Bulgaria Adoption - FAQ


Step 1 - Viewing Waiting Children

View Waiting Children

Careful when doing that.  Understand that not all countries are made the same.  Neither are all agencies.  More often than not, you would not qualify to adopt a child prior to having your paperwork ready.  This means an approved home study, a CIS approval, and a dossier.  That takes atleast 6 months, usually.   No point in falling in love with a child prior to having that paperwork. 

Bulgaria is an exception to this rule, because the Bulgarian MOJ will give future parents the benefit of the doubt that they will in fact complete those requirements.  If the MOJ approves your application to adopt a child listed on their list, they will take the child off the list for 6 months – while you work to get your CIS approval and other papers.  If you fail to do so, the planned adoption would not continue. 

Understand that this permission is done at a government leverl, not agency level.  Agencies don’t have that authority.    Agencies have not authority to “hold” a child until you become approved.  So as you are researching ask these questions.    We do not charge adotpive parents if they wish to apply directly with the MOJ about any given child.  

To learn more, or to set up a time to chat with someone about this process in more detail, please contact us here.

Step 2 - Consult With a Doctor

Consult with an MD

Consulting with a doctor is always a good idea.  Whether you purse “traditional process” or the “waiting child adoption process”, getting a medical opinion about the child’s special needs is something you should do.  

Children who are on the waiting lists will sometimes be on these lists because their needs are more severe than other children.  That is more reason to make sure that you are not acting on impulse, but that you’ve done what you can to prepare yourselves for some of the struggles ahead of you in helping your child overcome whatever issues he or she may be dealing with.  

Don’t rush into a life long decision without talking to a doctor.  

To learn more, or to set up a time to chat with someone about this process in more detail, please contact us here

Step 3 - Bulgarian MOJ Application

 Prepare Application for Bulgarian Ministry of Justice

So, don’t fall in love with a child who may or may not be there.  Don’t rush in on an impulse.  Along with that, be aware of agencies who make it seem as if though you need to send in your application and fee very quickly because there is another family who might do it any minute.  

Though, it is true that there are other adoptive parents who may adopt a child you’re considering, don’t worry.  Don’t worry because God has a plan for you and your family.  He is not going to mess it up if you’re a “few days late”.   Besides, no agency has the legal right to “secure” a child for you.  These children are under the jurisdiction of foreign countries’ governments.  

The Bulgarian Ministry of Justice has an application.  Before you even become our client, we’ll give you this application.  You’ll fill it out.  We’ll submit it to Bulgarian Central Authority – Ministry of Justice.  If they approve it, then we can help you. Then we’ll ask you to become our client.  Then, we’ll give you our application which is the first time a fee is due to the agency ($300).  

After we approve your application, then we continue with the agency’s contract and the fee due with that.   However, we don’t want to lead you on, charge you for services which aren’t really ours to provide.  We’ll want to be certain that we’ll be able to help you adopt the child that you want to adopt before we accept you as a client.  

To learn more, or to set up a time to chat with someone about this process in more detail, please contact us here

Step 4 - Bulgarian MOJ Application

MOJ Approves Your Application.

Again, these children who are waiting are under the jurisdiction of their perspective governments.  Agencies don’t have the right to “hold children”.  If any one can hold a child, that is the Central Authority of the foreign country.  

Bulgaria is about the only country, at least in that region, that will agree to hold a child for 6 months at the promise that the adoptive parents will use these 6 months to become paperwork ready.  Most other countries, including Poland, don’t do this.  

Naturally, as with most things you do through the government, there is a paper trail from the Central Authority to you that your application has been approved and that you’ll get 6 months to put together your papers.  We’ll do this for you before we accept you as our client because we want to make sure that there is a point in us to accept you – that is we want to make sure we can help you first, before there is a charge. 

To learn more, or to set up a time to chat with someone about this process in more detail, please contact us here

Step 5 - MOJ Takes Child Off List

MOJ Takes Child Off List 

These explanations may seem repetitive, but we’ve done adoptions for over 17 years now and we hate it when we talk to people who tell us that they’ve been gravely disappointing because they couldn’t adopt a waiting child.  That is why we want to emphasize the importance of understanding the waiting child adoption process.  

