Bulgaria operates under the Hague Convention on intercountry adoption.
Hague Convention information
The Convention requires Bulgaria to attempt to place a child with a family in Bulgaria before determining a child is eligible for intercountry adoption.
The central authority in Bulgaria is the Ministry of Justice.
Australia works with the accredited adoption agency Family National Association.
Waiting times can be difficult to predict and are on a case-by-case basis, depending upon both the characteristics of the child and on the prospective adoptive parents’ application.
Waiting times to adopt a healthy child up to three years of age is around four years from Bulgaria’s receipt of the application. Waiting times to adopt older children or children with special needs are generally less than four years.
Applications for children with special needs are prioritised, including for prospective adoptive parents who have not previously been entered into the adoption register.
Who can adopt?
Australians interested in adopting a Bulgarian child will need to meet the eligibility criteria set by their state or territory central authority, as well as criteria set by Bulgaria. Key Bulgarian eligibility criteria include:
- Prospective adoptive parents can be married or single.
- Unmarried and cohabiting couples are ineligible.
- Same-sex couples are ineligible.
- Prospective adoptive parents must be at least 15 years older than the child.
- 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.
- Prospective adoptive parents over the age of 45 years are only eligible to adopt a child over the age of seven years.
- 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.
Characteristics of children in need of adoption
Bulgaria has general and special needs intercountry adoption programs.
The characteristics of Bulgarian children in need of intercountry adoption are wide-ranging.
The general program comprises children up to 10 years of age, some healthy and some with mild/correctable special needs and/or developmental delays.
The special needs program comprises children with more severe special needs and/or developmental delays, healthy children above 10 years of age, and sibling groups of two or more children.
All children begin in the general program and can move to the special needs program if there is a lack of suitable registered prospective adoptive parents.
More boys than girls are in need of intercountry adoption.
The fee for an adoption from the general program is 8,000 EUR. The fee for an adoption from the special needs program is 6,600 EUR. These fees do not include fees paid to state and territory central authorities, immigration fees, Australian government fees or incidentals.
Prospective adoptive parents travel to Bulgaria twice. The first trip is for a five day ‘probationary period’ with the child. The second trip is to accompany the child to Australia. The time between each trip is approximately four months.
Finalisation and post-adoption and immigration and citizenship
Information regarding finalisation, post adoption, immigration and citizenship will become available as this new program evolves.