1. Bulgarians shake their heads to mean yes and nod for no.
2. Bulgaria produces 70% of the rose oil in the world, which is primarily used in fragrances but is also known for being great for your skin.
3. Founded seven thousand years ago, Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, is the second oldest city in Europe and the biggest and most developed city in Bulgaria.
4. Spartacus, gladiator and escaped slave during the time of the Roman Empire is from modern day Bulgaria. Roman ruins have been unearthed throughout Bulgaria and excavations of artifacts continue to this day.
5. Bulgarians have led the way in technological advances, including the invention of the first electronic computer, digital watch and car air bag.
6. People often think Bulgaria was part of the former Soviet Union as their Communist party aligned with the Soviet government. Communism ended in 1989 in Bulgaria and the government is now a parliamentary democracy and part of the European Union. The current Prime Minister of Bulgaria is Boyko Borisov; Borisov is also known in Bulgaria for being the oldest professional football (soccer) player.
7. Bulgarian cuisine is largely Mediterranean. Food staples include giant stuffed grape leaves; a feta-like white cheese; salads of cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, peppers and parsley, tossed with vinaigrette; and tarator, a combination of Bulgarian yogurt, cucumber, olive oil and garlic. Bulgarian yogurt has a unique taste due to the herb-rich pastures Bulgarian cows and sheep graze and the bacteria used to make it. Lactobacillus bulgaricus, the local strain of bacteria used in Bulgarian yogurt, is so popular that its biggest importers include the European Union, United States and Japan.
8. Some of the oldest trees in the world can be found in Bulgaria’s forests which cover 35% of the land; most of the forest has been designated with environmental protection by the European Union.
9. Bulgaria is located in southeastern Europe. Considering its size, Bulgaria has a huge variety of topographical features, including over 540 rivers, mountain ranges, and beaches along the Black Sea. The southern part of Bulgaria bordering Macedonia and Greece experiences Mediterranean climates while other regions experience a broader range of seasonal changes in temperature.
10. “Name Days” are celebrated in addition to birthdays in Bulgaria. As a matter of fact, most Bulgarians value their ‘Name Day’ more than their birthday. A Name Day, or “Saints Day” is celebrated by people named after a particular Saint (e.g. everyone named Peter celebrates Saint Peter’s day).
Click here to learn more about our Adoption from Bulgaria program online.
The Modern Family Center at Spence-Chapin is excited to announce that we will no longer charge fees for personal adoption histories or support for first/birth and adoptive families in open adoptions wanting to re-connect.
This recent change aligns with our belief that all members of the adoption community should have the right to obtain their information and history with as few barriers as possible.
Of course, this is one small piece in a larger issue of providing access to birth records and identifying birth family information for adoptees who would like to search. Spence-Chapin continues to advocate for a change in adoption laws to allow adoptees to have access to identifying information including their original birth certificates and identities of their birthparents.
I just want to thank you, actually I don’t think a million thank you’s would be enough. I will never forget your kindness, your compassion and your willingness and patience during the times we have spoken and for what I am and have been going through as an adoptee. The wonderful people at Spence-Chapin will change me forever and again I can’t thank you enough for that. Thank you. - Adoptee
Last January we joined the New York Statewide Adoption Reform’s Unsealed Initiative in the hearing on on Bill of Adoptee Rights. You can read about that experience on our blog post: Spence-Chapin supports the Bill of Adoptee Rights and watch our testimony on our Youtube page.
You can learn more about how you can get involved and help advocate on behalf of NYS adoptees by visiting the New York Statewide Adoption Reform’s site.
The Modern Family Center at Spence-Chapin provides personal adoption histories (non-identifying information) for agencies whose records we hold: Spence-Chapin, Louise Wise, and Talbot Perkins. We also provide search and reunion guidance, support, and counseling for all members of the adoption community. Give us a call to learn more – 646-539-2167.
Check out our upcoming events for the adoption community and register today.
What is the definition of a Waiting Child?
The term “Waiting Child” holds many meanings within the adoption community. At Spence-Chapin we define a Waiting Child as a child who is ready to be matched immediately with adoptive parents and identified by their caretakers as a child who would thrive in a family. We are able to share profiles of children on our Waiting Child page. We password-protect this page in order to protect the privacy of these children; contact us to learn more about the Waiting Child page at 212-400-8150 or email@example.com.
Who are the Waiting Children?