Bulgarian Central Authority – Ministry of Justice, per Hague laws and standards, is the authority or competent commission that decides what is in the child’s best interest.  It is upto them to approve you.  It is upto them to hold the child and take the child off the list.  Most countries don’t do this unless you’ve been approved by the US government – CIS approval. Once your application is approved, we will accept you as a client and begin to help you to acquire the necessary paperwork you will need to complete your adoption of the waiting child.

To learn more, or to set up a time to chat with someone about this process in more detail, please contact us here

Step 6 - Apply to St. Mary's Bulgaria Program

Apply to St. Mary’s

You would apply to hire our agency to walk you through the process only after we’ve gotten the approval of the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice.  To us, when there is a waiting child, we want to make sure we can help you before we provide any services for you.  So there are no fees prior to obtaining the Bulgarian Central Authority’s approval to proceed. Then the rest of the way, we go forward with the Agency’s application and contract.  

To learn more, or to set up a time to chat with someone about this process in more detail, please contact us here

Step 7 - Prepareing Paperwork

Preparing Paperwork

So, even though Bulgaria is trusting you to complete the required documents and taking the child’s profile off the waiting list, you still have to get there.   Without a CIS approval and a finished dossier, you can’t complete the adoption.  So once you’ve completed the application and contract, we’ll get on the paperwork right away.

We’ll help you finish it within the time frame that is allowed.  We have helped people adopt since 2001 – so we know a thing or two about making things easier for you! 

To learn more, or to set up a time to chat with someone about this process in more detail, please contact us here

Step 8 - Meeting You Child

Meeting Your Child 

So, once we’ve finished the home study and obtained the CIS approval and have completed the dossier, we will submit your file to the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice and request that you make the first trip to visit your child.  

This trip will depend on the Bulgarian Central Authority, but will likely be within a month of getting the CIS approval.  This trip will be about 5 – 7 days in length.  Our representatives will pick you up from the airport and take you through the next steps in the process.  You’ll meet the representatives from the Ministry of Justice and then you’ll meet your child! 

To learn more, or to set up a time to chat with someone about this process in more detail, please contact us here

Step 9 - Picking Your Child Up

Second and Final Trip 

The second and final adoption trip is again about 5 – 7 days in length typically.  You will go back to Bulgaria about 3 – 5 months later to pick your child up.  This is the final trip before you come back home for good. 

To learn more, or to set up a time to chat with someone about this process in more detail, please contact us here


Step 1 - Apply With Our Agency

Apply With Our Agency

After deciding that adoption is what you’d like to pursue, the two biggest questions that follow are what country and what agency?  You should probably look at country first, since different countries have different requirements, like age, that may not work for you.  Then agency is a big one also.  Different agencies work very differently from one another. 

You would be surprised as to how different your experience can be based on the agency you select.  We’re specialized and focused on 2 countries in close proximity to each other.  We have nearly 20 years of experience with each and we confident that we know how to help our parents navigate through their process for each.  

– Back to Bulgaria Main Page or contact us here.

Step 2 - Do Paperwork

Prepare Adoption Paperwork

Preparing your paperwork is the first way you’ll experience that agencies do things differently.   With us, you will work with person that tells you about the process before you become a client.  That person will be your contact the whole time, from start to finish.  You will not get passed on to others as you advance thru the process.   Prepareing the paperwork, in addition to being a legal task, is also important in terms of cultural interpretation.  Preparing the paperwork in mind with how a country works and what it wants to see is a big step.  

That is why being an expert on few countries rather offering many is a business strategy that we have chosen.  We think it allows us to serve our clients better. 

Our president and founder is Bulgarian born and educated.  That gives the agency an even deeper understanding of Bulgaria in particular and Eastern Europe as a region. 

– Back to Bulgaria Main Page or contact us here.

Step 3 - Apply to CIS

Submit Home Study to CIS 

First major milestone is to get the approval of USCIS.  Consistent with the laws guiding your international adoption, an approval from government is needed in order for you to be considered by the foreign government.  Therefore, once prepared, your home study is turned into USCIS.  USCIS will do their own fingerprints (in addition to the ones we ran on you) and based on our social worker’s recommendation, will issue their approval for you as adoptive parents.   This document plays a key role of your dossier. 

In addition to meeting state and federal requirements, the home study that you are submitting to CIS must also meet the foreign country’s requirements.  

