years older than the child. Children primarily 3 years and up are placed. Single women and single men are allowed. A completed homestudy, I800a, CIS approval, and proof that you can support the child are necessary. CHI will guide you through the process, answering all your questions along the way.
Your first trip to Bulgaria will include a stay of 5 business days in Bulgaria for the adoption process. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet and spend time with the child referred to you before you make your final decision. This will help you better prepare for your child’s arrival when the process is completed roughly four months after your first trip. One or both parent’s are required to take the “visit” first trip. After the trip, our foundation in Bulgaria will handle the legal matters and the court date and you will not be required to be present. For traveling parents on the second trip, the “pickup” trip usually involves a maximum five business day stay in Bulgaria, although, children can be escorted home as well by agency personnel.
We will inform you when it is time to travel both times. Our foundation representatives will meet you at the airport and assist you with each step of the adoption process while you are in Bulgaria. They will also assist you with the appointment at the US Embassy.
We are happy to discuss the conditions of children available currently for adoption. We cannot show pictures or specific information about children as the available children change all the time. Your home study should be approved and your dossier should be almost ready to send to Bulgaria in order to discuss specific children. Please contact our office for more specifics about children currently on the database and how you can apply to begin your adoption journey to Bulgaria.
Bulgaria is a wonderful place, with a fascinating history and culture. It is an Eastern European country bordered by Romania, Greece, the Balkans, and with Turkey, forms the bridge between Europe and Asia. Bulgaria also shares a coastline with the Black Sea. The city of Sofia, in the West part of the country, is Bulgaria’s capital. The resort town of Varna on the opposite side is a popular Black Sea coastal resort town catering to local and European tourists. Bulgaria’s soil is ideal for agriculture. It’s larger cities are quite sophisticated by European standards while its smaller more remote towns and farming villages give the feel of a time long ago. The primary religion of Bulgaria is Orthodox. Since emerging from the “Iron Curtain” in the early 90′s, Bulgaria has been working to position itself in the world economy and has had membership in the EU since 2007.
Fast Facts about Bulgaria
Information taken from LonelyPlanet.com
• Literacy rate: 98.2%
• Average life expectancy: 69 (m), 76 (f)
• Body language: Bulgarians shake their heads for ‘yes’ and nod for ‘no’
• Highest point: Mt Musala (2925m)
• Area: 110,910 sq km
• Unemployment rate: 9.6%
• Inflation: 7.3%
• Population: 7.33 million
• GDP per capita: US$10,700
• Export: Bulgaria produces 10% of the world’s rose oil