Procedural stages

1. The first stage consists in entering the prospective adoptive parent (if it concerns a draft of an adoption by a single adoptive parent) or each one of the prospective adoptive parents (if it concerns a draft of an adoption by two adoptive parents) in the register of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Bulgaria.

2. The International Adoptions Council makes a decision and puts forward a proposal to the Minister of Justice on determining a suitable adoptive parent habitually residing abroad. The Minister of Justice gives his/her consent on the adoption by the adoptive parent(s) of a child habitually residing in Bulgaria in line with the proposal of the International Adoptions Council.

The criteria of the International Adoptions Council for determining a suitable adoptive parent(s) are:

The Directorate of “International Legal Child Protection and Intercountry Adoptions“ carries out an investigation of the child and the adoptive parents in relation to the specific adoption, draws up reports and submits them to the International Adoptions Council for discussion and decision making.
Within 60 days after the entry of the children into the Register of the Children Subject to Adoption by Persons Habitually Residing Abroad, the International Adoptions Council examines the applications to determine an appropriate adoptive parent(s), by order of entry of the prospective adoptive parents in the register, the preferences expressed by them, as well as the circumstances of importance for the child’s interest. The children’s files are examined by the Council by order of their entry and are compared with the information about the prospective adoptive parent(s) and with the conditions contained in their approvals for adopting a child. To determine the adoptive parent, the Council considers all the suitable applications. In deciding upon the suitable adoptive parent(s), the Council is guided also by the capabilities of the prospective adoptive parent(s) to provide physical, mental and social well-being for the child, and also by the information on the prospective adoptive parent’s personality and the other circumstances that matter for the adoption. The evaluation is carried out predominantly on the basis of the reports on the prospective adoptive parent(s), drawn up by the relevant competent authorities.

The Council’s decision contains data on the child and on the prospective adoptive parents(s), as well as brief motivation for the selection.

 Conditions concerning the prospective adoptive parent(s):

AGE DIFFERENCEthe age difference between the adoptive parent and adoptive child must not exceed 50 years with respect to the younger, and 55 years with respect to the older when spouses are the adoptive parents. If a single unmarried person is adopting the lower age difference applies.

Marital status – in compliance with the Bulgarian Family Code the adoptive parents must be married – it is inadmissible to adopt in a cohabitation regime /regardless of whether registered or not/. A single person may adopt.

HEALTH – the adoptive parent(s) must be in good physical and mental health and they must not have illnesses endangering the life and health of the child, or any that would hamper the adequate catering to the needs of the respective child.

SOCIOECONOMICAL STATUS  - the adoptive parent(s) must be socioeconomically average for the country of their habitual residence.

A person with habitual residence abroad may adopt a child habitually residing in the Republic of Bulgaria if registered in the Register for Adoptive Parents Habitually Residing Abroad who wish to adopt a child with habitual residence in the Republic of Bulgaria under the terms of full legal adoption. This register is kept by the Ministry of Justice.

Requirements concerning the adoptee:

The following children may be adopted:

A child placed in a specialized institution, with the consent for full adoption granted by his/her parents, or whose parents are not known;

A child brought up in a specialized institution and not looked for within six months after the expiration of the period of time, for which he/she was placed;

A child placed in a specialized institution, from 1 to 18 years of age.

The applications for adoption of an older child, or one having special needs, are examined with priority;

Siblings entered simultaneously in the register may not be separated unless all the possibilities for them to be placed together have been depleted;

A child who has completed 14 years of age provided that the child gives his/her consent before court to permit the adoption.

A child habitually residing in the Republic of Bulgaria may be adopted by a person habitually residing abroad when all the possibilities for his/her adoption within the country have been exhausted and he/she is entered in the register of the children who may be adopted by persons habitually residing abroad under the conditions of full adoption, kept by the Ministry of Justice.

3. Identifying suitable prospective adoptive parent(s) habitually residing abroad to adopt a particular child.

The certificate for initiating the proceedings for adopting a particular child is issued by the Ministry of Justice in regard to the proposal by the International Adoptions Council, together with a report on the child, accompanied by a full-size photograph of the child, all prepared by the Directorate of “International Legal Child Protection and Intercountry Adoptions“to the Ministry of Justice.

4. The adoptive parent(s) must arrive in Bulgaria in order to make contact with the child, the minimum duration of such contact being 5 working days. The prospective adoptive parent(s) must state their consent or refusal to adopt that particular child in writing within two months from receiving the proposal for the child.

The Association ensures the liaison between the Ministry of Justice and the prospective adoptive parent(s), and carries out intermediary activities:

in organizing and establishing personal contact between the prospective adoptive parent(s) and the child for a period of time not shorter than 5 days, in preparing the required documents, in filing to the Ministry of Justice the set of documents, along with the application in writing by the prospective adoptive parent(s), which shall include the name the child will bear after the adoption. Within two months after receiving the report on the child the Association sends to the Ministry of Justice a notice of consent or refusal to continue the procedure of adopting the relevant child.

5. In the case of consent the procedure continues with the express approval of the Minister of Justice, the documents being sent to Sofia City Court.

6. Within 14 days from the submission of the file to Court an open hearing in a closed court shall be scheduled. The court, then, shall deliver a reasoned judgment, announced at the court hearing.

The Association ensures the procedural representation of the adoptive parent(s) before court. The judgment will take effect after the expiration of a 7-day period as of the date of its delivery.

The judgment ruled by Sofia City Court is a legal decision and has the following legal consequences:

Interruption of the kinship ties between the child and his/her family of origin;
Creation of a kinship tie between the child and the adoptive parent(s);

and The judgment is final.

 7. The Association prepares the necessary documents and carries out all the activities related to:

submitting the court judgment to the Ministry of Justice;

obtaining a certificate of conformity as set forth in Art. 23, paragraph 1 of the Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption;

issuance of a new certificate of birth of the child;

attainment of an international passport of the child.

8. Departure of the child to the receiving state

The adoptive parent arrives in the Republic of Bulgaria. He/she takes the child from the relevant institution where the child is placed. Such actions are organized and coordinated by the association. An obligatory condition to start the procedure of issuing a passport to the child is the appearance of the adoptive parent(s), the child, and a representative of the association at the police station.  The passport is issued within three working days as from the date of appearing at the police station. The child and the adoptive parent(s) must remain in Bulgaria during such three-day period in order to receive the child’s passport, whereupon the child and the adoptive parent(s) may leave the country.

Two trips with staying in Bulgaria must be planned:

To make first contact with the child – for at least 5 days where the first day of meeting the child must be a business day; to arrange the formalities related to the departure of the child to the receiving state, 5 business days are necessary.