– Back to Bulgaria Main Page or contact us here.

Step 4 - Dossier to MOJ

Submit Your Dossier to MOJ 

Upon obtaining your CIS approval and finishing the rest of your dossier (with our help), you will submit it all to the foreing country’s government authority that oversees the adoption procedures.  Similar to CIS role here, MOJ is the government body that oversees the adoption proceedings in Bulgaria.  Your file is translated and authenticated in Bulgaria by our representatives and listed with the MOJ.  MOJ gives you an acceptance notice stating that they’ve got your dossier and your waiting has officially began. 

Our attorneys in Bulgaria have even more experience than us, and have handled adoptions prior to 2001.  They know what they’re doing in terms of preparing your file.   Lina, our founder, has known them since before starting the agency. 

– Back to Bulgaria Main Page or contact us here.

Step 5 - Wait to Accept Your Child

Wait to Be Matched with a Child.

This step is probably one of the least fun ones.  You’re done with all the work and now can focus on the waiting.  We realize that can be difficult on our parents.  With Bulgaria, you do have quite a bit of input in regards to the type of child you are willing to adopt. 

Along with the submission of your “dossier” is a medical questionnaire that asks, which if any, special needs you are willing to take on.  Logically, the more open you are, the less of a wait there could be.  However, we’ve found that Bulgaria attracts adoptive parents who are looking to adopt a child who is as healthy as possible.  Becuase of the input that adoptive parents are allowed to give, they can choose to wait a long time if they want to exclude certain medical diagnosies. 

Not many countries are that precise as Bulgaria is. 

– Back to Bulgaria Main Page or contact us here.

Step 6 -Travel to Meet Your Child

Meeting Your Child.

As we noted that waiting might not be the most fun, meeting your child most certainly is a lot of fun. 

Once your file has been selected (by MOJ) for a particular child, you are asked if you will accept that child.  You have 2 weeks to decide.  You may consult a doctor, if you like.  If you accept, and say “yes”, it is time to go meet your child. 

Bulgaria requires 2 short trips.  Trip 1 will be about a month or two after you’ve accepted your child.  You will fly into Sofia and go to the region where the child is.  You will visit them in the orphanage every day.    Our representatives will pick you up at the airport and make all necessery arrangements.  

– Back to Bulgaria Main Page or contact us here.

Step 7 - Wait 3 - 6 Months

Wait to Go Back.

After you’ve met your child, you confirm that you want to proceed with the adoption.   The remaining procedures require that a Bulgarian judge approves the adoption. The judge will be presented with all of the approved paperwork by each government, US and Bulgarian, and a case will be made on your behalf. 

The good news is that you don’t have to appera before a Bulgarian judge yourself.  That is done for you by our attorenys through a Power of Attorney.  In many countries, including Poland, you have to be present for the court hearing.  Not necessery in Bulgaria, which does make things easier.  It is part of the reason that the country’s process allows for such short trips.  Upto 6 months is usually what it takes for our Bulgraian attorneys to move your case forwward before you go back to pick your child up. 

– Back to Bulgaria Main Page or contact us here.

Step 8 - Trip 2 - Pick Your Child Up

Picking Up Your Child

Yes! You can see the finish line.  It is time to go pick your child up.   Your second trip is also only about 7 days.   Your child will automatically become a US citizen upon entering the United States.   Post adoption reports for Bulgaria will be due every 6 months for 3 years. 

– Back to Bulgaria Main Page or contact us here.

Combine “Waiting Child” and “Traditional”

Step 1 - Apply With Our Agency

Combine “Traditional” and “Waiting Child”

Ultimately, in order to adopt from Bulgaria, you have to prepare the SAME amount of paperwork.  

So, with our agency, we will let you switch or pursue both routes at the same time.  No fee to change or switch.  

– Back to Bulgaria Main Page or contact us here.

Affording Adoption Cost


Financing Your Adoption Cost 

Charlotte, where our office is located is one of the biggest banking centers in the United States. 

Our Operations Manger has found options through a local bank that gives adoptive parents financing options that are pretty good.  

These options were implemented in May of 2017.  We already have several adoptive parents take advantage of them. 

To learn more about how you can spread the cost of adoption into a monthly payment, please contact Nick.  704 527 7673. 

To learn more about financing your adoption cost, click here.

