Adoption process

Hague Convention 

Bulgaria is a party to the is a party to the Hague Convention on Protection and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, ensuring that adoptions take place in the best interests of the child and with respect for his or her fundamental rights


Central Authority 

 The Central Authority under the Hague Convention is the Ministry of Justice, which is responsible for all the activities, related to the intercountry adoptions, such as accepting applications of adoptive  parents, keeping the register of children available for adoption and the register of prospective adoptive parents, giving approvals for adoption signed by the Minister of Justice and others. 

 The Interccountry Adoption Council at the Ministry of Justice has important consultative powers in relation to the intercountry adoptions. The Intercountry Adoption Council is a permanent body, that has sessions on a weekly basis and among its main functions is to approve the matchings of the children. 


Accredited organizations 

 The Bulgarian legislation provides for the activities related to facilitation of intercountry adoptions to be conducted only by non-governmental organizations, accredited by the Ministry of Justice and registered in the Public Register of the Ministry of Justice. To be able to adopt from Bulgaria, the prospective adoptive parents should appoint a Bulgarian accredited organization to represent them.  

The adoption process in 5 steps

Documents and registrations

Documents necessary for the registration at the Ministry of Justice

  1. Application to the Minister of Justice. This is a formal application letter to the adoption authorities in Bulgaria expressing the intent to adopt a child from Bulgaria. The application contains a brief introduction with personal data, such as name, nationality, citizenship, country of residence, address, brief family history, information about the economic and social status; information on the central authority or the accredited organization, which is the intermediary, including contact persons, address, telephone, accreditation details and other relevant information. The application should also contain information on the profile of child the adoptive parents are interested in adopting;
  2. Approval to adopt a child, issued by the relevant authorities in the country of permanent residence; 
  3. Document verifying that the prospective adoptive parents have not been deprived of their parental rights, issued by the relevant authorities; 
  4. Home Study of the adoptive parents, containing information about the family, including their health prepared by an accredited agency or licensed social worker. The license of the agency or the social worker shall be attached;
  5. Medical letters verifying the mental and physical health of the adoptive parents as well as the lack of serious chronic and contagious venereal diseases, HIV, tuberculosis and other life-threatening diseases;   
  6. Criminal background checks of the adoptive parents 
  7. Marriage certificate (in case of families)
  8. License of the adoption agency to intermediate in intercountry adoptions, issued by the Central authority in the accepting country, including contact persons, address, telephone 
  9. Power-of-attorney for Vesta 
  10. Intercountry adoption agreement 

All documents given above (excluding the last one) shall be in original and apostilled in the country of the adoptive parents. 

Sending of the documents 

The documents shall be sent to Vesta through the accredited organization abroad or through the Central authority or personally by the adoptive parents, depending on the requirements in their country of residence. Vesta translates, legalizes and submits the documents in the Ministry of Justice. The application of the adoptive parents is reviewed by the Ministry of Justice within one month of submission. In case of discrepancies or gaps in the documentation, the Ministry of Justice sends a letter to Vesta with instructions and the adoptive parents have 30 days to provide the missing documents and/or clear the discrepancies.  

Registration of the adoptive parents 

Based on the submitted documents and given that there are no missing documents and discrepancies, the Ministry of Justice registers the family within one month of submission of their documents and informs Vesta in writing about the registration date and number of the family.

Wait time and the referral

Waiting for your child 

Many of the families share that this is one of the most challenging time in an intercountry adoption. After spending months in gathering documents and attending meetings, the period after the submission of the dossier can feel slow and uneventful. The wait time is dynamic and varies. It depends on the number of the children and the number of the adoptive parents in the registers and also on the openness of the adoptive parents  to adopt a special need child or an older child. In order to make the wait easier you could visit various workshops, learn more about Bulgaria, about the traditions and customs, about the music and the language so you can build easier the relationship with your child. 

Reviewing the applications of the adoptive parents 

The Intercountry Adoption Council reviews the applications of the adoptive parents following their registration number. 

