Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bulgarian Process

Okay, I figured others might want to know how the Bulgarian adoption process works.  Keep in mind, we are very much newbies to this as every single country does things differently.  Now, Russia, we could probably do in our sleep again. Bulgaria, I'm learning as I go.  Following others and trying to give out correct info and correct it if I'm wrong. Please correct me if I'm wrong, b/c that helps future parents. 

I'll start from the beginning.  We originally were looking for another child that was a bit younger than Nik and was Deaf.  I was shocked at the time just how hard they are to find.  See, w/ our family size, we are indeed limited to where we can adopt from.  We can not adopt from Ukraine as the stay in country is too long w/ the special needs kids we have at home.  Just wouldn't work for our family dynamics.  So once I narrowed down a country that fit our criteria, we then started looking for kids.  There really are not very young kids from Bulgaria.  Most are at the very least over 2yo.  I also wanted a child who was deaf or HOH.  A sibling for Nik to relate to.  Well, there was one but he was spoken for very quickly.  Remember, I had a spouse afflicted w/ what many in the adoption community call RSS.  Reluctant Spouse Syndrome.  It's not the easiest thing to recover from but can indeed be recovered from.  BTW, Warren has suffered from this w/ every single one of our adoptions.  Yet, here we are again, bringing home #8, 9 & 10.  Go figure.  One day I'll write a post just on RSS.  I know there are others out there that can relate.

Anyhow, once we decided to proceed, we looked at a few files via our agency.  Now, our Bulgarian process will be a little different than those waiting for referrals as we always choose waiting children.  We had chosen a set of 4yo twins at the time and then Summer.  We committed to these three children.  Well, more information came to light about one of the twins.  We knew w/ our family dynamics, we could not care for a child that would without a doubt need 24 hour care. She needed a smaller family to be able to meet the needs she had.  It was with a very heavy heart we declined the twins and were searching for 2 other children.  Well, one or two.  Truly, we had no idea how many we would end up with.  Warren even said if we end up with just one, than that was the way it was meant to be.  Just didn't want you to think that we intentionally sought out two more children.  No.  We sought out what we thought would be our children.  No matter the number of them.  We were told of a much older sibling set.  Laid eyes on them, listened to them and that was it.  We were hooked!  We knew.  Those were indeed our kids.  Didn't care how old they were though they are the oldest kids we will have ever adopted.  Our next step, since these were waiting children, was to submit what they called a mini dossier.  This includes your homestudy.  Again, one day after court I will explain all the details of what happened throughout our journey.  It is not for the faint of heart.  Trust me.  Long story & will be saved for after our adoption journey is complete. For now, just want to tell you a little of our process. It should have been much faster but we hit every single glitch known to man.  Homestudy was completed, mini dossier submitted and waiting on I-800A approval.  Yeh, that didn't come.  LOL.  For those "oldies" on here, you'll know why.  Yep, Irina turned 18 during this process & despite here being our daughter and mentally challenged, she still had to be treated as if she were another adult in the home.  Eventually, I-800 approval was given and dossier was submitted.  Big dossier w/ everything in it.  It was submitted to the MOJ in Bulgaria.  MOJ stands for Ministry of Justice.  Bulgaria has a long waiting list for referrals.  However, it is different if you pick a child that has been waiting forever for a family, is older, and is special needs.  They tend to go a little faster.

After we were accepted and received what are called "official" referrals of our kids, a month later, we were due to travel.  This was back in April we were supposed to travel.  Our official referrals came on March 18th (it's listed on the official MOJ website that anyone has access to) and travel was scheduled I believe for April 13th or somewhere close to that.  We however, were held up by that investigation.  Lovely.  Remember, the false one?  Once all cleared up on our end, we ended up traveling in June.  We come back, and sent in the I-800 forms and I-864W forms.  We have to do 3 of everything as we are adopting three children.  Yes, it is as paperwork painful as it sounds.  We also have to fill out the DS230 forms.  Now, we put in our I-800 forms and received notice that it'd been received on June 27th, I believe.  Just yesterday, July 9th, it was approved.  Given you all a time line here. After this, it gets sent to the US Embassy in Sofia.  From there, the Bulgarian adoption team gets an Article 5 letter.  This then must go to the MOJ for some signatures.  After all this, then you can be submitted to get your court date.

Court is held in Bulgaria without you present.  I know in most other countries, we must be present to go to court.  This is a nice change for us.  Hey, no new dress clothes.  LOL.  After court, most families travel within a month to go pick up the children.  I hope this is the case with us as well.  Our kids are located in two different regions. 

I really can't wait to get the I-800 approval notice in my hot little hands.  Not sure exactly how long it takes for the team in Bulgaria to get the Article 5 letter from the Embassy.  Praying not long.  It would be nice to have a court date w/in the next 2 to 3 weeks.  It really would.  I know summer vacation for judges is the entire month of August & told some of them spill into vacation into September as well.  So, would be great if we'd be allowed an October court date.  Praying it will be then.  You know me and being patient.  I'm just NOT patient.  This has gone long enough.  Kids are anxious to come home and we're really ready for them to come home.  I do know that the team in Bulgaria after court has to get them visas and passports.  That I know.   They also will need medical exit exams if I'm not mistaken.  Again, new country for us but believe most embassy rules are the same. 

So that about does it.  Oh, why you don't see pictures of the kids that we are adopting up on our blog.  This area is kind of fuzzy as I do know that some people do post pictures.  We just feel it is better to be safe than sorry.  That, and many agencies ask you to agree not to post them until after court...when they are officially yours.  I'm dying to post pictures.  I'd love to share w/ you as they are so dog gone cute.  Their personalities are beaming w/ spirit.  Can't wait for you to meet them on here and then for some of you, to meet them in person.  The first trip I can tell you all is well worth the wait.  Try not to get mad at your agencies for taking so long.  Trust me, it is not them making you wait.  However, stick it out.  Your kids will be well worth any wait.  The wait now to bring them home is hard.  Not going to lie.  I just want them home.  But, adoption is a process.  You must follow the rules.  You must wait your turn.  You must be patient.  Geez, it's like kindergarten all over again.  LOL.  Seriously though, I know many of you have been waiting forever.  It is well worth any time you have to spend waiting.  Once home, you will vaguely remember how long the process took.  For me, it is really hard.  Irina and Max--- 6 months total start to finish.  Yana and Alex-- 10 months total.  Bojan-- 6 months total.  ( could have been 4 months but we pushed it back).  Alyona and Nik-- 7 months total.  So, having waited over a year and a half thus far, it does seem like forever for us.  I know, we were "spoiled" a bit by such wait times before. 

Okay, got to go.  Hope that cleared up some things about how the process works.  Maybe it did, maybe it didn't.  Oh, I forgot to mention that Bulgaria is a Hague Country.  There are NGO(non-governmental organizations) that work in tandem w/ your American Agency.  I can't remember if there are 2 or 3 NGO's.  Shoot, I may be wrong on that # but not sure.  Please, please write and tell me if I've said something wrong.  I know a few have asked me offline about how this process works so figured I'd finally write something about it.  More to come tomorrow, along w/ picture post I believe.  Time to break up all this writing lately. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the info. I read your blog from time to time. This is my first adoption. I'm just waiting on my FBI clearance for my home study to be complete. I'm also adopting from Bulgaria.

    Your post about the children with CF made my want to cry because I'm not far enough along to scoop those babies up. I'm a volunteer and advocate for CF. The CFF is very dear to my heart for many reasons. I followed your link to the, Finding Our Butterflies Blog and I'm hooked already and I've only read one post.

    Thank you!!