1. Below I am Going to Outline the steps needed to QUICKLY AND EFFICIENTLY adopt from Bulgaria.

This will be broken down based on the two available routes of adoption as of this writing.

A. The Waiting Child Route. (Usually can be completed in under 1 year from step 2)

  1. Identify the child you wish to adopt from available photolisting (i.e Rainbow Kids, Reece’s Rainbow, or photolisting specific to adoption agency)
  2. A. Commit to Waiting Child via the appropriate agency. B. Identify and sign onto a Homestudy agency. (Should research in advance) (1-2 Days)
  3. Complete Homestudy Requirements for Homestudy agency. Complete all agency dossier Requirements EXCEPT the I-800a (2+ months) Note: Your Paperwork should return from Bulgaria within 1 month of signing commitment documents giving you 6 months to submit your dossier to the MOJ. Hints: Use an FBI Channeler for your FBI Background check. Use Caring Hands to obtain the apostille for your FBI background check. (Current times through regular service are running 4+ months)
  4. Once Homestudy complete mail in I-800a (Your completed homestudy must be sent with the I-800a package). A quick, trouble-free process is currently taking 6 weeks to get approval (1.5 months) If you are adopting a child who is extremely medically fragile ask your agency about medical expedite. This may shorten times listed in this step as well as steps 11 & 15.
  5. Be ready to Submit your dossier to your agency as soon as the I-800a approval comes back.
  6. Dossier translantion/authntication takes 1 month on average (varies by NGO/agency).
  7. Dossier will be submitted to MOJ. Ideally, “Verbal referral” will be issued at the next IAC meeting (1-2 weeks)
  8. Written Referral will be issued 2-4 weeks later. At this point ask your agency their policy on when they will allow you to submit your I-800. If you are 100% sure that you will accept your child’s referral on trip 1 and your agency will either let you submit the I-800 when you get the written referral or on your first day of trip 1, Fill out the paperwork and send it.
  9. If submitting I-800 early, also update your medicals and FBI background check before leaving on trip 1
  10. Most families are invited to travel 1-4 weeks after written referral. Take the earliest travel dates you are offered. Trip 1 is 1 week. (Aside: if your agency requires the referral acceptance documents to be completed after trip 1 vs at trip 1 in Bulgaria do this ASAP upon arrival home)
  11. The I-800 is usually approved within 3 weeks of mailing. Once approval is received you will be looking for an e-mail from the NVC with 2 number needed to fill out the DS 260. If you are filling this out yourself you will need these numbers to complete the application. If your agency is doing it for you you will need to forward it to them. Wait no more than 7 buisness days after getting your I-800 approval notice for this email. If you don’t get it. Call the NVC for the numbers. Call earlier if directed by your agency.
  12. DS-260. If doing this on your own it takes a few hours and is done online. Do ASAP after getting NVC numbers.
  13. Typically within 2 weeks of the completion of the DS 260, the preliminary visa interview will have taken place in Sofia, and your Article 5 letter will have been issued. Depending on the NGO this will take aprox 1 week for translation/authentication.
  14. Those medical and FBI background checks that you did before trip 1 sometimes need to be submitted before the next step, depending upon agency. Have them ready.
  15. All documents are submitted to the MOJ for the final signature process (4-6 weeks)
  16. Final signature is obtained. Judge is assigned and court date is set. (0-28 days, varies)
  17. Court. (Yeah!)
  18. Adoption goes into effect per Bulgarian law (7 days)
  19. Signed adoption decree is issued (3-5 Business days)
  20. Birth Certificate is obtained (7 business days)
  21. Most NGOs and Adoption agencies will offer Trip 2 (pickup) dates at this time. Again, take the earliest dates you are offered. Most people can expect to travel 4-6 weeks after court date.
  22. Trip 2 varies for families. Some may be offered an escort option home (rare) eliminating Trip 2. Some can have the trip reduced (case-by-case basis) to 4/5 Days or 1 week. Most people can expect Trip 2 to last 11-13 days on average.

If all of these steps went perfectly (which I am not sure has ever happened) this type of adoption COULD be done in 8 months (without medical expedite). Again, never heard of it happening that quickly. A few families have pulled it off in 9-10 months.

