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Information about the procedure of intercountry adoption of a child habitually resident in the Republic of Bulgaria
Only children included in the Register of children eligible for full adoption by persons habitually resident abroad, may be subject to intercountry adoption. Such Register is kept by the Ministry of Justice.
A child is included in the Register if, within 6 months after her/his inclusion in the national Register, less than three prospective adopters habitually resident in the Republic of Bulgaria were identified for such child and neither of such prospective adopters filed an adoption application, or when, despite the efforts made, no appropriate prospective adopter may be identified.
Twins are in general adopted together; they may be adopted separately only in exceptional cases. Siblings are also adopted together if they are emotionally attached to each other.-
Eligible to be an adoptive parent is a person of legal capacity who has not been deprived of parental rights and is at least fifteen years older than the adopted child. Nobody may be adopted by two persons, unless the latter are spouses. In each particular case, the Intercountry Adoption Council takes account of whether there is an appropriate age difference between the child and the prospective adopters.
A person habitually resident abroad who wishes to adopt a child habitually resident in Bulgaria, must submit an application together with supporting documents to the Ministry of Justice. The application is submitted by/through the Central Authority of the relevant country, or by/through an accredited organization authorized by the Minister of Justice to mediate in cases of intercountry adoption. The list of accredited organsations authorized by the Minister of Justice to mediate in cases of intercountry adoption is available on the official Ministry of Justice webpage: http://www.mjs.bg
The application must be signed by the applicant and it must have the content and be accompanied by documents listed in Ordinance No 3 of 24 October 2014 on the Terms and Procedure of Approving Intercountry Adoptions and Keeping Intercountry Adoption Registers. The application must contain the applicant’s basic personal details: name, nationality and citizenship, number of ID document, date and place of birth, country of habitual residence, permanent and current address, a brief history of the applicant’s family, information about the applicant’s economic and social situation, information about the characteristics of the desired child: sex, age, health; information about the foreign Central Authority or accredited organisation acting as intermediary for the prospective adoptive parent, including contact persons, address, phone, representation, the terms included in the authorization of the accredited organisation, and any other information relevant to the adoption (the adoptive parents’ preferences to the child could be listed)
The following documents are also attached to the application:
An adoption permit issued in accordance with the existing laws of the country of habitual residence; A document issued by the competent authority certifying that the prospective adoptive parent has never been deprived of parental rights; A Home Study Report on the prospective adoptive parent containing also information about his/her family’s members, including their health status; A health report on the prospective adoptive parent describing his or her physical and mental health, the absence of any serious chronic diseases, communicable venereal diseases, AIDS, tuberculosis and other life-threatening conditions. It is extremely important that medical reports refer to all items listed above. The Ministry of Justice only accepts medical reports issued no more than one year prior to their submission; A criminal record of the prospective adoptive parent; A document showing payment of the stamp duty collected for inclusion in the Register referred to in Art. 113(1), item 2 of the Family Code, amounting to BGN 100 (one hundred), payable by bank transfer to the Ministry of Justice bank account opened at the Bulgarian National Bank, Central Office, IBAN: BG09 BNBG 9661 30 001737 01, BIC: BNBGBGSD. Where prospective adoptive parents are married, they must also attach their ma5rriage certificate.
Pursuant to the requirement of Ordinance No 3/2014, all documents issued in foreign countries must be submitted in original along with a Bulgarian translation certified by the Bulgarian Embassy or Consulate in the country concerned. Documents which have been issued within the territory of a country that is signatory to the Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents and to which an “Apostille” has been attached, must be submitted in original together with a Bulgarian translation certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria.
In case of an application filed by or through an accredited organisation, a contract and a power of attorney, whereby the prospective adoptive parent authorizes such organization to act as intermediary in the intercountry adoption procedure, must also be submitted.
The application is reviewed within 30 days of receipt. If any inconsistencies in the application and/or the accompanying documentation, the Ministry of Justice gives guidance for these to be remedied within 30 days.
On the basis of the application and proper documents attached thereto, the prospective adoptive parent is included in the Register of adoptive parents habitually resident abroad who wish to adopt a child habitually resident in the Republic of Bulgaria under the conditions of full adoption.
The prospective adoptive parent annually confirms his/her wish to adopt a child habitually resident in Bulgaria, depending on the date of inclusion into the Register. Furthermore, no later than one month prior to the expiration of the permit attached to the case file, he or she must submit an updated document confirming his/her ability to adopt a child.