Payment Plans

Payment Plans

At the agency level, without involing a financial institutions, we work with our parents to give them additional time in between payments.  

For example, we can split the agency fee into installments.  Let you use a credit card through PayPal and allow you get miles/points towards your flight. 

We’re happy to tell you of other ways we’ve thought of to help our adoptive parents. 

Contact Nick for more info 704 527 7673. 

To learn more about financing your adoption cost, click here.

Not Included in Fees:

The fees Do NOT include:
Home Study Fees (likely payable to a local agency in your state, unless you’re in NC)
Airplane Tickets
Cost of staying overseas and taking care of yourself and your child while in Bulgaria
State and federally regulated certification or processing fees
Mailing expenses
Other third party fees
All of these fees are variable in nature
Saint Mary’s Bulgarian CEO

St. Mary's Advantage

Bulgarian CEO 

With a Bulgarian CEO, you get an advantage in understanding culture in all of Eastern Europe better.  Especially in Bulgaria.  

Lina knows the best people and she has selected the best, most experienced attorneys to represent our clients. 

You can rest assured knowing that our Bulgarian partner knows what they’re doing. 

If they have any questions about your case, they can just aks Lina – in Bulgarian.  Our first Bulgarain adoption was completed in 2002.  

To read more about Lina, click here.

More Questions

Health of the Children

Bulgaria is good about providing a lot of detailed information relative to other countries.  They are also good about answering addtitional questions.  Often times, even videos can be made available.  

Bulgaria’s “waiting children” will typlically have more pressing needs if they’re younger.  Adoptive parents, in order to be qualified to adopt them need to consult a doctor who can help the parents evaluate the info provided, including the videos, and make educated decisions judging their own capabilites and the child’s needs.  Older children, pre-teens and teens, may by on the waiting child list only because of age. 

Bulgaria’s traditional adoption program, though it can take upto 3 years of waiting, gives adoptive parents quite a bit of input in regards to what they’re willing to accept or not accept.  This is done through a medical questionnaire that the adoptive parents complete. 

If parents are ok with waiting estimated for the “traditional route”, this might be a good option.

As with any other country, the medical and social info is made available by the governmental authorities who suprevise the adoption process. 

Often times the father will have unclear history, or history will not be provided.  


2 Trips are required.  

These trips are short – about 7 to 10 days in length each.

On the first trip, adoptive parents meet the child and begin the paperwork process that has to take place before the seond trip is approved and scheduled.  

Court apperance in Bulgaria by the adoptive adoptive parents is not required.  The court procedings are handled by a Power of Attorney by the Bulgarian attorneys.


The timing for Bulgaria can be quite different depending on whether you go the “traditional route” or the “waiting child route”. 

Waiting Child.

Whole process can take about a year, maybe even a little less. 

If MOJ approves your application for the child you want to adopt, they take the child off their waiting list, and give you 6 months to meet paper requirements. 

In those 6 months, you complete home study and dossier.

After submitting that paperwork to Bulgarian MOJ, it is estimated that you’ll be invited to visit your child about 3 moths later. 

Then, there are about 3 months in between trips. 

Bulgaria requires 2 trips which are 7 to 10 days in length. 


With traditional, the process can take a few years.  You have to meet the same paperwork requirements as waiting child, but there is no “timeline to chase” set by the MOJ, so you can go at your own pace in competing your home study and your dossier.  Then you turn in that adoption paperwork to Bulgarian MOJ and wait to be matched with a child.  Depending on your criteria, your wait can vary.  Trip requirements are the same. 

Remember:  you can pursue both “traditional” and “waiting child” at the same time.  See tab for further explanation on this option. 

Do I Qualify

  Pursuing a “waiting child” is approved on a case by case basis directly by the MOJ.  Restricions such as age or marriage are very relaxed with this route.  Traditional requirements are also more relaxed than many outher countries.  For age, there must be at least a 15 year difference between the adoptive parent and the child. 
By the way, we also work with Expats

Home Studies for Expats

We have the expertese to help you adopt from Bulgaria (or Poland) even if you live abroad.  The process is a bit more complicated and not many agencies offer this service.  However, we can do that for you.  

We can help you if you’re a US citizen residing abroad.  To find out more about this service, click here.

Learn More..Get in touch with us..


5*****Star Reviews

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This