B. The Traditional Route (Could be completed in under 2 years)

  1. A. Sign commitment paperwork with preferred Adoption agency B. Sign commitment paperwork with preferred homestudy agency.
  2. Complete Homestudy Requirements for Homestudy agency. Complete all agency dossier Requirements EXCEPT the I-800a (2+ months). Hints: Use an FBI Channeler for your FBI Background check. Use Caring Hands to obtain the apostille for your FBI background check. (Current times through regular service are running 4+ months). Inquire about your agencies “Special Needs” list. This is a list of medical/social conditions that you would consider in a potential adoptive child. Be honest with yourself, but fill it out to the top of conditions you would accept. This document is KEY in the MOJ’s decision with what child they will refer to you. Ensure that it matches with what your homestudy approves you for. If there are many conditions approved your wait for a referral may be months vs. years.
  3. Once Homestudy complete mail in I-800a (Your completed homestudy must be sent with the I-800a package). A quick, trouble-free process is currently taking 6 weeks to get approval (1.5 months)
  4. Be ready to Submit your dossier to your agency as soon as the I-800a approval comes back.
  5. Dossier translantion/authntication takes 1 month on average (varies by NGO/agency).
  6. Dossier will be submitted for Registration with the MOJ. You should be notified of approval and can ask for your registration number (1 month)
  7. Based upon your parameters a referral will be made by the IAC. Those seeking children with moderate or higher special needs may see a referral within 1-2 months. Requests for Children Under 5, Female Children, and Healthier children will all lengthen referral wait. (Wait for Healthy female child under age 5 is 5+years). During wait for referral keep all requested documents up to date. (Personal Note: Jude was a Traditional Referral, Referral wait was 7 months. Jude was 22 months old when she was referred)
  8. You will be notified of your referral when your NGO receives the written referral paperwork. There is no notification that you had referral (despite the passage of 2-4 weeks) before this time. At this point ask your agency their policy on when they will allow you to submit your I-800. If you are 100% sure that you will accept your child’s referral on trip 1 and your agency will either let you submit the I-800 when you get the written referral or on your first day of trip 1, Fill out the paperwork and send it.
  9. If submitting I-800 early, also update your medicals and FBI background check before leaving on trip 1
  10. Most families are invited to travel 1-4 weeks after referral. Take the earliest travel dates you are offered. Trip 1 is 1 week. (Aside: if your agency requires the referral acceptance documents to be completed after trip 1 vs at trip 1 in Bulgaria do this ASAP upon arrival home)
  11. The I-800 is usually approved within 3 weeks of mailing. Once approval is received you will be looking for an e-mail from the NVC with 2 number needed to fill out the DS 260. If you are filling this out yourself you will need these numbers to complete the application. If your agency is doing it for you you will need to forward it to them. Wait no more than 7 buisness days after getting your I-800 approval notice for this email. If you don’t get it. Call the NVC for the numbers. Call earlier if directed by your agency.
  12. DS-260. If doing this on your own it takes a few hours and is done online. Do ASAP after getting NVC numbers.
  13. Typically within 2 weeks of the completion of the DS 260, the preliminary visa interview will have taken place in Sofia, and your Article 5 letter will have been issued. Depending on the NGO this will take aprox 1 week for translation/authentication.
  14. Those medical and FBI background checks that you did before trip 1 sometimes need to be submitted before the next step, depending upon agency. Have them ready.
  15. All documents are submitted to the MOJ for the final signature process (4-6 weeks)
  16. Final signature is obtained. Judge is assigned and court date is set. (0-28 days, varies)
  17. Court. (Yeah!)
  18. Adoption goes into effect per Bulgarian law (7 days)
  19. Signed adoption decree is issued (3-5 Business days)
  20. Birth Certificate is obtained (7 business days)
  21. Most NGOs and Adoption agencies will offer Trip 2 (pickup) dates at this time. Again, take the earliest dates you are offered. Most people can expect to travel 4-6 weeks after court date.
  22. Trip 2 varies for families. Some may be offered an escort option home (rare) eliminating Trip 2. Some can have the trip reduced (case-by-case basis) to 4/5 Days or 1 week. Most people can expect Trip 2 to last 11-13 days on average.

If all of these steps went perfectly (which I am not sure has ever happened) this type of adoption COULD be done in 10-11 months. Again, never heard of it happening that quickly. A few families have pulled it off in 18-24 months.

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One response »

  1. I have had the similar experience adopting from Bulgaria the traditional way. I received a referral of a 2 1/2 year old girl about 5 months after my dossier was registered with the MOJ. I will be bringing her home in about 2 weeks! Thanks for your blog. It has been a wealth of information. Best wishes for a speedy adoption with Gabriel.

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