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.
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.