Bulgarian adoption process is very different from any other country we are currently working in. As a matter of fact, it’s also very different from any other country we ever worked in in the past.

What’s so different? Usually we handle an adoption process from the very beginning and all the way into post adoption reports. Not the case here. For this process we will take care of the US side of document preparation and related paperwork, but for the foreign part you will be working with a Bulgarian agency. We will still be your primary point of contact, the Bulgarian agency will keep us notified when your process reached some important milestones, but at this point we are more of an active monitor of the process instead of actively working every step of the way. This is very different.

So, how does this process work?

Step 1. Talk to us.

This is common for every process we ever handled. It all starts by you talking to us, getting to know a little about us, us getting to know a little about you, answering your questions, addressing your concerns, and getting the ball rolling.

Step 2. Home study.

This step is also universal. You’ll need a home study done by a Hague accredited agency. If you live in PA – we’ll do it for you, if you live outside of Pennsylvania – we’ll recommend a few options for you. This isn’t a very difficult step, it’s just involved. Don’t worry, we’ll help you with that.

Step 3. Getting documents together.

There are other documents that we’ll need from you, not just the home study. We’ll help you with those. Next section lists the documents, so once you get there, you can take a quick glance over that list.

Step 4. Working with the Bulgarian side.

Once we get your documents in order here, we’ll transfer them to Bulgaria. Bulgarian agency will register your case with the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Justice will place your name in their registry.

Step 5. Waiting for referral.

The Ministry of Justice will process your paperwork and issue a referral. This is one of the hardest parts of the process, because it involves simply sitting and waiting. Ministry of Justice doesn’t process case files in order they were received, they get processed in order of priority for special needs children. Wait time can be significant. There is nothing that we can do about it.

Step 6. Accepting referral, meeting your child, and more paperwork.

So, we are past the waiting part and you were given a referral by the Ministry of Justice. Now you have to either accept or decline that referral. If you decline – you sign a statement saying that you decline, and your name is back in queue. If you accept the referral… now things get interesting! Your first trip is being scheduled and you get to fly to Bulgaria and meet with your child. The Bulgarian agency will arrange for a chaperone who speaks English, and who will escort you where ever you need to go, i.e. orphanage and to meet some officials. There is also more paperwork to be filed with the US authorities. You’ll need to do the I-800 form and get a provisional approval, making sure the child you want to adopt can be adopted under the US laws.

Step 7. Court, and more.

Another part that is different from other programs is that you don’t really need to be present for the Court hearing. The Bulgarian agency will represent you in court and make sure all of the paperwork is in order. They’ll keep you updated on the process.

Step 8. There and back.

This is it, home stretch. You need to fly to Bulgaria, meet with your child, get all of the paperwork, go to the US Embassy there to get a visa (follow the procedure, which also includes a medical exam of the child), and once all of your documents are in order… FLY HOME!

Let’s take a glance at the documents required in the next section.