Ukraine Hosting Creates Older Child Bulgaria Adoption Opportunities


In recent years, Ukraine has been a very popular country in which to adopt older school-age children through orphan hosting programs.  Because of a recent change in Ukrainian law, foreign families are no longer allowed to adopt healthy children under the age of five from Ukraine unless they are part of a large sibling group or have special needs. This has pushed more families whoadopt from Bulgaria have hosted towards adopting children between the ages of five and eight years old.  In turn, this has created the situation of having more parents wanting to adopt those children than there are children legally free to be adopted. This means that the adoption process from Ukraine may be longer than previously, or that families end up adopting children with additional needs aged five to eight years old.

Families finding themselves in this situation, may want to consider adopting from Bulgaria as an option to grow their families.  Here are just a few reasons:

  • There are many older children legally free for adoption
  • Bulgaria is a party to the Hague Convention, promising a more steady and predictable process
  • Very detailed medicals and background information on the children
  • The in-country stays are short. Two trips of 5-7 days
  • Bulgaria accepts older parents as well as those with some disabilities
  • Single women can adopt from Bulgaria
  • Bulgaria is a beautiful country and has become one of Europe’s vacation destinations


For families who had hoped to adopt a child between the ages of five and eight years old from Ukraine, Bulgaria presents a wonderful opportunity!  Children over the age of five and in need of adoption from Bulgaria may not have additional needs, but due to their age, families are not interested in adopting them. This often times allows for an expedited process, either through a traditional referral route, or through adopting a waiting child. Adopting from Bulgaria also allows families to adopt sibling groups, where one child may be under the age of 5.

Adopting from Bulgaria is a different process than adopting from Ukraine. In Ukraine, families are given an invitation to travel and meet children in need of families who can be referred to them once they arrive in country. When adopting from Bulgaria, families receive a referral for a child, are able to take the child’s medical and social information to an International Adoption Clinic, and make a decision to move forward with the match before traveling. The opportunity to take the child’s information to an International Adoption Clinic is a huge benefit because an International Adoption Doctor should be able to advise the family on what additional needs a child may have. Having additional information enables a family to develop a more comprehensive plan for once the child joins their family, including medical or social supports that may be necessary.

While the Ukraine program historically has been a great option for families wanting to adopt elementary school-aged children, there are now more country options available for families, including single women hoping to adopt internationally. Bulgaria provides families an excellent opportunity to adopt  school-aged children while meeting the same need of international adoption from Eastern Europe.

If you’re interested in learning more about adoption from Bulgaria or Ukraine, please contact us.

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.