Step-by-step description of the process of adoption from Bulgaria:
The prospective adopters from Iceland have to use the intermediary services of an accredited Icelandic agency. Exceptions are possible in some rare cases, mainly in relative adoptions as then the procedure of adoption is facilitated by the Central Authority or another body authorized by them.
- The accredited agency sends to “Family National Association” the dossier of the candidate-adopters, which includes all the documents required for their 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 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. Once the prospective adopters get familiar with the information about the child, they consult a pediatrician, who informs them in detail about the child’s condition and what could be expected in the future. The candidate-adopters also meet another family, who have already adopted from the same country, so as to exchange experience about the specifics of the adoption procedure and the respective country. The last meeting the candidates have is a meeting with a specialist from the accredited agency, who acquaints them with all the applicable practices in relation with the procedure of adoption from the specific country.
- 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 preferences 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 accredited agency in Iceland 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 adoption 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 adoptive family can leave back home with their adopted 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;
The candidate-adopters with habitual place of residence in Iceland should obtain the following documents in view of their inscription in the register of candidate-adopters with habitual place of residence in a foreign country:
- Permission for adoption – the so-called “preliminary approval for adoption”, which is issued by the National Commissioner on Adoptions;
- Document certifying that the prospective adopters have not been deprived of their parental rights – issued by the accredited agency in Iceland;
- Home study report – prepared by a social worker at the Child Protection Committee in the candidates’ region of residence. The legislation does not provide for a strict period of validity.
- Updated Home study report or a document certifying the lack of any changes in the circumstances described in the report – the authority competent to prepare it is again a social worker from the Child Protection Committee in the candidates’ region of residence.
- Documents about the adopters’ health condition – issued by a Doctor of Medicine;
- Documents regarding the adopters’ criminal record – referred to as “Criminal background check” (Sakavottorð) and issued by the Office of the regional police commissioner correspondent to the candidate-adopters’ place of residence;
- Marriage certificate (for married prospective adopters) – issued by the office of Statistics Iceland, which is responsible for civil registration;
- Authorization of representation from the candidate-adopters to the Bulgarian accredited agency that represents them;
- Declaration of information from the candidate-adopters under Art.20, clause 10 of Ordinance No.2/24.10.2014;
- Declaration from the candidate-adopters regarding the characteristics of the child they would like to adopt and their motivation for adoption;
Requirements for Candidates
Requirement towards candidate-adopters as per the Icelandic legislation:
The prospective adopters with habitual place of residence in Iceland who would like to adopt a child with habitual place of residence in a foreign country should have reached the age of 25 years, which is the minimum required age as per the Icelandic legislation. In case some specific circumstances are present, which are to be considered on a case-by-case basis, it is possible that candidates who have reached the age of 20 years are allowed to apply for adoption. There is no maximum age limit or a mandatory age difference between the adopters and the adoptee. As for candidates’ family status, the Icelandic legislation allows married couples and heterosexual couples who have been cohabiting for at least 5 years to apply for adoption, as well as: one of the spouses in a couple, who is adopting the child of the other spouse; one of the applicants in a married or cohabiting couple in case that the other spouse has gone missing or his/her mental health prevents him/her from understanding what adoption means. A single person could obtain a permission to adopt if some special circumstances are present, which are considered on a case-by-case basis, and that is only if the adoption is apparently in the best interest of the child