Note: None of the children seen on this page are available for adoption.

CHI’s Bulgaria Adoption History

Bulgaria Map 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 has made many trips to Bulgaria over the years in order to maintain positive relationships. 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 that we get 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?

We value the relationships we cultivate with our families. Each staff member strives to create a bond of trust with each and every family. Adoption is an emotional, exciting and personal journey. We want to be there cheering in times of excitement and help you in times of stress. For over 40 years, Children’s House International has had programs worldwide and acquired experience in International adoption. We have been working in Bulgaria for over 20 years (when their program first opened) and have built great relationships with the Ministry of Bulgaria.

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.

For more information email: inquiry@chiadopt.org

“(T)hey had someone working every day over the holidays except Christmas. I know other agencies who closed down for a week. Definitely a quality over quantity situation.” – Elkins Family

Adoption Process

The steps below give a quick overview of what is required:

  • Apply to Children’s House International Bulgaria Program
  • Complete home study process with CHI social worker or local Hague approved home study agency
  • Submit approved home study
  • Apply for I800A CIS approval
  • Begin compiling Bulgarian Dossier (file)
  • Obtain Apostille seals on Dossier Documents (see CHI for directions)
  • Your home study and CIS approval along with complete dossier must be sent to CHI and we will then send your file to Bulgaria. Once your completed dossier is sent to Bulgaria it can take about one month for translations and then about one month to obtain committee approval. If adopting a waiting child, the referral will come after approval. Referrals can come anytime after that. Waiting children referrals can be immediate; non-waiting children referrals may take about 6 to 48 months or longer depending on the characteristics of the children desired. The shorter end of the referral times most often occur when families are open to older children, large sibling groups or special needs children. Once you receive your referral. You will have 2 weeks to ask questions and speak to an international adoption doctor concerning the health issues.
  • Once the family receives the official referral they will be traveling to country for their first trip to meet the child/ren. 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 4-6 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. The “pickup” trip usually involves a 10 – 12 day stay in Bulgaria to complete the process; this involves issuing the child’s passport, medical approval and embassy approval.  It is after the embassy issues the child’s visa that the family is allowed to leave the country.
  Please see “travel” for information regarding information on the trips required and details.

For more information email: inquiry@chiadopt.org

Children in Bulgaria

Orphanage Arrangement 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 varies. 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. 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; for a healthy child under 5 this could take up to 4-5 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 are 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. We are happy to discuss the conditions of children available currently for adoption. We cannot show pictures or specific information about children publicly but we have a closed group you can request to be a part of our Eastern Europe Adoption Facebook Group.  The Ministry of Justice has an official “hold process” that they recognize for a family to move forward with a waiting child. You must be signed on to our agency and a home study agency to proceed with this route. 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.

For more information email: inquiry@chiadopt.org

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 as 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 completed by a COA Hague accredited social worker who will ensure all US and 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 clearance). 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

  • Single women and single men are allowed.
  • Parents should be 21 years of age or older; USCIS requirements are at least 25 years of age if single.
  • 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.
  • Two trips are required; the first trip is 6-7 days and the second trip is 10-12 days; these trips are 4-6 months apart.
  • International Home Study approval
  • I800a CIS approval
  • A list of documentation will be provided upon entering the program

For more information email: inquiry@chiadopt.org

Travel Process

  Families will travel twice.  For the first trip, you will travel to the city your child is located and visit with them for 5 business days.  This is a wonderful opportunity to meet and spend time with the child referred to you before you make your final decision. This will also help you better prepare for your child’s arrival when the process is completed roughly four to six months after your first trip. One or both parents are required to take the “visit” first trip. After the trip, our foundation in Bulgaria will handle the legal matters and will be present at court on behalf of the family. For the second trip, you will travel to pick up your child from the city they are located and bring them back to Sofia for the different appointments (passport, medical, embassy) that are needed to leave the country. We will inform you when it is time to travel both times. Our foundation representatives will assist you in transportation needs 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.   “CHI has been an amazing agency to work with.  The Case Managers are very knowledgeable about the Bulgaria program and extremely helpful.  The Bulgaria program has been very easy to work through. We are doing our first adoption and when we adopt again we will defiantly be using CHI!”  ~Polmateer family

For more information email: inquiry@chiadopt.org


Country Facts

  • Bulgaria is a wonderful place, with a fascinating history and culture. An Eastern European country, Bulgaria is located on the Balkan Peninsula and forms a bridge between Europe and Asia.  Bulgaria borders Romania, Greece, Turkey and shares a coastline with the Black Sea.  The resort town of Varna on the opposite side is a popular Black Sea coastal resort town catering to local and European tourists. The city of Sofia, in the West part of the country, is Bulgaria’s capital.  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: National Geographic: Bulgaria Facts
  • Literacy rate: 92%
  • Average life expectancy: 72
  • Body language: Bulgarians shake their heads for ‘yes’ and nod for ‘no’
  • Area: 110,910 sq km
  • Capital: Sofia; 1,076,000
  • Religion: Bulgarian Orthodox, Muslim
  • Currency: Lev
  • Population: 7,741,000
  • GDP per capita: US$6,500
  • Export: Bulgaria produces 70% of the world’s rose oil

Bulgarian Phrases for Children

This CD consists of approximately 136 complete phrases and individual words, each spoken by Miro and Maria Kenarov in Bulgarian and then in English. Miro is from Varna, Bulgaria and speaks with that regional dialect/accent. Maria is from Sofia and speaks with the heavier more typical “Bulgarian accent.” The CD is paced so that you can rehearse the phrases immediately after hearing each one.


For more information email: inquiry@chiadopt.org

Bulgaria Seashore Gypsy Boy Bulgaria