Step-by-step description of the process of adoption from Bulgaria:
- The partnering agency sends to “Family National Association” the dossier of the candidate-adopters, which includes all the documents required for their registration in the legally required form;
- 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, who provide them to the candidate-adopters. 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 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 Malta 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 and gaining permission for the adopted child to enter Malta. The permission for the child to enter and permanently reside on the territory of Malta is issued by the Central Authority. There are some specific requirements in order for this permission to be granted. The Public Health Regulation Division at the Ministry for Social Policy of Malta requires that a detailed medical report is prepared for each adopted child. The report should be accompanied by photo and video material, the results from recent blood tests for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV I & II, information about the laboratory methods that were used in performing the required tests and a copy of the current license of the laboratory where the tests were performed. Once the medical report and the information about the child is presented, unless the child has HIV, which is an absolute obstacle for him/her to be permitted to enter and reside in Malta, the permit document is issued and the adopters can enter the country together 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;
Specific requirements regarding the documents for inscription in the register that are prepared for candidate-adopters with habitual place of residence in Malta:
- Permission for adoption – issued by the Director of the Central Authority of Malta in the form of a certificate of eligibility and suitability to adopt for the respective candidate-adopters;
- Document certifying that the prospective adopters have not been deprived of their parental rights – issued by the Central Authority of Malta in the form of a certificate.
- Home study report – issued by a competent social worker at an accredited organization;
- 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 an accredited agency;
- Documents about the adopters’ health condition – issued by a Doctor of Medicine;
- Documents regarding the adopters’ criminal record – issued by the Police Criminal Records Office at the Police General Headquarters in Floriana in the form of conduct certificates.
- Marriage certificate (for married prospective adopters) – issued in the form of an extract from the Public registry;
- 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
Requirements towards candidate-adopters as per the Maltese legislation:
As per the Maltese legislation candidate-adopters who have reached the minimum age of 28 years can apply for adoption. There is no requirement regarding the candidate-adopters’ maximum age. Both married couples and single candidates can apply. Whenever the candidates are spouses, there is a compulsory requirement for them to live together and the age criteria are considered satisfied if at least one of the spouses meets them. There are also requirements for minimum and maximum age difference between adopters and adoptees – the age difference between them should be at least 21 years and should not exceed 45 years. Exceptions in relation with the age difference between adopters and adoptees are possible in cases where some significant reasons necessitate them, such as adoption of sibling groups where the age difference is present at least for one of the children and the adoption is considered to be in the best interest of the siblings. The age difference requirements are not compulsory in cases where a person of full legal age is adopting their own child.