After you have spoken with a Bulgaria program point and have reviewed the Policies and Requirements and feel like you meet these qualifications you will complete and return to Lifeline the Doctrinal Statement, Christian Questionnaire, and application. You can access the application online.
Fill out the application, doctrinal statement, and Christian Questionnaire and return these documents to Lifeline with the $250.00 application fee. This fee covers the costs associated with opening and maintaining your adoption file, as well as retaining the services of our international consultant. This fee is non-refundable. Please see the fee schedule for a breakdown of estimated expenses.
You will be contacted by the Lifeline office once the application and application fee have been completed and received. The next steps are a welcome call, orientation interview, and the beginning of the home study process.
If you are pursuing adoption of a waiting special needs child you will have to complete a preliminary application for that child to be filed with the MOJ, so that the child could be kept on hold for you while you are completing your home study and USCIS process and gathering your Bulgaria dossier. This is typically done after your first home study visit. Lifeline will provide advise you on how to complete these documents.
Bulgaria Adoption Process
You will receive a Bulgaria adoption manual that will divide your adoption process into steps: home study, immigration, and dossier. Depending on your state of residence you will begin the home study process with a social worker from Lifeline or you will begin the process with a Hague Agency in your state. If you are not from Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, South Carolina, or Washington State, Lifeline will help you locate a Hague Accredited Agency in your state. There is documentation that needs to be completed between Lifeline and the agency preparing your home study that Lifeline will provide.
The Lifeline Bulgaria program coordinator will help coordinate the steps of the Bulgaria process from home study to travel and will assist you in obtaining all necessary documents.
Once your dossier has been set to Bulgaria it will be reviewed, translated, and authenticated by the Bulgaria team. They will file it officially with the Ministry of Justice. The MOJ will review your dossier. If everything is in correct order you will be officially approved to adopt from Bulgaria.
Travel to Bulgaria
Adopting from Bulgaria is a two trip process being in country 6-7 days on trip 1 and about 12 days on trip 2. It will be longer if you are adopting more than one child located in separate orphanages. The time frame between both trips is typically three to six months, and during that time your court process takes place. Our Bulgaria team will be in close contract as we prepare for travel of both trips.
After the court decree is issued a new birth certificate and international passport of the child are issued. Adoptive parent(s) should be present for the filing of the passport for their child. The passport usually takes about 3 business days to be issued and during that time the adoptive family and child are just waiting for the passport to be issued. It is usually 3-6 months after the first trip when the child is ready to be picked up by you. Due to change in policy, escorting may no longer be an option.
Bulgaria requires that at least one parent travel on both trips. During your stay in Bulgaria you will be accompanied by our Bulgaria team which speaks excellent English. Your Bulgaria fees cover all the travel within the country. The first trip to Bulgaria usually takes about 6-7 days and is to take place after receiving the official referral. During this trip, you will complete at least 5 visits with your child in their orphanage. The second trip, to pick up your child, is about 12 days long, depending on the results of the child’s TB test.
We feel that it is very important for both parents to travel. It will help you to gain a greater understanding of your child’s birth country and culture, which will serve to help your child understand and value his/her origins. It also serves the children better for attachment and bonding purposes.
It is necessary to have a passport to travel to Bulgaria. You do not need a visa to travel to Bulgaria. Adoption travel is not a vacation. Travel within Bulgaria may not be easy or relaxing. It may be extremely exhausting as you deal with jet lag and caring for a new child who may not adjust very easily.
Once you return from Bulgaria with your child, your social worker will contact you about setting up post-placement meetings. Four post placement reports are required after the child is placed in your home. Reports are due at the following times: 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, and the final report due at 24 months. These reports will need to be notarized and apostilled before sending them to Bulgaria. The Lifeline Bulgaria coordinator will help you with this task.
Finalization & Citizenship
For Bulgaria, the adoptions are finalized in the Bulgarian court. If both of you traveled to spend time with the child prior to the adoption, the child becomes automatically a US citizen upon arrival on US soil. In this case IH-3 immigrant visa is issued to your child. (In this case your will receive the COC or certificate of Citizenship within approximately 60 days of arriving in the U.S.)