THE COUNCIL ON INTERNATIONAL ADOPTIONS
In order to be offered a child, the prospective adoptive parent must be approved by the Intercountry Adoption Council as being suitable to adopt a certain child from the Register of children eligible for full adoption by persons habitually resident abroad. The Intercountry Adoption Council is a permanent authority which meets on a weekly basis.
No later than 60 days after the inclusion of a child in the Register referred to in Art. 113(1), item 1 of the Family Code, the Intercountry Adoption Council reviews the applicants to select a suitable prospective adopter following the chronological order in which prospective adopters appear in the Register, their preferences and any circumstances of significance to the child’s interests. The children’s files are reviewed by the Council according to the chronological order in which they have been included in the Register, and are matched against the prospective adopters’ information and the conditions specified in the adoption permits. To select an adopter, the Council reviews all applicants suitable for the child concerned, and when making its decision the Council is also guided by the prospective adopter’s ability to ensure the physical, mental and social well-being of the child, as well as any information about the adopter’s personality and any other circumstances relevant to the adoption.
In cases where no suitable prospective adoptive parents have been included in the Register, or the International Adoption Council identifies no suitable adopters from among the persons registered, or the adopters selected have refused to adopt a child with a health issue, special needs or over seven years of age, the Minister of Justice takes special measures for the adoption of the child concerned by publishing information about the child’s specifics on the Ministry of Justice webpage.
The International Adoption Council makes a proposal to the Minister of Justice to approve a suitable adopter habitually resident abroad for each child included in the Register. If the Minister of Justice approves such proposal, he or she signs a certificate to initiate the adoption procedure (Art. 17 of the 1993 Hague Convention).
The certificate for initiation of the adoption procedure, together with a report about the child containing a full-height photo of the child, are sent to the Central Authority of the receiving State and to the Bulgarian accredited organization which acts as intermediary for the prospective adoptive parent.
Within two months after receiving the child report, the Central Authority of the receiving State that is a Hague Convention country, or an accredited organisation with delegated powers as per Art. 22 of the Hague Convention, must give a notification of approval or objection to initiate the adoption procedure for the child concerned.
Within the same two-month period, the Central Authority or the accredited organisation must submit the prospective adoptive parent’s written consent or refusal to adopt the child concerned. Prior to giving his or her consent, the prospective adoptive parent should have had a personal contact with the child for at least 5 days.
The consent must include the prospective adoptive parent’s statement that he or she is aware of the child’s health, is informed of the adoption effects (the effects of full adoption must be specified), has had a contact with the child, and agrees with the initiation of court proceedings.
Besides this consent, the Ministry of Justice must also receive the following:
A document issued by a competent authority certifying that the laws at the adoptive parents habitual residence do not allow for the child to be re-adopted while the existing adoption has not been dissolved, or a notarized declaration by the adoptive parent that the child will not be put up for re-adoption if the law thus permits; A notarized declaration by the adoptive parent that the child will not be subjected to experimental treatment, and that while the child is living, no parts of his or her body will be used as donor organs; A declaration that the adoptive parent’s consent is not related to any financial benefits; A document certifying payment of the stamp duty to the Ministry of Justice(in the amount of BGN 50); a document certifying that the competent authority in the country of the adoptive parent’s habitual residence will carry out post-adoption monitoring of the child concerned for a period of 2 years after adoption, in cases where the adoptive parent approved is habitually resident in a country which is not a Hague Convention country; The administrative procedure ends with an express written approval of the adoption issued by the Minister of Justice within 14 days after the submission of all documents required.
Within three days after the notification of the Minister of Justice’s written approval, the Ministry of Justice must receive an application addressed to the Sofia City Court to allow the adoption and a document showing payment of the stamp duty to the Court (in the amount of BGN 25). Within 7 days after the receipt of the above documents, the Ministry of Justice ex officio forwards the application and the case file to the Court.
The accredited organisation represents the adoptive parent before the court and submits to the Ministry of Justice a certified copy of the Court’s decision, which allows the adoption, within 7 days after such decision becomes final. Based on the court’s decision, the Minister of Justice issues a compliance certificate referred to in Art. 23 of the Convention of 29 May 1993.
For a period of two years after the adoption, the Central Authority or the respective accredited organisation submits a report on the child’s situation to the Ministry of Justice on a half-year basis. Such report must be prepared in accordance with the requirements of Ordinance No 3/2014, as cited above.