Step-by-step description of the process of adoption from Bulgaria:
The Austrian legislation does not oblige candidate-adopters to use the services of accredited organizations. The candidates could seek assistance from an accredited intermediary agency or from the provincial Central Authority. In cases where the adoption procedure is not facilitated by an accredited intermediary agency, the intermediary functions are performed by the provincial Central Authorities.
- The accredited agency or the competent Central Authority sends to “Family National Association” the prospective adopters’ dossier, containing all the documents that are necessary for the candidates’ registration.
- Once the dossier has been received and translated, our team prepares a petition, which is filed to the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice along with the candidate-adopters’ dossier. The candidates get inscribed in the register, which is a list of the waiting prospective adopters with active status. The inscription in the register takes place within a 2-month period following the receipt of the candidates’ documents at “Family National Association”, provided that the documents are in the legally required form.
- The waiting period for a referral starts from the moment the candidates get registered. The waiting period varies in each specific case. It depends on the characteristics of the children, who are available for adoption at the time (for instance, age, gender, health condition) and on the characteristics of waiting candidate-adopters (namely, their general preferences, desired age of the child, the number of waiting candidates).
- The Intercountry Adoption Council reviews the applications following the order of their registration and refers the children to the candidates who are suitable for them. Once a child is referred for adoption, a package of documents is prepared, which is referred to as “referral”. Those documents are provided to “Family National Association”, who arrange their translation and then send them on to the partnering agency/ the competent Central Authority, who provide them to the candidates. The package includes a referral certificate, a certificate with a full-length photo of the child and a detailed report about the child, which is prepared in accordance with Art.16 of the Hague Convention.
- The next step is for the candidates to meet the child. The meetings with the child take place for 5 working days. During that time a specialist from our team accompanies the candidate-adopters and provides translation services and support to them.
- If the candidates refuse to adopt the child, the waiting period for a referral starts all over again. However, they could keep their position in the register in case they have not been informed about some significant health issues the child has, if the characteristics of the child referred to them do not correspond to the wish they have stated, or in case they have applied to adopt a special needs child and subsequently they decided not to adopt that child.
- If the candidates want to proceed with the child’s adoption, they should sign the necessary paperwork, which is provided by “Family National Association”, and that usually happens while they are in Bulgaria. In order for the adoption procedure to continue, the Central Authority in Austria has to issue their consent for the continuation of the procedure.
- After that the dossier is sent to the Sofia City Court. An attorney from our team represents the candidates before the court and performs all procedural actions by the time the court decree for the adoptions becomes legally effective.
- Once the court decree becomes legally effective (7 days following the court hearing), “Family National Association” assist the candidates with obtaining a certificate of compliance under Art.23 of the Hague Convention, a new birth certificate and a passport of the child.
- The adopters should travel to Bulgaria so as to pick up their child and complete the process of passport issuance. Once the child’s passport is issued, the family can travel back home with their child.
- “Family National Association” should receive a total of 4 post-adoption reports regarding the child’s development and condition – each of them is to be sent at every 6 months, for 2 years following the admission of the adoption.
Specific requirements regarding the documents for inscription in the register that are prepared for the candidate-adopters with habitual place of residence in Austria:
- An approval to adopt – issued by the regional Central Authority correspondent to the place of residence of the prospective adopters, in the form of a certificate of eligibility, also referred as “permission to take custody of a child”.
- A document which certifies that the prospective adopters have not been deprived of parental rights, issued by the regional Central Authority correspondent to the place of residence of the prospective adopters, in the form of a certificate, or in the form of a statement included in the certificate of eligibility;
- A Home study report about the candidate-adopters, prepared by a social worker from the local Youth Welfare Authority correspondent to the adopters’ place of residence; Whenever the Home study report has been prepared over a year ago, an updated report should be presented, or, if not possible – a document which certifies the lack of any changes in the circumstances described in the Home study report.
- A document about the health condition of each of the adopters, prepared by a doctor and containing an evaluation of their physical and mental health based on diseases in the past or present. The documents also contain information regarding the presence/absence of chronic diseases, contagious venereal disease, AIDS, tuberculosis of other life-threatening illnesses. Those should have been issued up to one year before the time of filing the petition for registration;
- Criminal record clearance about each of the prospective adopters, issued in the form of an extract from the Register of criminal records.
- A marriage certificate – issued by the competent civil status office in the form of an extract from the marriage records;
- Authorization of representation from the adopters to “Family National Association”;
- A declaration of information under Art.20, clause 10 of Ordinance No.2/24.10.2014;
- Copies of the prospective-adopters’ ID documents;
Requirements for Candidates
Requirements towards the candidate-adopters, as per the Austrian legislation:
As per the Austrian legislation, both married couples and single candidate-adopters can apply for adoption. The minimal age required for candidate-adopters is 25 years. There is no requirement regarding their maximum age. The legislation requires a minimal age difference of 16 years between the candidate-adopters and the adopted child. Whereas there is no legally stipulated maximum age difference, in practice a requirement has been observed for the maximum age difference not to exceed 45 years. In cases where the adopters already have a child at home, some regions require that the adopted child is the youngest child in the family and for an age difference of at least 1 year between the children to be present, as well as to take into consideration the attitude of the children in the family towards the adoption project. The prospective-adopters should have suitable living conditions, sufficient financial resources, good health and psychological condition, certain life experience and an appropriate social environment.