The best interest of the child is the guiding principle of the Council and the abilities of the adoptive parents to provide for his/her physical, mental and social well-being. The matching is done mainly based on the documents and the home studies prepared by the relevant authorities. 

Receiving of referral

After reviewing the application of the adoptive parents, the Intercountry Adoption Council makes an official referral to the parents through Vesta. The Ministry of Justice provides Vesta with the official referral along with a report and a picture of the child. The report contains information on the medical and social development of the child, information about the birth parents (is there is such information available) and a picture of the child. Vesta translates and sends to the adoptive parents all the referral documents received. 

Additional information about the child 

After reviewing the information provided, the prospective adoptive parents can require additional information about the child, such as pictures, videos, medical information and etc. to make a final decision whether to accept the referral. The family should inform the Ministry of Justice within two months of their decision to accept or refuse the referral. 

Refusal of the referral 

Upon refusing the referral either before or after visiting the child, Vesta informs the Ministry of Justice of the decision of the adoptive parents. The Ministry of Justice then gives the dossier a new registration number. If the family has been referred a child with a medical problem that the family hasn't stated in advance that they are open to accept, and if they motivate their decision they will not lose their registration number. 

Accepting the referral and first trip

Accepting the referral

Upon accepting the referral, the adoptive parents must travel to Bulgaria to meet the child within two months after the date of the referral. The personal contact cannot be shorter than 5 days. 


First trip

Upon deciding to travel to Bulgaria, Vesta prepares a program for the stay of the adoptive parents in Bulgaria. Vesta’s representative meets the parents at the airport and drives them to their hotel. Most of the institutions for children are in the countryside and adoptive parents have to travel. Vesta provides for a car, driver and a person from Vesta, who speaks the language of the adoptive parents, and who accompanies them during their stay in Bulgaria. The parents are provided with a telephone with a local number so they can call Vesta anytime. 


Meeting with the child 

The meeting with the child is a very delicate moment full of emotions and someone from Vesta is with the adoptive parents at all times, providing the support they need. There are people from the orphanage that also attend the meeting (social worker, psychologist, teachers) and the family can ask all the questions they might have. 


Documents upon deciding to proceed with the adoption    

Upon decision to adopt the referred child after their visit, the adoptive parents shall provide the following documents which can be signed also in Bulgaria, in front of a notary public.   

  1. 1.Application to the Ministry of Justice where the adoptive parents state their consent to adopt the child that has been referred to them
  2. 2.Declaration for protection of the child 
  3. 3.Power-of-Attorney for Vesta, necessary for the completion of the adoption with the new name of the child 

Finalization of the adoption and second trip

Finalization of the adoption

The time frame between the first trip and the finalization of the procedure in the court is approximately 3 months. 

Vesta informs the Ministry of Justice about the consent of the adoptive parents by submitting the documents mentioned in the previous section. Upon another reviewing of the dossier of the adoptive parents, the Minister of Justice gives his consent in writing and sends the dossier in the Court. The adoptive parents do not attend the Court hearing. The Sofia City Court reviews the application of the adoptive parents in a short time and announces the decision. After the Court decree becomes effective, the documents for the departure of the child are being prepared, such as new birth certificate, passport and visa (if needed).  


Second trip 

The second trip to Bulgaria is after the Court decree has become effective and the birth certificate has been issued. The stay in the country is about a week long. During this time the parents pick up the child from the orphanage, sign all the necessary documents and submit the documents for passport and visa of the adopted child.  


The adoptive parents are accompanied by someone from Vesta at all times and provide constant support till the very departure of the family. In some cases, the child can be escorted but the family shall provide Vesta with the necessary power-of-attorney. However, we always encourage families to travel to pick up their children. 

Post-placement requirements

Bulgaria requires 4 post-placement reports for a period of two years after the adoption. 

The reports shall be completed every six months in a course of two years by a licensed social worker. 

The reports should contain information about the physical and mental condition of the child, about his/her adaptation and etc. The post-placement reports should include photos of the child. 

Sending post placement information is a legal requirement of the Ministry of Justice and families are obliged to strictly follow the post placement schedule for sending the reports.