The Republic of Bulgaria is located in Southeastern Europe, and shares borders with Romania, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, and the Black Sea. The country has an area of 110,994 square kilometers (42,855 sq mi) and a population of 7.4 million. The nation also has a long history of human settlement. Evidence of prehistoric cultures dates back to the Neolithic period, while the unification of the country traces back to the establishment of the First Bulgarian Empire. Before the Bulgarian state the Bulgarian territory was part of the Roman Empire. Following five centuries of Ottoman rule, Bulgaria became independent again after the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-1878. From 1946 to 1989, the country became a socialist state with a single-party system and a member of the Warsaw Pact. In 1989, following multi-party elections, the country transitioned to a market-based economy under a parliamentary republic. It is a member of NATO, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and the European Union. Approximately 85% of the population are ethnic Bulgarians. The largest minority groups are Turks (9%) and Roma (5%).
Processing times for children vary depending upon the age and gender of the child. The longest waiting times are for girls under 3 years old, with a waiting time of 3 years or longer. The waiting time for a boy of that age is generally 2-3 years. For a child older than 7, the waiting time may be less than a year. For parents who wish to adopt a special needs child, the waiting period is generally less than a year. In a number of cases, special needs can include children with a minor illness or a correctable medical condition. For families that are committed to adopting a child from our waiting child list, the adoption can proceed rapidly.
All waiting periods start with the registration of the adoptive candidates in the Ministry of Justice. The registration process takes about two months to get a translation of the documents and have them checked in the Justice Ministry. Thereafter the names of the adoptive candidates are included in the list of foreigners waiting to adopt a child or children.
After receiving the referral, the adoptive candidates have two months to consider whether to continue with the adoption process. If they accept the invitation, they then travel to Bulgaria, where they spend five days with the child or children. If they then decide to proceed with the adoption, the Ministry transfers the child’s dossier to the court where the adoption will be completed. This usually takes about three months. At least one of the adoptive parents must then travel to get the child. The second trip takes approximately a week, which includes the time required to get a child’s passport and a US visa from the Consulate in Sofia.
In case the adoption candidates choose a child from the special needs list of children prepared by the Ministry of Justice they do not have to wait for an adoption invitation. Furthermore, in the case of special needs children, the Ministry of Justice allows adoptive candidates to see pictures and video of the children and get all available information related to health, origin and personality before making a choice.
There is another case of adoption concerning children with some kind of minor illness or correctable medical problems. Due to their condition they can be adopted faster. Each case is individual but the adoption of these children reduces the waiting time. If a family arrives in Bulgaria and their child is ill, or not what they expected, the family may refuse their referral. In this case the family will have to wait for another child but in our practice we do not have family refusals to adopt with one exception. After receiving the referral the family has two months to decide whether to come to Bulgaria to see the child. Due to the reliable and comprehensive information given by the Justice Ministry the adoption candidates know the health condition of the child. The medical information is generally good. Although possible, it is not probable the adoptive family will be surprised with unknown problems.
Our Bulgarian partner agency assists the families from the time they arrive in Bulgaria with their accommodations, their trips to the orphanage, their paperwork for Court, any problems they might encounter, and are available to our families at all times.
More information about requirements, as well as current notices can be found at the US Department of State country-specific webpage. US Customs and Immigration Service regulations and requirements can be found here.