The adoption authority in Bulgaria is The Ministry of Justice and is located in the capital city of Sofia. Married couples and singe people may adopt from Bulgaria and there is no length of marriage or age requirement. There is also great flexibility in the age of parents and family size when adopting a special needs, sibling group or older children. Adoptive parents need to be at least 15 years older than the adopted child and there may be additional requirements for adoptive families living outside the United States determined by the family’s government.
The Bulgarian Adoption process begins 45 days after the dossier (a collection of documents consisting of the home study, fingerprints and several background checks and more) arrives in Bulgaria. After the 45 day period the clock is set and we are now in the waiting process. A referral takes approximately 12-24 months, depending on the age range and gender that is indicated during the home study process. The process may be faster if a family is open to older children, sibling groups of three or more or a child with special needs. Referrals are given based on the date of dossier submission and other factors such as age, gender and health status that the family has indicated and the amount of children in need of families at any given time.
Once a referral is accepted in Bulgaria, the adoption will take four to six months to complete. Two trips to Bulgaria are required and with married couples both parents must be present for each trip. The first trip is approximately five to seven days in duration and is for the purpose of visiting the orphanage, spending time with your child, speaking with their caregivers and acceptance of the referral in person. The second trip takes place after the court case is complete and is 2-4 months after the first trip. This long awaited trip is about five to ten days in duration and it’s purpose is to prepare your child for travel and their homecoming!
Bulgaria requires four post adoption reports at 6, 12, 18 and 24 months after returning home. These will be in-home visits by the home study social worker. The purpose of these visits are to monitor overall wellbeing of the child and family and demonstrate to the Bulgarian government the benefits of international adoption for their children.
Waiting is not going to be easy for me. I have never been very good with the “process”. Even so, I am learning. God is soothing my fears, bringing comfort and I am growing in this process. Like in pregnancy, the stretching of belly, the restless, aching body, changing form, sustaining life. I feel it. The stretching, the restless, aching heart, changing form to sustain and love a life formed outside my own body. Nevertheless conceived and growing deep into the very fiber of my heart, beating strong with a force impossible to reckoned with.
LOVE will BRING her HOME.
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. Psalm 130:5-7 NIV
To God be the Glory!
Thank you for your continued support and prayers. This is my last post for the “Heart for Bulgaria” series. I have completed my essay and our adoption education is finished. Praise the Lord! This last couple of weeks with the help of Robert’s internet research and mad technical skills, I was able to bust out my remaining posts. We are now very close to wrapping up all our paperwork and documents and submitting our dossier to Bulgaria.
We hope you have enjoyed learning about Bulgaria. It has been a pleasure and an honor to share my heart and passion for this beautiful and rich country.
Our journey is just beginning and we are so glad you have chosen to joined us.
In love and grace,
[This post is part of the Heart for Bulgaria series. An overview of our research on the country of Bulgaria.]