Bulgaria: A Country Update

06/02/2010

The information below was developed in part through the efforts of the U.S. Consular Office in Bulgaria. Our thanks to all Consular Officers for their work on behalf of the children of our world.

Bulgaria, located in south-eastern Europe, is a developmentally transitional country focusing on committing to improving child welfare programs within the country. The Bulgarian government is taking numerous steps to move forward in this commitment in the hopes of improving social services for children. In 2008, there were five US adoptions from Bulgaria, in 2009 that tripled to 15, and this year Bulgaria is on track to triple the numbers again to 45.

Government Initiatives:

By 2025, the Bulgarian government has committed to closing all institutions in the hopes of providing families to all children. To reach this goal, the Family Code, which provides guidelines for adoption, has been modified to clarify and accelerate the process of both domestic and international adoption. These modifications to the Family Code will hopefully result in a significant expansion of the adoption register this fall. Bulgaria expects the number of U.S. adoptions in 2011 to be around 100, and possibly higher. The government is also taking steps to revise the Child Welfare law in the hopes of enhancing family preservation efforts and foster care.

Domestic Adoption:

Domestic adoption is increasingly popular in Bulgaria; however, placing children from the Roma minority or children with special needs has been a challenge. It is because of this that children available for international adoption are always over two years old and usually have special needs. There are currently 1,110 dossiers from prospective adoptive parents on the waiting list. In practice this means that a family may wait for up to 2 years. With this being said, the willingness of American families to adopt special needs children has allowed many families to successfully complete an adoption within months of joining the register.

Adoption Resources:

The Ministry of Justice has established a website that provides information on children with special needs. Families interested in adopting these children can have their ASP submit a request directly to the Central Authority for possible matching. The Central Authority reviews dossiers in the order they are received and tries to find at least three possible matches to submit for review. In the past, The Central Authority places a strong emphasis and looks closely at the home study to determine the best family for the child. If interested in adopting from Bulgaria, the Central Authority asks that PAPs provides very specific information in regards to what type of special needs child they would be willing to be matched with.

Bulgaria is consistently reviewing the adoption process to ensure that it is in the best interests of the child, and providing strong procedural safeguards and a commitment to addressing the needs of children.

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