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Bulgaria is open to international adoptions, but they are not happening quickly. The number of applications exceeds the number of children available by ten to one. Under the 2003 adoption law, a Bulgarian child is eligible for intercountry adoption only after three domestic families have declined to adopt him.

Bulgaria ratified the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption in 2002.

According to Sophia Echo, June 19, 2003, the Bulgarian parliament has approved adoption reforms which will allow foreigners to adopt a Bulgarian child only if suitable Bulgarian adoptive parents are not found after three attempts in six months. Regional social assistance departments will keep registers of adoptable children and decide on suitable adoptive parents.

Sophia Echo said on July 3, 2003 that President Georgi Purvanov has returned amendments to the Family Code for further consideration in Parliament. He said it was a better idea to have a single national database of adoptable children, rather than registers kept by social assistance offices.

According to a Feb. 14, 2004 article in EU Business, Bulgaria, seeking to join the European Union by 2007, is improving conditions in its orphanages, and aiming to pass laws so as to comply with the Hague Convention.

On April 25, 2005 Bulgaria signed agreements in Luxembourg to join the European Union in 2007, conditional on political and economic reforms.

On May 16, 2006 the European Union said that the Bulgarian government needs to crack down more on crimes such as baby trading and drug smuggling if it wants to gain EU membership on Jan. 1, 2007. []

In about July 2006 the U.S. Embassy in Sofia summarized the adoption situation.
-- In July 2003, the Bulgarian Parliament passed a new adoption law requiring adoptive parents to apply to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ). To do so, they must use an agency licensed by MOJ, either an American or a Bulgarian agency.
-- MOJ started implementing the law in September 2004. It opened a register of all Bulgarian children eligible for foreign adoption.
-- A Bulgarian child is eligible for intercountry adoption only if three Bulgarian families have declined to adopt him.
-- MOJ enters the names of prospective adoptive parents into another register.
-- MOJ reports there are about 1,200 applicants from North America and Europe on the waiting list but very few children available. There are only 120 eligible children, 80% of whom have medical conditions. Priority goes to parents willing to adopt a child with a medical condition.
-- For fiscal year 2005 the embassy issued visas to 29 Bulgarian orphans adopted by American families, and is currently processing 1-2 visas a month. This reflects an ongoing decline in foreign adoptions in Bulgaria -- there were 110 such visas in 2004, and 198 in 2003. (Bulgaria is being encouraged by the European Union to reduce foreign adoptions and to find other ways to place orphans and neglected children.)

On July 18, 2006 Joint Council for International Children's Services noted that Bulgaria is currently allowing adoptions by U.S. citizens on a limited basis. While Bulgaria is not technically closed for adoptions, the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria issued visas for only 29 children to be adopted to the U.S. in 2005.

Bloomberg reported on Sept. 26, 2006 that Bulgaria had fully met European standards and would join the European Union on Jan. 1, 2007. It would benefit from billions of euros in subsidies and expand the world's largest trading bloc to 27 countries.


For resources on Bulgarian adoption, see Adoption Resource Central, Country-specific Resources.

For more on adoption in Bulgaria, see Canadian Guide to Intercountry Adoption.

Find an agency for Bulgaria: use Agency Chooser,

Descriptions of agency programs are at

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Country News is written by Robin Hilborn,
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Updated June 1, 2007

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