Adopting a Bulgarian Child

June 10, 2022 – Welcome Home!

Congrats to our adoptive family, Daniel and Alexandra, for flying home today with their son! No adoption process is ever “easy”, but each one is worth it at the end.  It is the middle part that you need perserverence and patience for!  Now let us share some happy photos and videos celebrating their adoption journey from Bulgaria! 

Alex and Daniel arrive in Sofia to pick up their son.
dad and son leaving orphanage.
Adopted child the day after having left the orphanage.

36 Months From Start to Finish

As we all know 2020 shocked all of us and caused several delays on multiple levels.  The family being in NY didn’t really help.  Their path wasn’t always easy, but they leaned on their faith and they pushed through.  Now, it is all worth it! 

A traditional Bulgarian adoption for a 7 year old, in the middle of Covid, in under 3 years, is something to be grateful for!

Check out their timeline below. 

Finish Home Study11 MonthsJune 2020
Get CIS Approval4 Months LaterAugust 2020 (Possible Covid Delays)
Dossier Submitted to Bulgaria6 Months LaterFebruary 2021 (Possible Covid Delays)
Official Match Received7 Months LaterSeptember 2021
First Trip (Skype)2 Months Later October 2021
Pick Up Trip7 Months Later May 2022
Total36 Months 

See Other Parents' Timelines

We have a few other families who are happy to share their stories and their timelines.  To see how long it took them to adopt, please see:

Jessica and Jeremy's story

Sam and Stacie's story

Monica and Manuel's

Ana's story

Christian and Cassandra's

Daniel and Alexandra's

Megan and Mike's

Paul and April's


Adopting From Bulgaria Post Covid

We loved serving this family and watching them hold fast to their faith during the uncertainties related to Covid in the middle of their process.   

It was also a pleasure to work with their home study agency, Hillside who managed to carry out the necessary home study visits when NY was on lock down during Covid.  Thank you for a job well done!

We are also grateful to the Bulgarian Central Authority and US Embassy in Sofia who allowed Zoom visits for the first trip. 

One very positive thing was that the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice  took only 7 months to propose a referral which the family accepted! Thank you MoJ

Daniel and Alexandra’s Steps

adoption contract

Step 1 – June, 2019 – Contract

In June of 2019, the family signed our agency’s contract for a traditional adoption through Bulgaria.  This initiated their process and we set out to help them meet eligibility requirements and the home study for a  Bulgarian adoption.

CIS approval for adoption.

Step 2 – August 2020 – CIS Approval

Along with their home study, they turned in their I800-A Application to CIS who, as a result, issued their CIS approval.  This approval is a key document needed for your  approval in Bulgaria.

Though the family was done with their home study by June of 2020, they did not receive their CIS approval until August as 2020 wasn’t the most regular year.

Bulgarian Government approval for adoption.

Step 3 – Feb 2021 – Dossier to BG

6 months later, the family’s entire dossier including their CIS Approval and approved home study (or home study for expats) was sent to Bulgaria to be translated and submitted with the Bulgarian Central Authority (CA).   

Bulgarian adoption referral.

Step 4 – September 2021 – Referral

One of the most awesome things about this adoption is that the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice offered a referral to the family in only 7 months.  The family accepted!  They agreed to proceed with the next steps of the adoption!

Usking Skype to talk to adoptive child during Covid.

Step 5 – October 2021 – Zoom with Child

During Covid, the Bulgarian authorities, with the approval of the US Embassy, allowed for parents to make first contact with their children through Skype. These initial contacts are carried out much like as if they were in person, with there being an official representative of the orphanage during the calls. Often times the child’s caregiver, or a social worker, or a child psychologist will be in attendance.  In attendance also are our partner’s representatives who are there to translate and help facilitate the process.

In this case, the family’s Skype date was given very quickly, only about 2 weeks after they said “yes” to their child. 

USCIS home study update.

Step 6 – Nov, 2021 – Home Study Update

Along with their home study, they turned in their I800-A Application t who, as a result, issued their When you receive your CIS approval., it is good for 15 months.  In order to finalize your adoption, you need to have a valid CIS approval.  As such, the family needed to update their CIS approval in between trips, or in their case, after their Skype Trip.  CIS issued an updated approval and the family were able to go on their second trip to pick up their son. 

This step isn’t necessarily applicable to all adoptions.  It is dependent upon the family’s timeline.  Here is more info if you’d like to understand what is required for a Home Study Update.

Mom and her adopted son leaving Bulgaria.

Step 7 – June, 2022 – Pick Up Trip

The last step in the process is going to Bulgaria to pick up your child. At this time, the adoptive parents are legal guardians already. As such, when they go to the orphanage, they leave it with their child! 

Watching our families walk out of the orphanage with their kids is our favorite thing in the world!  

Post Adoption Pictures

Bulgaria requires 5 post adoption reports.  First one is when you first come back, at 2 weeks.  Then it is at 6 months, 12 months, 18 months and 24 months.  These reports are typically done by the same social worker who helped you through the home study and advised you while you were first bonding with your child.  The social worker is considered a life long help and these visits can be used to get good advice on family and child specific things.  The reports are also sent to the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice.  We love sharing pictures of our families who are back home.  To Christ the glory for how well this family is doing. Enjoy the pictures!

Adopted boy playing with his dog.
Adopted family baptize their son.
Dad and his adopted son snowtubing.
Bulgarian boy enjoying life in America after adoption.
Making a snowman with his dad.
Son and dad lifting weights together.
Travel Guide for Sofia.

Sofia Travel Guide

Alexandra, the adoptive mom specifically emailed us and said she wanted to share this travel guide for Sofia that she found helpful.  Very sweet of her!  Thanks Alex!   

See Our Families’ Adoptions

Christian and Sandra's Story

Finished adoption in 27 months.

Monica and Manny's Story

Finished adoption in 25 months

Jeremy and Jessica's Story

Finished adoption in 20 months

Stacy and Sam's Story

Finished adoption in 18.5 months

Lori's Story

Finished adoption in 18 Months

Ana' Story

Finished adoption in 20 months.

Paul and April's Story

Finished adoption in 28 months

Mike and Megan's Story

Finished adoption in 28 months

Understanding The Cost

With our agency, which we believe is unique, the cost of the adoption becomes due on your own timetable, not ours.  We call this a floating fee structure”

We also offer 37 month financing which lets you make a fixed monthly payment for 37 months.  Some of our parents love this option because it lets them spend less money before they can qualify for grants.

Getting the adoption tax credit also helps parents with the cost of international adoption.

Learn More About Orphanages in Bulgaria

See this blog with 3 separate adoptive parents share their thoughts on what the orphanage is like?

See Lori’s Interview from 2017.

See Jessica’s Interview from 2019. 

See Christian and Cassie’s Interview from 2021.

Continue Your Adoption Research

We are humbled to have over 21 years of experience with Bulgarian and Polish international adoption.  Let our experience enrich your research.  The answers to these questions about the process are written through experience and know how.  Sometimes the answers may surprise you for the better.  Text us or call us with any questions.  704 527 7673.

Saint Mary International Adoptions has over 21 years of experience helping people adopt.