BASIC REQUIREMENTS TO BE MET AND DOCUMENTS NEEDED TO BE PROVIDED BY FOREIGN NATIONALS SO THAT AN APPLICATION TO BE FILED ON THEIR BEHALF FOR THE ADOPTION OF A BULGARIAN CHILD IN TERMS OF FULL ADOPTION

І. REQUIREMENTS AND DOCUMENTS NEEDED TO FILE AN APPLICATION

1. Information about the accredited organization assisting the applicants in their country to get ready for the adoption procedure and during the procedure itself, including contact persons, address, phone numbers, representatives, license of the accredited organization and its conditions;

2. Permission to adopt a child issued by the Central Authority pursuant to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption [the Hague Convention], i.e. I-797 issued by the USCIS. The Permission must be valid and has to reveal the characteristics of the child which the applicant(s) would like to adopt, including any specifics concerning the child’s health and/or development which they might tolerate. In case it expires before a child is referred to the applicant(s) they must provide a new one within 20 days after the expiry date of the original permission.

Together with the updated permission a current social report has to be provided, if there is any or a statement by the competent authority/agency that there is no change in the information provided in the previous report. In case of failure to produce a current permission the applicant(s) file with the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Bulgaria will be closed ex officio and they will have to re-apply and get a new incoming number with a later date for their dossier. As an exception, if a statement by the authority issuing the permission is provided advising that the permission is in the process of being prepared, additional 45 days are allowed /Apostille needed/ ;

3. A document issued by a competent authority and certifying that the applicant(s) is(are) not deprived of their parental rights /Apostille needed/;

4. A Social Report (Home Study) about the applicant(s) containing information about the members of the household/family and their health as well. The Study has to be prepared by a competent agency or a Hague accredited agency/organization providing services related to intercountry adoptions.

Information has to be provided about the license of the agency/organization and the Home Study preparer issued by a competent State authority or an accredited by the State entity /any copies of licenses should bear an apostille/. The Study must provide a detailed report about inter alia the applicants, their background, life conditions, about their families and their personal motivation to adopt, history of their marriage, material and financial status. The information about the preferences of the applicants concerning the child they are applying for is of key importance like gender, age, health, eventual special needs or medical conditions they might be ready to accept. Attached to the Study or as a separate document the license of the accredited agency which has issued it as well as the license of the preparer have to be provided. When the Report/the home Study/ has been prepared more than a year prior to the application, an updated report has to be provided and if this is not possible, a document certifying that no changes in the information therein have occurred meanwhile is required /Apostille needed/ ;

5. A document certifying the status of health of the applicant(s) – one for each of them. The medical certificate has to be prepared by a physician and it must contain assessment of the applicant’s physical and mental health based on previous and current medical conditions; the said certificate had to provide also data concerning the presence/absence of any chronic medical conditions, contagious venereal diseases, AIDS, tuberculosis and any other medical conditions threatening his/her life. National Association “Iskra” must receive the medicals no later than 6 months after the date they were issued /Apostille needed/;

6. A Marriage Certificate, if the applicants are a married couple /Apostille needed/.

7. Criminal Record certificates. If the applicant(s) is/are American citizen(s) FBI fingerprint clearances have to be provided /Apostille needed/.

8. Notarized copies of the applicants’ identity documents/international passports/ /Apostille NOT needed/;

9. A Power of Attorney bearing the signatures of the applicants notarized and authorizing a representative of National Association “Iskra” to represent the applicants /Apostille needed/;

10. A Contract with National Association “Iskra” /Apostille NOT needed/.

NOTE: All above documents with the exception of the Contract and the copies of the ID’s have to be submitted in original and translated into Bulgarian, the translation certified by the Bulgarian Embassy or Consulate in the respective State. Documents issued by a State signatory to the Hague Convention of October 5, 1961 abolishing the requirement of legalisation for foreign public documents and apostilled have to be submitted in original and translated into Bulgarian, the translation certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria. National Association “Iskra” provides the said translations.

Based on an application filed by National Association “Iskra” on behalf of the applicants with the Ministry of Justice and on the basis of the due perfect documents attached thereto, the applicants are enrolled in the Register for adoptive parents habitually residing abroad and applying to adopt a child habitually residing in the Republic of Bulgaria in terms of full adoption. The application shall be considered by the Ministry of Justice within one month as from the date of filing. When shortcomings are found in it and/or the documentation submitted, the Ministry of Justice gives instructions for their removal within 20 days. In case of failure to observe this timeline the file shall be closed by the Ministry of Justice ex officio. On the basis of the application and the documents attached thereto the applicant(s) is/are enrolled in the MoJ Register for Prospective Adoptive Parents Habitually residing Abroad. In case of any changes in the information about the enrolled applicant, he/she is obliged to notify “Iskra” within 20 days of their occurrence.

