Bulgaria: Intercountry Adoption Still an Option

07/18/2006

Despite persistent rumors to the contrary, there is no moratorium on Bulgarian intercountry adoptions. Last year, the U.S. Embassy in Sofia issued 29 IR-3 and IR-4 visas to Bulgarian orphans adopted by American families, and is currently averaging 1-2 visas per month. The Bulgarian Parliament passed a new adoption law in July 2003 in order to comply with the requirements of the Hague Convention. The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) started implementing the law in September 2004. In accordance with this law, the MOJ started entering into a special register all Bulgarian children available for foreign adoption. A Bulgarian child may be entered into the register only if three Bulgarian families have declined to adopt the child. The adoptive parents whose adoption dossiers have been accepted by the MOJ are entered into another register. An Adoption Council at the MOJ reviews the parents’ documents and offers them a child for adoption. Currently, there are about 120 children available for foreign adoption and 1200 adoptive families from Europe and North America wishing to adopt Bulgarian children. According to the MOJ, 80% of the adoptable children have serious medical conditions. It is important to note that the prospective adoptive parents’ applications are not processed in chronological order. Priority is given to adoptive parents willing to adopt a handicapped child. Furthermore, the Adoption Committee is very strict in keeping to the principle that it must find proper parents for a child in need and not a proper child for parents wishing to adopt in Bulgaria.

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