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Information and details of the procedure for international adoption of children residing in the Republic of Bulgaria

According to the Bulgarian law children can be adopted as an international adoption if they have been entered in the Register of children who may be adopted by persons residing abroad in terms of full adoption . This Register is kept by the Ministry of Justice.

The entrance in the Register could de done if within 6 months from the entry of the child in the National Register at least three candidate adopters usually residing in the Republic of Bulgaria have been nominated and no one of them has filed an application for his/her adoption or if in spite of the efforts is impossible to nominate an eligible candidate adoptive person./ is not possible to determine an appropriate adoptive parent.

Twins shall be adopted together only. As an exception, it shall be possible twins to be adopted separately, provided over 6 months within the entrance in the register under art.83 they could not be adopted together and provided their interests impose to do so. Siblings shall be adopted together, provided they are emotionally close to each other.

The Characteristics of children that can be adopted internationally can not be specified, but given the above conditions for entry in the Register kept by the Ministry of Justice can be concluded that there is not a small number of children in higher age and with specific characteristics in the development and health.

Eligible to adopt shall be only a legally able person, not deprived of his/her parental rights. The adoptive parent shall be at least fifteen years older than the adopted person. Adoption by two persons simultaneously shall be admitted only if they are spouses. No one shall be adopted by two persons simultaneously unless they are spouses.

Accordingly to the existing legislation, to begin the adoption procedure, a person usually residing abroad who wishes to adopt a child usually residing in Bulgaria, should file an application and attached documents with the Ministry of Justice.

The Application is filed by the Central Authority of the State or by an Accredited Organization authorized by the Minister of Justice to mediate in the area of international adoption. The application may be filed by the Central Authority or Accredited Organization. The list of Accredited Organizations authorized by the Minister of Justice for mediation in international adoptions is available on the official website of the Ministry of Justice - http://www.mjeli.government.bg.

The application should be signed by the sender, and have to have the content and the applications, established by Art. 6 of the Ordinance № 13 of 30/09/2009 laying down the procedures for giving consent to international adoption and for the maintenance of the Registers of international adoptions. The application should include a brief presentation of the adoptive parents - name, nationality and citizenship, number of identity document, date and place of birth, country of habitual residence, permanent and current address’ a brief history of the adoptive family, information about its economic and social situation, information about the Central Authority or Accredited Organization abroad which mediates to the prospective adoptive parent, including contact persons, address, phone, representation, conditions on the authorization of the accredited organization , and other circumstances which would be required for the adoption / as such may be determined the preference of the adoptive patents concerning the profile of the child to adopt. The application should be applied by the documents as follow :

- Authorization for adoption under the law of the State of habitual residence of the adoptive parent

- document issued by a competent authority attesting that the prospective adoptive parent is not deprived of parental rights;

- Social Report for the adoptive parent containing information about the members of his family, including their health;

- Document about the health of the adoptive parent, which reflects the physical and mental health of the person, the lack of serious chronic diseases, infectious venereal diseases, AIDS, tuberculosis and other life-threatening. It is important that the in medical certificates reflect exactly that content. The Ministry of Justice accepts medical certificates issued at most one year prior to their submission;

- Proof of conviction of the adoptive parent / criminal clearance/ ;
When prospective adoptive parents are family and need the presentation of a certificate of marriage.
When the application is submitted by or through an Accredited Organization a contract and a power of attorney for the implementation of mediation in the international adoption procedure have to be presented with this application.
When the adoptive parent habitually resides in a State which is not party to the Hague Convention is required by the Ministry of Justice an document issued by a competent authority certifying that the decision of the Bulgarian court for adoption will be recognized in the country of habitual residence of the adoptive parent, which is not a party to the Hague Convention;

It is important to bear in mind the disposal of Art. 6, paragraph. 8 of Ordinance № 13/2009 which requires that all foreign documents are presented in original and in translation into Bulgarian language, certified by the Bulgarian embassy or consulate in the country. Documents produced in the territory of a State Party to the Convention of 05.10.1961 on the elimination of the requirement of legalization for foreign public documents, and bearing an Apostille affixed shall be submitted in original and in translation in Bulgarian language, as certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria. The application shall be considered within 30 days of the receipt.

Upon finding deficiencies in the application or in the attached documents, the Ministry of Justice shall notify the central authority or Accredited Organization and gives instructions for their removal within 30 days of receipt of this notice. The notification contains an indication that the not rectification of the deficiencies within that period will cause the termination of the procedure.

Based on the correct application and on the attached documents in a good form and contain, the adoptive parent is entered in the Register of prospective adoptive parents, habitually residing abroad who wish to adopt a child habitually resident in the Republic of Bulgaria in terms of full adoption.

To obtain a proposal of a child the adoptive parent should be determined by the Council on International Adoptions as an appropriate to adopt a specific child from a Register of children who may be adopted by persons habitually residing abroad in terms of full adoption.

According to Art. 114, paragraph 1 of the Family Code, in the Ministry of Justice has established an International Adoption Council, which has important advisory powers in relation to intercountry adoption. This is an inter-ministerial body, consisting of a Chairman - Deputy Minister of Justice and Members - a representative of the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Science and Youth, Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the State Agency for Child Protection. The Chairman and members shall have one replacement to take part in council's work when they are unable to do so. Participation of representatives of different Ministries in the International Adoption Council ensures the existence of diverse expertise, which certainly is a prerequisite for better protection of the interests of the child. The Council of International Adoptions is a permanent body which meets weekly.

