Opportunities to Adopt Older Children in Bulgaria


In recent years, Ukraine has been a very popular country to adopt older school age children. Because of a recent change in law, foreign families are no longer allowed to adopt children under the age of six from Ukraine, thus creating a demand for children six to nine years old. In Ukraine, the popularity of hosting creates the demand for children as young as possible. Additionally, the desire for children that are singles or sibling groups of two has created the situation of having more parents wanting these children, than there are children currently available.

I would like to encourage these families seeking to adopt older children to highly consider Bulgarian adoption as an option. Here are just a few reasons:

1) There are many older children available – healthy and special needs with little to no wait.

2) Bulgaria is a great option for those that want a very steady and predictable process.

3) Due to Bulgaria being a Hague country, the adoption process is very transparent.

4) Very detailed medicals and background information on the children.

5) The in-country stays are shorter, just two trips of 5-7 days.

6) Bulgaria accepts older parents as well as those with some disabilities.

7) Single women and men can adopt from Bulgaria!

8) Bulgaria is a beautiful country and has become one of Europe’s vacation destinations!

Many families tend to have a lot of concerns about older children. How will I communicate? What will they be like? Don’t they have attachment and bonding issues? Images of news clips about Romanian orphans come to mind for many. As someone who has adopted older children, I understand those concerns. In regards to language, people are often surprised when I share my story of how quickly language comes! My daughters who were adopted at ages six and seven from Ukraine were able to communicate in English within three months, and fairly fluent six months after arriving home.

Please understand that I am not saying that children coming from an institutional type of setting are not without issues or baggage. As for bonding, it is different for each child and depends on what their backgrounds may be. My family has had to deal with lying, stealing, educational deficits, and there have been hard times, but I can see progress and the good often outweighs the bad. Most days, given the chance I would do it again (tongue in cheek!). My older children very much wanted to be a part of a family and want to be here. There are so many children that have the same desire to belong and if given the chance would thrive in a family. In my opinion, if a family diligently educates themselves on what to expect and keeps their expectations in check, works to learn different parenting techniques that work for institutionalized children and develop a strong support system, there is a very good chance for a positive experience.

For families that had hoped to adopt an older child six to nine years old from Ukraine, or Eastern Europe, Bulgaria presents a wonderful opportunity! There are many healthy children available with little or no wait – boys and girls, as well as siblings! For the sake of many waiting children, check out our Bulgaria program! Who knows, your child may just be waiting for you!

Photo credit: This is an MLJ Adoptions, Inc. image.

For more information about MLJ Adoptions’ international adoption programs, please click here.

Lydia Tarr works as the International Program Director for MLJ Adoptions’ programs in Bulgaria and Ukraine. She is the adoptive mother of four children from Ukraine and was recognized as a 2013 Angel in Adoption by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s (CCAI) Angels in Adoption Program.