2015: A Year of Growth for our Bulgaria Program!


20We are nearly three quarters of the way through 2015. Where does the time go? But for families waiting on referrals or waiting for their adoptive child to join their family, the time just creeps by. Our staff has been looking back on all that has happened in the past nine months in our Bulgaria program and we are recognizing that 2015 has been a special year for our Bulgaria international adoption program and it’s not even over yet!

Since the beginning of the year, we have received referrals for 17 children from Bulgaria. This includes three sibling groups and three children over the age of ten. All three children who were over the age of ten were adopted through our Waiting Child program, where families have the ability to apply to adopt a specific child in need of a family. The process of adopting a waiting child is usually expedited, as was the case with these three families. The families who were matched through the traditional referral path waited an average of 15.4 months from when their dossier was submitted to the Ministry of Justice to being issued a referral. These sweet kiddos range in age from one year to five years old. Each family’s wait time depended on the characteristics of the child or children they were hoping to adopt.

The children who have been matched with families this year have lived both in children’s homes and in foster families. In the past two years, we have seen an increase in the number of children living in foster homes. This is part of a movement within the Ministry of Justice to ensure orphaned children are receiving more individualized care.20150913_194347

Since January, nine children have joined their forever families from Bulgaria. Five of these children were adopted through the waiting child program. Once a family received a referral for a child from Bulgaria, they travel to Bulgaria to meet him or her in person and the in country processing of the adoption begins. The in country processing of the adoption, including the court process takes between five and seven months. The average time to process the adoption in country for families who brought children home this year was five months. That means that families travel once and then about five months later traveled back to Bulgaria to bring their child or children home.

In 2015, we have had 25 families join our Bulgaria program to begin their adoption journeys. Adopting from Bulgaria allows families to adopt Roma children who may not otherwise have the opportunity to be adopted due to discrimination and stereotypes against people of their ethnicity. Once these families submit their dossiers to the Ministry of Justice, we estimate that they will wait between 12 and 24 months to be matched with children. The length of time to referral depends on the number of children, the age of the child or children and the characteristics of the child or children that the family hopes to adopt. We are eager to see more children from Bulgaria join forever families!

If you’re excited about the growth in our program and are interested in learning more about adopting from Bulgaria, please contact us.

Caitlin Snyder works as the Director of Marketing and Outreach for MLJ Adoptions. Working in international adoption has given Caitlin the unique opportunity to pursue both a passion to advocate on behalf of vulnerable people and a profession at the same time.