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U.S. Department of State
1995:  International Adoption -- Bulgaria
Bureau of Consular Affairs


     
     
                     INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION IN BULGARIA
     
                                                                     
     DISCLAIMER:  THE INFORMATION IN THIS CIRCULAR RELATING TO THE
     LEGAL REQUIREMENTS OF SPECIFIC FOREIGN COUNTRIES IS PROVIDED
     FOR GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY.  QUESTIONS INVOLVING
     INTERPRETATION OF SPECIFIC FOREIGN LAWS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO
     FOREIGN COUNSEL.                                              
     
     
     
     GENERAL
     
         The following is a guideline for U.S. citizens who are
     interested in adopting a child in Bulgaria.  This process can
     be expensive, time-consuming and difficult, involving complex
     foreign and U.S. legal requirements.  Adoptions are given
     careful consideration on a case-by-case basis by both foreign
     judicial authorities and U.S. consular officers to ensure that
     the legal requirements of both countries have been met for the
     protection of the adoptive parent(s), the birth parent(s) and
     the child.  Interested U.S. are strongly advised to read the
     following information carefully.  Contact the U.S. Immigration
     and Naturalization Service early in the process, before you
     have identified a specific child to adopt.  Contact U.S.
     consular officials in Bulgaria before formalizing an adoption
     agreement to ensure that appropriate visa procedures have been
     followed.
     
     
     AVAILABILITY OF CHILDREN FOR ADOPTION
     
         Recent U.S. immigrant visa statistics reflect the following
     pattern for visa issuance to orphans: 
     
                  IR-3 Immigrant Visas       IR-4 Immigrant Visas
     Fiscal       Issued to Bulgarian        Issued to Bulgarian
     Year         Orphans Adopted Abroad     Orphans Adopted in U.S.
     
     FY-1988              0                          0
     FY-1989              1                          0
     FY-1990              3                          0
     FY-1991              8                          1
     FY-1992             47                         44
     FY-1993             70                         63
     FY-1994             17                         62
     

     BULGARIAN ADOPTION PROCEDURES
     
         The following documentary requirements for foreign
     adoptions in Bulgaria are given exactly as they appear in the
     Bulgarian Ministry of Justice's own English translation of
     official terms and procedures.  Clarifications by the Embassy
     in Sofia appear in parentheses.  Please note that all of the
     notarized documents completed in the United States must be
     authenticated by the U.S. Department of State and by the
     Bulgarian Embassy in Washington.  Because of the expense
     involved in notarizing all of these documents separately, it is
     recommended that some of them--such as items 2, 7, and 10--be
     included in a single notarized affidavit.
     
     1.  Marriage certificate.  Where the adopter is not married,
     this circumstance shall be certified by a document issued by
     the local administration at the place of residence.
     
     2.  Certificate to prove that the adopter has not been deprived
     of parental rights.  (In practice, this requirement is met by a
     statement provided by the licensed home study with the
     following information:  1. confirmation of the married status
     of the adopters or the reason for the single status of an
     adopter;  2. the number of children already in the family or
     specifying that there are no children;  3. a statement to the
     effect that adoptive parent(s) have not been deprived of
     parental rights.)
     
     3.  Certificate issued by the local administration of the place
     of residence of the adopter stating the amount of his or her
     income and property.
     
     4.  Recommendation (report) of the social welfare service at
     the local administration at the place of residence or a report
     of a foreign organization authorized to mediate in adoptions by
     the respective government agency.  The reports shall provide
     details about the adopters, the living conditions, the family
     and personal motivation for adoption, history of the marriage,
     etc.
     
     5.  Non-conviction certificate.  (Refers to criminal record.)
     
     6.  Health papers on the physical and mental health of each
     adopter as well as medical certificate of the non-observation
     of grave chronic or contagious venereal diseases, AIDS,
     tuberculosis and other life-threatening diseases of the adopter.
     
     7.  Statement duly attested by the Notary Public that the child
     shall not be subjected to experimental medical treatment and
     that parts of its body shall not be used for donor purposes.
     
     8.  Power of attorney with the signatures duly attested by the
     Notary Public where the applicants act by proxy.
     
     9.  Certificate of the observance of all provisions of the
     national legislation of the adopters related to the approval of
     the adoption.  (This requirement is met by notice of approval
     by the INS of the form I-600A or I-600.)
     
     10.  Statement that the national legislation of the adopters
     does not provide for re-adoption or that the child shall not be
     given for adoption where the legislation permits re-adoption. 
     (Because the United States has no such national legislation, a
     sworn statement or affidavit of the adopter(s) not to give the
     child up for re-adoption is acceptable.)
     
     11.  Birth certificate of the adopted child.
     
     12.  Health certificate of the adopted child.
     
     13.  Consent for adoption in writing with the signatures of the
     real mother and father (if known) duly attested by the Notary
     Public.
     
     14.  All other adoption documents required by the national
     legislation of the adopters.  (No additional documents are
     required for U.S. citizens.)
     
