Step-by-step adoption procedure in Bulgaria:
- The Portuguese organization will send us the dossier with all the required registration documents.
- Once the dossier has been received and translated, our team will submit it to the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice along with an initial application. Then, the candidates will be enrolled in a Register, which is effectively a waiting list for adoptive parents. This enrolment should take place within 2 months of FNA receiving the documents, provided they are in the proper form.
- The waiting period for a child proposal is counted from the enrolment in the Register and will vary in each case. The timeframe depends on the children currently available (e.g. age, gender, health condition) and the candidates on the waiting list (overall preferences, desired age, number of candidates).
- The Adoption Council will review applications by order of enrolment, and will match candidates to appropriate children. Once a referral has been made, the “Child Proposal” pack of documents will be received by FNA and will be translated and passed on to the candidates. It will include a Child Proposal Certificate, a full-length photo and detailed report about the child.
- The next step is for the candidates to meet the child. This will take place in the course of 5 working days, during which a specialist from our team will accompany and provide support to the candidate-adopters.
- If the candidate-adoptive parents refuse to adopt the child, the waiting period starts over again. However, they may keep their place in the line if they have not been informed about significant health problems of the child, if the proposed child’s characteristics clearly do not match the family’s initial wish and in case the candidates have applied for a child with a special need and have subsequently decided not to adopt them.
- If the candidate-adoptive parents agree to adopt the child, they will have to sign the relevant documents given by FNA – usually while here in Bulgaria. To proceed further, a “Certificate of consent for proceeding with the adoption” issued by the Ministry of Labour and Social Solidarity. Then, we will submit the documents to the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice for the issuanse of the final consent of the Minister of Justice.
- The dossier will then be sent to Sofia City Court and an attorney-at-law from our team will represent the candidate-adoptive parents in court as well as perform all procedural actions until the court decree enters into power.
- When the adoption decree becomes effective (7 days after the judgement is enacted), FNA will help obtain a Certificate of Completion, a new birth certificate and passport of the child.
- The adoptive parents will then have to travel to Bulgaria to pick up their child and finalize the passport issuing procedure. They will travel back home afterwards.
- The FNA will need four post-adoption reports on the child’s development and well-being within the course of 2 years after adoption.
Current partner: Bem Me Queres
Documents, necessary for the registration of candidate-adoptive parents:
- “Permission for adoption” issued by the Social Security Authorities;
- “Certificate” (stating that the candidate-adoptive parents have not been prohibited to exercise their parental rights) issued by the Portuguese organization or other competent authority;
- “Home Study” prepared by a social worker at the Social Security Authority;
- In case the home study report is issued more than one year prior to submission, an updated HS report or a document, confirming that there are no significant changes in the circumstances, described in the HS report is required;
- “Medical Certificates” for the candidates. In the medical certificate, the doctor's signature and seal have to be notary certified (so the notary's seal, signature,etc. should practically follow the doctor's signature on the medical certificate).
- Criminal record clearances for the candidates;
- Marital status certificate (for married couples);
- “Authorization of Representation” by the candidate-adoptive parents to Family National Association;
- Declaration of Information according to Art. 20, Clause 10 of Ordinance No.2/2014;
- Declaration about the characteristics of the desired child(ren) and the adoptive parents' motivation;
All documents must be sent in original and apostilled.
Requirements to the candidates
Bulgarian legislation does not set any significant restrictions to the candidate-adoptive parents. They must be above 18 years of age, to be at least 15 years older than the adoptive child and to meet all requirements of the applicable Portuguese laws. This is the rule stated in the Family Code but the Intercountry Adoption Council firmly abides by the following age criterion: "There should not be more that 50 years age difference between the adoptee and the younger spouse in a married couple and there should not be more that 55 years age difference between the adoptee and the older spouse in a married couple. When a child is adopted by a single adopter, the lower age difference (of 50 years) should be considered."
Single candidates can also apply for adoption.
Portuguese law requires the following:
- Two people can adopt together only if they are married, provided that they have been married for at least four years without being separated. Both applicants should have turned the age of 25 years.
- Single person who wish to adopt a child must have reached the age of 30 years. In case of adoption of spouse's child, the adoptive parent should have reached the age of 25 years.
- Only a person who is under the age of 50 at the time of placement can adopt via full adoption. This limitation does not apply in case of adoption of a spouse's child.
There is a requirement for a maximum age difference between the adoptive parent and the adoptee, which should not exceed 50 years. This difference may be exceeded only if important reasons require this, for example: adoption of siblings, where the difference with regards to one or some of them exceeds 50 years. The maximum age difference is not applied in case of adoption of a spouse's child.