Within 60 days of the children entry into the Register under Art. 113, para. 1, section 1 of the Family Code, The Council on International Adoptions consider applications for the determination of appropriate adoptive parent under the order of entry in the Register of prospective adoptive parents, their preferences expressed and circumstances relevant to the interests of the child. The children’s files are considered by the Council on International Adoptions in order of their entry and are compared with data of the adoptive parents and the conditions contained in theirs permits for the adoption of a child/ the document of capability to adopt/. To determine the adoptive parent the Council on International Adoptions will consider all suitable candidates,. During of processes of taking its decision to determine an appropriate adoptive parent the Council is guided by the adoptive parent’s possibilities to provide physical, mental and social wellbeing, as well as by the information about the personality of the adoptive parent and the other circumstances material to the adoption. The assessment is carried out primarily on the basis of home study / the social reports / for adoption, prepared by the relevant Authorities.

Based on this assessment, the Council on International Adoptions takes a decision which contains data based about the child and the adoptive parents, brief reasons for its choice and make a proposal to the Minister of Justice to determine an appropriate adoptive parent, usually resident abroad for every child entered in the Children’s Register. / Register of children, eligible to be adopted under the conditions of full adoption by persons usually residing abroad .

If the designated appropriate adoptive parent is habitually resident in a State party to the Hague Convention, the central authority of the host country and accredited organization of art. SC 116 to send a certificate of consent of initiating the adoption procedure and a report of child art. 9, together with a photograph of the child to his full height. If necessary, may be granted and videos and other materials concerning the child

If the adoptive parent is residing in a State, party of the Hague Convention, the certificate of consent of initiating the adoption procedure, a report on the child, accompanied by photo of the child in full-length is sent to the Central Authority of the accepting State and the Accredited organization - intermediary.

Within two months of receiving the report of the child from the Central Authority of the accepting State, a part of the Hague Convention or by an Accredited Organization with delegated powers under Art. 22 of the Hague Convention, the Ministry of Justice should receive a notice of agreement or disagreement to initiate the procedure for adoption of this specific child.

The Ministry of Justice has to receive from the Central Authority or the Accredited Organization within this two-months period a written consent or denial of the adoptive parent for the adoption of this specific child. Before giving such consent, the adoptive parent must make contact with the child, whose duration is not less than 5 days. If the adoptive parent can not meet the child /due to illness, financial difficulties and emergency service commitments or difficulties in travel arrangements/, he shall submit a declaration with a notary signature, containing a statement that it accepts the risk of the origin and future physical and mental condition and development the child and the reason for the lack of contact.

The Ministry of Justice has to receive within the same two-months period others documents, which accompanied the written consent, as follow: -A document issued by a competent Authority certifying that accordingly to the law of the habitual residence of the adoptive parent is not permitted to adopte the child a second time until it has terminated the existing adoption or declaration by the adoptive parent with a notary's signature, that the child will not be re-adopted again if the law allows it;
- A declaration by the adoptive parent with a notary's signature, that the child willnot be a subjected to experimental treatment and that lifetime parts of his body will not be used for donor purposes;
- A statement that the consent given is not bound by material interest/ gain.
- Document for state fee paid (amounting to 50 leva);
- A document attesting that a competent authority in the country of habitual residence of the adoptive parent will carry a post placement observation of the specific child for 2 years from the admission of the adoption in cases under Article 12, paragraph 2 of Ordinance 13 of 30/09/2009;

The administrative procedure ends with the express written consent for the adoption given by the Minister of Justice within 14 days of submission of required documents.

Within three days starting from the notification of the written consent of the Minister of Justice a request to the Sofia City Court and a document for state fee paid, charged by the court pursuant to the Tariff of state fees collected by courts under the Civil Procedure Code (amounting to 25 lv). Have to be submitted to the Ministry of Justice. Within the period of seven days starting from their receipt the Ministry of Justice officially sents the request and all file in Sofia City Court

The Accredited Organization provides the representation of the adoptive parent to the Court and submittes to the Ministry of Justice a certified copy of a Court decision which admits the adoption within 7 - days from the date of its entry into force. On the basis of the Court decision the Minister of Justice shall issue a certificate under Art. 23 of the Convention for the Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, that the adoption is made in accordance with the Convention.

The Central Authority or the Accredited Organization shall submit to the Ministry of Justice every six months a report on the status of the child prepared by them, in the period of two years after the adoption procedure. The report must cover the requirements about form as spelled out in the said article. 6, paragraph. 8 of Ordinance № 13/2009.

When in the Register there is not appropriates prospective adoptive parents, or The Council on International Adoption can not identify appropriated prospective adoptive parents between the adoptive parents entered in the Register or the determined prospective adoptive parents have refused to adopt the proposed child with health problems, special needs or over the age of seven years, the Minister of Justice shall take the following specific measures:

1. publishes every month from the 25 th to the 30 th day on the official website of the Ministry's general information for each child;

2. provides information and detailed data base about the specifics of the particular child under item 1, to the Accredited Organization which has been granted for mediation by the Minister of Justice when this Organization applied to the Ministry of Justice. If necessary, can be given and photo of the child. The application shall be accompanied by a declaration signed before a notary that the information and photo will be used only as intended.

The Accredited Organization to which they are provided materials and documents of a child from the list of the site is obliged to return them, if within two months of the receipt of the information the Ministry of Justice has not received an application from prospective adoptive parent to proceed for an adoption. This application/ request to adopt a child shall be considered immediately.

The information about children under item 1 may be provided to a Central body or to a Foreign Accredited Organization nominate by the Central body an under a contract signed for this purpose.

Under this order quoted above is realized the shortest administrative procedure of child’s adoption - 6 months. Adoption of a child under the general procedure is usually takes far more time, as the period is not influenced by the nationality of the adoptive parents, but by the characteristics of the child they wish to adopt.