In order to obtain a referral of a child the adoptive parent should be determined by the Council on International Adoptions as eligible to adopt a child selected from a specific Register of Children, Who May be Adopted by Persons Habitually Residing Abroad in Terms of Full Adoption. The Council is a standing state body and has sessions every week.

The Council on International Adoptions considers the applications in order to determine a suitable adoptive parent(s) in accordance with the sequence of the entries in the Register for Applicants, with the preferences of the applicants as expressed in their application and any circumstances relevant to the best interests of the child. The dossiers of the children are considered by the Council according to the order of their entry in the Register, and these are compared with the information about the eligible applicants and the conditions contained in the permissions for the adoption of a child [see item 2 above]. In order to select the adoptive parents the Council considers all eligible applicants and is guided by their ability to provide physical, mental and social wellbeing for the child as well as by the information about the applicants’ personality and any other circumstances of importance for the adoption. The assessment is carried out primarily on the basis of the social reports/home studies, prepared by the relevant competent authorities/agencies.

On the basis of the assessment made by the International Adoptions Council, it takes its decision comprising information about the child, the adoptive parents and a brief reasoning as to the choice made. The Council makes a proposal to the Minister of Justice to determine the suitable foreign adoptive parent(s) for each child included in the Register for children available for international adoption. Upon specifying the eligible prospective adoptive parent as proposed by the Council, the Minister of Justice shall sign a certificate to proceed further with the adoption procedure.

If the designated suitable adoptive parent resides habitually in a Hague Convention country, the Certificate to proceed further with the adoption procedure, a report on the child and certificate about the child’s identity together with a full height photograph shall be sent to the Central Authority of the receiving State and to the mediating accredited organization. Wherever needed video recordings or other materials about the child may be provided.

ІІ. REQUIREMENTS AND DOCUMENTS NEEDED UPON RECEIPT OF A REFERRAL AND UPON ONBTAINING OF AN APPROVAL TO ADOPT A SPECIFIC CHILD

1. Within two months as of receipt of the referral and the report on the specific child a written consent has to be filed by the applicant with the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Bulgaria to proceed further with the adoption or a refusal to adopt the child referred. The consent shall contain the statement of the applicant that he/she is aware of the health status of the child that he/she is informed about the consequences of the adoption, a statement that a contact has been established with the child, as well as a statement of consent to initiate court proceedings;

2. Within the same period of time a notification issued by the Central Authority of the state of habitual residence of the applicant(s) expressing consent or dissent to proceed further with the adoption of the specific child has to be filed with the MoJ. if the applicant(s) had given his/her consent to adopt the child however no notification of consent or dissent of the Central Authority has been provided, another eligible applicant shall be selected for the said child;

3. A declaration by the prospective adoptive parent with notarized certification of his/her signature that the child will not be subject to experimental therapies and that during his/her lifetime no parts of his/her body will be used for donor purposes;

4. A declaration by the prospective adoptive parent with notarized certification of his/her signature that the consent given by them is not bound with any material benefit;

5. A document certifying that a competent authority/agency in the state of habitual residence of the prospective adoptive parent(s) shall perform postplacement supervision over th specific child for a period of two years after the adoption is allowed by the Bulgarian court.

6. Within the two-month term specified in item 1 the prospective adoptive parent shall establish personal contact with the child with duration of at least 5 days. If the contact may not be established due to a disease, financial difficulties, urgent formal engagements or difficulties to perform the trip, the prospective adoptive parent shall submit a declaration with a notarized signature, containing the statement that he/she assumes the risk about the origin and the future physical and mental status and development of the child and shall specify the reasons for the failure to visit with the child. In such a case the contact with the child may be established by one of the spouses or may be shorter than 5 days.

Within 14 days as from the date of filing these documents the Minister of Justice gives his/her approval for the adoption and the file is to be sent to the Sofia City Court to initiate an adoption proceeding. The Minister shall refuse to give his/her approval in case (1) circumstances not favorable for the child have been discovered and/or (2) substantial breaches in the adoption procedure have been found.

ІІІ. REQUIREMENTS AND DOCUMENTS NEEDED AFTER COMPLETION OF THE ADOPTION PROCEDURE

1. Four post placement reports prepared by a competent organization/agency and apostilled have to be sent every six months over a period of two years after completion of the adoption procedure.