Adopting from Bulgaria: More than Special Needs


Adopting from BulgariaAdopting from Bulgaria has grown in popularity over the past several years. MLJ Adoptions’ Bulgaria adoption program has abundantly flourished in recent years! We have had the pleasure of completing nearly 40 international adoptions from Bulgaria in the past three years alone. One reason we have been able to place so many vulnerable children with forever families from Bulgaria is because we try to educate prospective adoptive families on the variety and scope of special needs seen in children already placed with families who have chosen to adopt from Bulgaria.

Special needs, additional needs or medical needs are often terms that make people wonder, and possibly nervous, about their adoption process. It’s important to understand that the term special needs encompasses a multitude of meanings and not just stereotypical medical needs. Families adopting from Bulgaria may ask if they have to be open to significant special needs in the child they’re hoping to adopt. When I first began interning at MLJ, I made the assumption, as do most people, that special needs referred to only medical diagnoses and developmental delays. In the U.S., that is typically how the term is used in adoption and foster care, but that is not the case in international adoption. This term also refers to older children, ages 5 years and up, sibling groups, family history, and minor & major medical diagnosis or developmental delays.  It is also important to understand that not every child in need of a family is going to have special needs. Families have chosen to not pursue the special needs route and found that they were able to bring their child home and after a couple of months, he or she was adapting well and exceeding expectations. Though we encourage families to consider a child(ren) with special needs, they have to choose what they feel would be most appropriate for the care they could provide.

MLJ has been partnered with Bulgaria since 2010, and Bulgaria has been one of the most stable and predictable countries to work with for several reasons. Bulgaria is a Hague Convention country, and as a result they are being held accountable to maintain the safety and needs of the children first and to follow all regulations of the Convention when placing children with families. That means that adopting from Bulgaria is an excellent option for families! The Bulgaria program does so well in providing homes for children because they genuinely invest their time into placing children with their forever homes. Bulgaria also has great flexibility when it comes to accepting families adopting children with special needs, whether that is a sibling group, older children, a child with a medical diagnosis, or a child with developmental delays. Bulgaria accepts single women and married couples, and there is no marriage length requirement. Additionally, there is not a set age limit for adoptive parents; however, Bulgaria’s adoption authority prefers adoptive parents who are 15-45 years age difference between the parent and adopted child.

I have been interning with MLJ since January of 2018 and since then I have learned quite a bit about adopting from Bulgaria and the Bulgaria adoption process. I have learned that Bulgaria is a beautiful country that is striving to change the lives of children in need. It’s a country that prides itself on providing the best care possible while also advocating for children who desperately need and want forever families.  This is why MLJ encourages families to consider children with special needs, not because there are no other options to choose from, but because the term encompasses a multitude of different children in need of forever homes.

For more information on adopting from Bulgaria, contact us.

Katelyn Smith is a year-long intern with MLJ Adoptions as she pursues her Master’s of Social Work through IUPUI. Upon graduation, she desires to work with vulnerable children and families.

MLJ Adoptions is a Non-Profit, Hague-Accredited adoption service provider located in Indianapolis, Indiana, working in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Isles. We are passionate about serving children in need.