Step-by-step description of the process of adoption from Bulgaria:
The prospective adopters from Ireland, who would like to adopt a child with habitual place of residence abroad, should use the services of the Central Authority, an accredited agency or the State Child and Family Agency.
- The accredited agency/ the Central Authority or the State Child and Family 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 Central Authority. 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 referral for adoption is received by the Central Authority in Ireland or by the accredited agency which facilitates the adoption procedure. The Central Authority in Ireland should give their preliminary approval of the referral before it could be provided to the candidate-adopters. For that purpose, the Authority makes their own assessment by comparing the information about the child and his/her needs to the information about the candidate-adopters contained in their Home study assessment report. If the Central Authority is not completely convinced that the referral is in the child’s best interest, they could return the referral paperwork to the country of origin, without the paperwork being presented to the candidate-adopters. In case the Central Authority considers that the referral is suitable and in the child’s best interest, they get the candidate-adopters acquainted with it directly or through the facilitating accredited agency.
- 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 Central Authority in Ireland 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 Ireland 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 document is issued by the Central Authority of Ireland and is called a declaration of eligibility and suitability;
- Document certifying that the prospective adopters have not been deprived of their parental rights – issued by the Central Authority, the accredited agency or the State Child and Family Agency, after a check in the records of the National Police Service of Ireland;
- Home study report – issued by a competent social worker at the Health Service Executive or the accredited agency;
- Updated Home study report or a document certifying the lack of any changes in the circumstances described in the report – the authority competent to issue it is again a social worker from the Health Service Executive or the accredited agency;
- Documents about the adopters’ health condition – issued by a Doctor of Medicine;
- Documents regarding the adopters’ criminal record – issued by the National Police Service of Ireland;
- Marriage certificate (for married prospective adopters) – issued in the form of an extract from the Civil Registration Service;
- 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 Irish legislation:
Both married couples and single candidate-adopters can adopt a child. Two people can adopt together only if married. A compulsory requirement is that spouses live together. The following exceptions from that rule are possible: whenever they live apart as per a decision for legal separation; a decision or order, issued in another country, which has the same legal effect and is acknowledged in Ireland; one of the spouses has left the other candidate or one of the spouses has performed certain actions that have led to their separation and their living apart. Each of the candidate-adopters should have habitual place of residence in Ireland and should also have lived in the country in the last year prior to their application for adoption. As for candidate-adopters’ age, the only requirement introduced by the Irish legislation is for their minimum age – each of the candidate-adopters (including in a married couple) should have reached the age of 21 years. There is no requirement for maximum age or mandatory age difference with the adopted child.