If you are adopting from Bulgaria then you will need to meet the criteria for adoption from the USCIS as well as from the Bulgarian authorities. Under the laws of Bulgaria the government first has to try to place the child locally before the child is made available for an international adoption. The following would be the basics for adopting a child from Bulgaria.
Adoption from Bulgaria
The wait times for Bulgaria will differ from case to case. Normally for a child which is normal the wait time can be up to three years and the wait times for the adoption of a disabled child can be up to four years. The wait times do differ but normally a special needs child is prioritised in the adoption system. The central authority in Bulgaria for adoption is the Ministry of Justice and there is also the Family National Association which normally deals with adoptions.
Adoption from Bulgaria – Criteria
- The prospective parents can be married or single;
- Note however that unmarried and cohabiting couples are ineligible;
- Also note that same-sex couples are ineligible for adoption.
- Note that the adoptive parents must be at least 15 years older than the adoptive child;
- Note also that there should not be more than 50 years age difference between the child and younger spouse and 55 years age difference between the child and older spouse.
- Also note that adoptive parents over the age of 45 years are only eligible to adopt a child over the age of seven years.
- There has to be a doctor’s assessment of the prospective adoptive parents’ physical and mental health must be provided and issued within one year from the date of application.
These are standard criteria for adoptive parent from most countries under the Hague Convention on Adoption. You can see more countries listed here. Should you not fully understand the process then you are best suited to visit an attorney who deals with inter-country adoptions. Most adoptive couples tend to speak to an attorney for legal advice on both family law, the adoption process and family law once the child becomes part of the family. There are issues with adoptions and inheritance when the child being adopted has property which was left to him or her while being an orphan. Most orphans do not have these types of issues but this can occur in certain circumstances.
Note that in Bulgaria most of the orphans tend to be boys. There are more boys in the system than girls. Most children who are in the system are younger than 10 years old some being normal and other having special needs. These can be disabilities or simply children with developmental delays. There are children over the age of 10 and there are also siblings of 2 or more children. With the Bulgarian adoption the parents needs to go twice to Bulgaria. The first is a 5 day probation period with the child and the second trip is to collect the child once the adoption is done.
Note that the child when leaving will have a Bulgarian passport and this needs to be submitted to the US Embassy in Bulgaria for the appropriate IH-4 visa for the adopted child. Also note that the IH-3 visas are only for children from non-Hague convention countries. Since Bulgaria is a Hague Convention country the IH-4 visa will be applicable however the child will not get US citizenship on arrival in the US but permanent residency. Once the adoption is final in the US you can then file for the N-600 Application for a Certificate of Citizenship.
Bulgarian Adoption Authority
Ministry of Justice
Slavyanska Street # 1
Tel: (359 2) 923-7303 (Bulgarian only)
Internet: http://www.justice.government.bg (in Bulgarian only)
U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria
16 Kozyak Street
Tel: (359 2) 937-5100
Fax: (359 (2) 937-5122