Basic Steps and Timeline of the Bulgaria Adoption Process

Timeline from Application Approval to Bringing Your Child Home: Approximately 13 - 60 Months


5 working days

Home Study

Approx. 8 -10 weeks


Approx. 5-6 months

Bulgarian Adoption Authority Approval

Approx. 2 months

Child Match

Approx. 2 months - 48 months

Travel to Bulgaria (2 trips in total)

Approx. 2-6 months

There are benchmarks in every Bulgarian adoption. To give you an idea of what is involved in a Bulgarian adoption through CCAI, the following highlights the major steps and timeframe of the process. Because of the nature of international adoption, this timeframe can change during your adoption process, but CCAI is committed to keeping you informed of the current timeframe as you work toward bringing home your adopted child(ren). Understanding the process and timeline now will enable you to be better prepared for this incredible journey that brings you and your child(ren) together.

Application for Adoption – 5 Working Days

Your application allows CCAI to screen your qualifications for a Bulgarian adoption. From your application, we are able to determine whether or not you meet the requirements of our agency and the requirements of the various government entities that will be involved in your adoption - U.S. government, Bulgarian government, etc. If a family submits a complete and truthful application and is approved by CCAI, we are committed to serving you through all the stages of a Bulgarian adoption.

Home Study - Approx. 8 to 10 weeks

Your dossier cannot be complete without your Home Study; CCAI provides home study services and is your link to the USCIS. Approval from the USCIS (United States Citizenship & Immigration Services) is required to send your dossier to Bulgaria. Our dossier team will review your home study.

Dossier Compilation – Approx. 5 - 6 Months

Once your adoption application has been approved, you will begin to compile your adoption dossier. Your dossier is a collection of documents that report on various aspects of your life and represents you as adoptive parents to the Bulgarian government. This part of the adoption process often seems daunting to adoptive families, but it is important to remember to follow CCAI’s Bulgarian Adoption Dossier Guide, and get help from our knowledgeable dossier team.

Once your dossier is complete, our dossier team will critically review your documents and submit your dossier to the Bulgarian legal team via FedEx. The Bulgarian legal team will translate and authenticate your dossier and personally walk it through all of the steps of the in–country process.

Bulgarian Adoption Authority Approval - Approx. 2 Months

The Ministry of Children’s Welfare is responsible for allowing and overseeing adoptions in Bulgaria. Your dossier will be translated and submitted to the Ministry of Children’s Welfare for review, approval, and the assigning of a case number. This process can take up to two or three months.

Child Match – 2 months - 48 months

Once the Ministry approves your family to adopt, a referral letter will follow with information about the medical and social background of the child you wish to adopt or they have matched with you. You will have two weeks to respond, request additional information related to the child referral, and reach a decision about accepting your referral. Referrals can come quickly if adopting an older child, especially 10 and older ; healthy children 2 – 5 years of age can take up to 48 months or longer to get a referral. Generally referrals of girls also take longer than referrals for boys.

Travel to Bulgaria – (Two trips)

Trip One

Parents usually travel approximately one month after the Ministry issues a referral, and the referral is accepted. Parents will spend 7-9 days in-country. Parents will fly into Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, then be escorted to the region the child is located. According to Bulgarian Ordinance №13, which regulates international adoptions, the parents must meet with the child for 5 days prior to moving forward with an adoption. After 5 days, parents must sign an agreement in country that they want the adoption to proceed.

Trip Two

Once parents return to the US, you will file the I-800 with USCIS to receive provisional approval to adopt a specific child (ren). This process usually takes up to 6 to 8 weeks. Parents are also required to obtain updated medical reports and FBI clearances. Once you have an approved I-800, CCAI and you will file the DS-260 (Immigrant Visa application), Once filed, the Bulgarian team will meet as the US Embassy and get the Article 5 letter issued, The adoption package will be submitted to the Ministry, signed off, and sent to the court to get a date to finalize the adoption. Parents do NOT have to be present for the adoption court date. Once the adoption is finalized, there is approximately a 2 week grace period before the adoption order is signed off by the court. About a month to 6 weeks after the adoption order is signed off, the family can travel on their second trip to pick up their child! During this trip, you will work with the Bulgaria team to get your child’s new passport, a US Embassy required medical exam, and complete the visa interview.

The trip is lasts approximately 7 - 10 days. After arriving in Bulgaria, the parents will be taken to the region to pick up their child, and then return to Sofia to complete the process.

When it is time to travel we will assist you with recommendations for travel. Accommodations (typically a hotel) and in-country transportation in Bulgaria will be coordinated by the Bulgarian in country team.

Throughout the wait, families are encouraged to check in with CCAI regularly.

* The timeframe may lengthen while you are in process. However, the outline above reflects the timeline that families have experienced. This may not be your timeline.

CCAI and your Bulgarian representative will work with you to determine the best option for your family related to travel. CCAI’s Bulgarian Program Coordinator will work with the in-country team to arrange your local travel and assist in accommodation recommendations. You will be met at the airport and accompanied at all times by your Bulgarian representative. CCAI will provide you with the needed travel training.

Post Adoption Support and Adoption Validation

After you return to the United States, CCAI will provide ongoing post adoption support to assist you with your adoption transition. Bulgaria requires adoptive parents to supply information about the adopted child's living conditions and educational progress to the Bulgarian Ministry of Children’s Welfare through a post adoption report, with photos attached, prepared by your agency’s social worker every six months for 2 years from the anniversary dates of the adoption. CCAI will provide you information on how to validate your finalized adoption through your local court, enable your adopted Bulgarian child(ren) to receive a U.S. birth certificate from your state, and obtain his/her Social Security card.