Completing an international adoption requires a team of individuals of different skill sets, in different countries with different job responsibilities working towards the same goal – finding families for children in need. In Bulgaria, MLJ Adoptions partners with Vesta to serve the orphaned children and our adoptive families. This week, we were privileged to have Plamena, a Vesta staff member, in our offices.
What Does the Foreign Staff Do?
Since Bulgaria is a Hague Convention country, there is a Central Authority that matches the children with the families. In Bulgaria, the Central Authority, the Ministry of Justice, also maintains the list of children waiting for families through the Waiting Child Program. Vesta comes alongside the Ministry of Justice to advocate for the families who are currently waiting on referrals and for the children who are waiting. Each week, team members for the organizations are visiting children who are in need of families, speaking with their care givers, writing reports and sharing photos with MLJ Adoptions. Vesta also inform MLJ Adoptions about each of our family’s cases when a referral is issued, a court date has occurred or travel dates assigned. When our families are in country on one of their two required trips, Vesta staff members are with them for the airport pickup, at every appointment, orphanage visit and anything in between. They work tirelessly to support our MLJ Adoptions’ families throughout the process.
Time in Indianapolis
When Plamena was visiting, she spoke with our families waiting on referrals, teleconferenced with families who are currently preparing their home studies and dossiers, and met with our U.S. staff in our offices. I had the opportunity to meet with her and share information about our Waiting Child Program. She asked for feedback and I did as well. Our shared goal was to work towards finding families for older children and sibling groups as a team – Vesta in Bulgaria and us in the United States. Together we identified areas where we want to continue to grow so that we can best meet the needs of these vulnerable children.
I asked Plamena her favorite part of her job. She enthusiastically responded that meeting, getting to know the children and working on their behalf to find them families was her favorite part! She went on to share about specific children who have touched her heart. Her stories were such an encouragement to me and the work we do on the other side of the world trying to find families for these deserving children.
I am thankful that MLJ Adoptions partners with organizations in Bulgaria who treasure these children, protect their stories, and advocate on their behalf. It is a privilege to be able to do this work alongside capable and compassionate individuals!