Bulgaria ratified the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in respect of Intercountry Adoption in 2002. It is therefore a country whose adoption orders the UK recognises. The Bulgarian Family Court confers full adoption orders and therefore once adopted in Bulgaria the adoption is recognised in the UK.
IAC has entered into a co-operation agreement with Family National Association, a non-profit organisation based in Sofia with extensive experience of working in intercountry adoption. FNA have programmes with the USA and Canada as well as with European countries such as Germany and Italy. Their web site provides full details of the organisation. http://adoption-bg.com/
The children needing homes
The children who need adoptive parents in Bulgaria have a range of needs.
Whilst occasionally healthy infant are matched with waiting adopters the majority of children referred are
- Healthy children 4+ years and older. Many of the healthy children are delayed or have minor health conditions or correctable conditions.
- Special Needs children. The majority of referrals to prospective adopters through Family National Association are for special needs children. These are children with specific health conditions, including delay. In addition the Ministry of Justice operates a pre matching programme where prospective adopters can commit to a child during assessment of suitability. A list of waiting children is held through FNA and it is possible for IAC to search the list for you and obtain update information on an individual child through FNA. Once pre matched the family then has 6 months to prepare their dossier and submit it to Bulgaria through the Ministry of Justice and FNA.
- Children from Roma backgrounds and those with Downs Syndrome are the two groups that Bulgarian adoption agencies struggle to find families for and so are classed as priority groups and may therefore be matched sooner that children in the categories above.
IAC would not consider a pre-matching arrangement with any prospective adopter(s) until they were in Stage 2 of the approval process.
- The ethnic mix of the children is generally Bulgarian, Turkish and Roma.
Many children are abandoned or relinquished due to the death of their parents, poverty, single parenthood, and unemployment. The children live across Bulgaria but many are within the Sofia area or close to the Black Sea resorts.
Waiting times for a match
- For healthy children up to 3 years of age: 4 years waiting time
- For healthy children aged 4- 7 years: 3-4 years waiting time
- For healthy children between ages 7- 9 years: 2-3 years waiting time
- For healthy children over 9 years: 2-6 months waiting time
If prospective adopters are willing to accept minor correctable health problems then the waiting time will be reduced.
- For special needs children: approximately 6 months waiting time
Eligibility for Bulgaria
- Single adopters and married prospective adopters are eligible to adopt. As same sex marriage in Bulgaria is not recognised same sex couples are not eligible to adopt through the programme.
- There should not be more than 50 years between the younger prospective adopter and the adoptee and not more than 55 years of age between the older prospective adopter and the adoptee. If the adopter is single the lower age limit of 50 years applies. Prospective adoptive parents must be at least age 18 years of age and 15 years older than their adoptive children.
- Prospective adoptive parents must not be suffering from any life-threatening illnesses and contagious diseases.;
- Prospective adoptive parents must have a clear Disclosure and Barring Statement and must not have been deprived of their parental rights.
Please see the Information Pack for details of further eligibility criteria.
Who can use the Special Programme?
Prospective adopters who wish to use the Bulgaria Special programme must be:
- Eligible to adopt from Bulgaria – The IAC Information for Prospective Adoptive Applicants (Bulgaria Special Programme) provides full details of eligibility criteria.
- Approved to adopt from Bulgaria.
- Resident in England, Wales, Scotland and the Isle of Man.
Prospective Adopters living outside of the Local Authorities who contract IAC to undertake their assessments may need to request an assessment of their Local Authority before joining the Bulgaria Special Needs programme but please speak to IAC before you make an enquiry about becoming an approved adopter
There is a charge for this service and further details concerning the service and the costs can be found in the Information Pack.
For further information about the special programme please contact the IAC Advice Line.