All God’s Children began serving Bulgarian children in 1991 and has since united more than 450 children with their adoptive families. In 2003, Bulgaria changed adoption laws as the nation began to enter into the European Union and adoptions slowed drastically. After Bulgaria became Hague Accredited and re-opened for adoption, AGCI was the first U.S. agency to complete an adoption. AGCI is pleased to once again advocate for the estimated 7,000 orphaned children of Bulgaria.
With continued support from the European Union, orphanages are being renovated and staffs are being trained with the goal of one caretaker to every six children. Education, physical therapy, and even some foster care options are available today to the orphans of Bulgaria. The Vice Minister of Justice implemented a child-centered process to help protect the children of Bulgaria. Not only are the laws becoming stronger, but governmental entities are being held to higher standards.
Our staff works closely with VESTA, a Bulgarian, Hague-accredited non-governmental organization dedicated to helping abandoned and orphaned children find families to have a better and brighter future.
Children from 18 months to 14 years old are currently available for adoption. Many sibling groups and children 3 years and older are waiting for adoptive parents. Wait times for referral could be expedited for families open to adopting an older child, sibling group or waiting child with special needs.
Once you are contracted with AGCI, your first step is to complete your dossier and home study. AGCI staff will assist your family in this paperwork process. When you’ve completed your dossier, it is sent to Bulgaria for translation and authentication, and then it’s submitted and logged into the Ministry of Justice (MOJ).
Once your dossier is logged, the MOJ begins a review process. When your dossier is approved, the MOJ forwards its opinion to the Adoption Council, which matches an available child with your family within 30 to 48 months for a healthy child, or 18 to 24 months for a waiting child, depending on referral parameters. At this time you will receive medical information, which includes photos, psychological evaluation, developmental assessment, physical evaluation, background information and blood tests. AGCI requires all families to have medical and background information reviewed by an international adoption specializing pediatrician.
After reviewing the referral information, one or both parents will travel to Bulgaria to visit and bond with the child. After the bonding period, your family will decide to formally accept the referral of the child. If accepted, your family will sign documentation, which initiates the adoption process while in-country.
Once your family accepts the referral of a child, the MOJ will issue a final opinion on the adoption to the Bulgarian courts and a court date is scheduled. The adoption is finalized during this court appearance.
One or both parents must travel for the first trip to initiate the bonding process with the referred child. AGCI strongly recommends that both parents travel on the first trip. Once the adoption is finalized, your family can arrange to travel for your second trip, approximately four to five months later. AGCI in-country staff will accompany your family throughout your stay in Bulgaria.
Once your child is home, AGCI and Bulgaria require post-adoption reports to be submitted on the 3, 6, 12, 18, and 24 month anniversaries of your child’s arrival into the U.S. All reports must be prepared by a licensed social worker.
We have been so grateful to work with All God’s Children and the Bulgaria program for our adoption. It has been a great experience for our whole family. God truly blessed our family when He opened our hearts to adopting a special needs child. Through this process, we have been able to get a small glimpse into the heart of our God and how great His love is in choosing us – broken and imperfect ourselves.
The amazing thing about adoption is that when we looked at the video of Tsvetomir, we saw his potential, not his special needs. We saw a little boy who with the love and support of a family could do anything. Today he is like a celebrity in our small town. Everyone knows him and welcomes him wherever we go. His infectious laugh and smile are a testimony to everyone of the transforming power of God’s love.
Helen has been home nearly three months. It is wonderful seeing her grow and change, becoming a healthy, strong-willed, beautiful little girl. We have only taken a small step in our journey so far. We are so grateful for All God’s Children and for God’s leading us to Bulgaria. There is such a need there, and so many more beautiful children who need forever homes.
After talking with All God’s Children, we were told about Bulgaria. We felt a tug on our hearts. Stoyan began to feel like our son before we even told AGCI that we wanted to adopt him. What a joy to hear him call us mommy and daddy. In God’s word it says, “God sets the lonely in families” (Psalm 68:6), and He has done just that!
Many orphans still remain in Bulgaria. They are in tremendous need of better nourishment and a forever family. Please consider adopting one of them into your family.
Parents between the ages of 23 and 49 are welcome to adopt a child 12 months or older. Parents 50 to 55 years old are welcome to adopt a child 4 years or older.
Couples married at least one year are welcome to adopt. Each spouse may have up to two divorces. If there is a history of divorce, the current marriage must be 2 years or longer.
Children in Family
Families with children are welcome to adopt from Bulgaria.
Single women may adopt.
Families will have a positive net worth and an income of at least $10,000 per family member, including the adopted child.
Applicants can have no history of felonies and no more than two misdemeanors in their lifetime.
Applicants with a past or current diagnosis of a life-threatening or communicable disease or other condition that impairs their ability to parent and/or the quality of life of a child are ineligible.
Travel in Country
Two trips are required. One or both parents must travel for the first trip to bond with the referred child for five to seven days. One parent is required to return on the second trip, which lasts five to seven days. AGCI strongly recommends that both parents travel.
Time Frame for Adoption
The approximate time frame from application through finalization of an adoption is 30 to 48 months. The approximate time frame from application through finalization for a waiting child is 18 to 24 months.
Actual costs vary due to a variety of issues, including exchange rates and number of people traveling. The following breakdowns provide a typical range of expenses, with an overview of what is included in each category.
Application Fee: $350
Initial assessment of your family’s information to assure that all country requirements can be met to complete an adoption in your chosen program.
Home Study Services: $2,2oo
This is the education process where a licensed social worker will partner with your family to help prepare you for the challenges ahead as an adoptive parent. The social worker will also be learning about your family in order to prepare a document for inclusion in the dossier that explains to the courts how you will provide a stable environment and loving family for your child.
AGCI Adoption Services: $6,000
AGCI provides staff and services throughout the adoption process and for years to come through the post-adoption phase. Unlike many agencies, we always welcome your call.
USCIS and Related Fees: $805-$890
Filing fees and related costs to file your documents with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service.
International Fees: $11,000
Your dossier is a detailed collection of documents about your family. Many of these have to be notarized, certified, and authenticated. Upon completion, we translate the dossier and facilitate your adoption case in-country through our foreign service providers, the government agencies, and the courts.
Orphan Care Fee: $1,000
Supports ongoing orphan care.
Travel Costs: $8,000-$14,000
Two trips are required to Bulgaria. Costs include airfare, transportation, food, lodging, a translator, and an immigrant visa for your child.
Post-Adoption Services: $3,500-$4,500
These fees provide for the creation, administration, and translation of your post-adoption reports. Other post-adoption expenses include your re-adoption fee and ongoing medical insurance.
Families are eligible for the federal government Adoption Child Tax Credit in the year adoption is finalized. The 2011 credit is $13,170 for most adoptive families.