         In general, the Government of Bulgaria does not allow
     foreigners to adopt orphans under one year of age, although
     rare exceptions have been made.  In practice, most children
     adopted by U.S. citizens are three or four years old.  For
     children under three, the orphanage must certify that three
     Bulgarian families have refused to adopt the child before it
     can be given to a foreigner.  This means that most children
     adopted by foreigners in Bulgaria either have a medical problem
     (which may be very slight in terms of treatment in the U.S.) or
     are from one of Bulgaria's ethnic minorities, Turkish or gypsy.
         The Ministry of Justice must give its permission for
     adoptions to take place.  Once this is done, the case is turned
     over to the court for the final adoption decree and the
     amendment of the birth record.  Foreigners must retain a
     Bulgarian attorney for the court case, and must pay court costs
     of 80,000 Bulgarian leva (approximately $3,000).
     

     TRANSLATION REQUIREMENTS
     
         After all documents have been notarized and authenticated,
     they must be translated into Bulgarian by an official
     translator, and the translations must be notarized by the
     Consular Department of the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign
     Affairs.
     
     BULGARIAN EMBASSY AND CONSULATES IN THE UNITED STATES
     
         The address for the Bulgarian Embassy is:
     
                   Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria
                   1621 22nd Street N.W.
                   Washington, D.C.  20008
                   tel:  (202) 387-7969
                   fax:  (202) 234-7973
     
     Bulgaria also has a Consulate in Los Angeles, CA.
     
     
     U.S. EMBASSY IN BULGARIA
     
         The address of the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria is:
     
     Street Address                             Mailing Address
     
     U.S. Embassy                          U.S. Embassy
     U.S. Citizen Services                 U.S. Citizen Services
     1 Capitan Andreev Street              Unit 1335
     Sofia, Bulgaria                       APO AE 09213-1335
     
     tel:  (359) (2) 65-94-59              fax:  (359) (2) 80-75-86
     
     
     DOCTORS
     
         The U.S. Embassy maintains a current list of doctors and
     sources for medicines, should either you or your child
     experience health problems while in Bulgaria.
     

     QUESTIONS:  Specific questions regarding adoptions in Bulgaria
     may be addressed to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy or
     Consulate.  You may also contact the Office of Children's
     Issues, U.S. Department of State, Room 4800 N.S.,
     2201 C Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.  20520-4818, telephone
     (202) 647-2688 with specific adoption questions.  Recorded
     information concerning significant changes in adoption
     procedures is available 24 hours a day at: (202) 736-7000, or
     by automated fax (calling from the telephone on your fax
     machine) at (202) 647-3000.  If the country you are interested
     in is not listed, procedures have not significantly changed. 
     Information on immigrant visas is available from the State
     Department's Visa Office, at (202) 663-1225.  This 24 hour
     automated system includes options to speak with consular
     officers during business hours for questions not answered in
     the recorded material.  Application forms and petitions for
     immigrant visas are available from the U.S. Immigration and
     Naturalization Service, the nearest office of which is listed
     in the federal pages of your telephone book, under  U.S.
     Department of Justice.
     
     In addition, the State Department publishes Consular
     Information Sheets and Travel Warnings.  Consular Information
     Sheets are available for every country in the world, providing
     information such as the location of the U.S. Embassy, health
     conditions, political situations, and crime reports.  When
     situations are sufficiently serious that the State Department
     recommends U.S. citizens avoid traveling to a country, a Travel
     Warning is issued.  Both Consular Information Sheets and Travel
     Warnings may be heard 24 hours a day by calling the State
     Department's Office of Overseas Citizens Services at
     (202) 647-5225 from a touch-tone telephone.  The recording is
     updated as new information becomes available.  In addition,
     this information is accessible through the automated fax
     machine, as above, and is also available at any of the 13
     regional passport agencies, field offices of the U.S.
     Department of Commerce, and U.S. Embassies and Consulates
     abroad.  Furthermore, you may write in requesting information,
     sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Overseas Citizens
     Services, Room 4811 N.S., 2201 C St., N.W., U.S. Department of
     State, Washington, D.C.  20520-4818.  Finally, information is
     available through your personal computer.  If you have a
     computer and a modem, you can access the Consular Affairs
     Bulletin Board (CABB).  This service is free of charge, and may
     be reached at: (202) 647-9225.  Consular Information Sheets and
     Travel Warnings may also be accessed by subscribers to many
     on-line services.  For complete information on accessing
     consular information via computer, please request document
     1016, entitled "Consular Information Program," from the
     automated fax system, which is described in the preceding
     paragraph.

     CONCLUSION
     
         Interested U.S. citizens should be aware that the process
     of adopting a child in Bulgaria and bringing the child to the
     U.S. may be time-consuming and difficult.  The U.S. Embassy and
     the Department of State stand ready to assist adoptive parents,
     within the limits of our authority.  U.S. citizens arriving
     abroad to finalize an adoption are advised to proceed carefully
     with all local foreign legal procedures.  They should also work
     closely with the U.S. Embassy throughout the adoption process
     to ensure that the child selected will qualify for U.S.
     immigration benefits and that all the necessary documents are
     in order.
     
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