We work with our partners in Bulgaria, Colombia, and South Africa to identify children who are particularly in need of loving, permanent families based on age, medical special needs, or being part of a sibling group. While the reasons a child has been identified as a Waiting Child vary, there is one thing the children all have in common – they are ready to be matched immediately with a forever family.
Comparing the Traditional Adoption Process and the Adoption of a Waiting Child
Families often ask how adopting a Waiting Child differs from the traditional adoption process. While the application process and eligibility guidelines are the same, the main difference is the timeline in which families are matched with a child. For a Waiting Child, a family may begin their adoption process by being matched with the child who will be joining their family; families can also request to be matched with a Waiting Child at any point throughout the process. There are many children age 9 and over, part of a sibling group, or with special medical needs in need of families who are not on our Waiting Child page. In a traditional intercountry adoption process, families receive information on their child after their paperwork is submitted to the country.
What is the Next Step?
Spence-Chapin’s mission is to connect the children most in need of families with loving parents. We can help you explore which adoption program is right for your family. If you’d like to learn more about a Waiting Child or our adoption programs, contact a member of our Adoption Team at 212-400-8150 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whenever I sit down to write about this trip, I usually end up staring at a blank page. How can I pen down emotions that I still struggle to explain to myself? When people ask me about my trip to Korea, I show them pictures and tell them about the culture, the sites I visited, and about the children I cared for in Naju. They always respond with either, “how life changing,” or “wow, you are so lucky.” I am very lucky to have been selected to visit Korea, but my luck goes beyond that. I am lucky because I was given the opportunity to experience, if only briefly, what my life would have been like if I had not been adopted.
Life is full of “what ifs,” all life changing to various degrees. What if I had left for work fifteen minutes earlier? What if I had studied a different major in college? What if a different family had adopted me? What if my biological mother had decided to raise me? The latter thought has crossed my mind from time to time, but knowing next to nothing about her, it was difficult to imagine how different my life could have been. I was given the opportunity to read my adoption file for the first time at Social Welfare Society and learn about my biological mother. I found out that one of the reasons why she decided to give me up for adoption was because she was unemployed and did not have the financial stability to care for both of us. But what if she had decided to raise me even though life would be difficult? As I walked through a neighborhood in Seoul, lost and frustrated, that was all I could think of. Would my life have been like this? Living in an area with rundown walkups, boarded up windows, and broken, narrow streets littered with shattered soju bottles? As I walked around and gazed at my surroundings, I could not help but feel that I was face to face with a life that could have been mine given different circumstances. It was scary, saddening, and eye-opening all at once. I was lost, both spatially and emotionally, as I stared at a world I was so unfamiliar with while trying to imagine it as home.
The experience was such a shock that I believed that the trip could not hold any more surprises for me. When I arrived at Naju, I began to think more about myself as an adoptee. Growing up, my thoughts on adoption were always positive. While I often thought about what life would be like if my biological mother had kept me, I hardly ever thought about not being adopted at all. Being adopted was something that I always felt grateful for but, in a way, also took for granted. When I went to Naju and lived at Ewah with the orphans I began to wonder, what if I were never adopted? Would my life have been like little Juno, who is so trusting and innocent? The two of us got attached to one another and he quickly became my favorite child at the orphanage. He would always greet me with a smile, give me a hug, and ask me to play with him. One morning, I decided to skip breakfast and sleep in. When I woke, his caregiver told me that Juno was running around looking for me. He asked, “Did Sam-emo leave? She didn’t say goodbye. I miss her. I hope she comes back to visit me.” It made me sad that this adorable boy would miss me so much when I left, but it also broke my heart imagining the countless number of people before me that he has grown to trust leave as well, and all the people that will in the future. It is hard and painful to imagine a life where the people you meet and become attached to continuously leave. It must feel like abandonment at some point. Is he old enough to understand why? Or does he believe that he is the reason that so many people come and go? Will he grow up able to form long, stable relationships, or will he seclude himself out of fear and resentment? I hope that he grows up to be strong and self-assured, and I hope that I would have too if our places were reversed.
Even though I have finally managed to write something down I know that these stories do not even come close to expressing what I really feel. There are many stories to tell about my month in Korea, many of which are more uplifting, happy, and less complicated than what I have just written. But at the end of the day, those two experiences are the most important to me. As time passes and I begin to forget about all the places I visited while in Korea, I know that I will still remember these emotions. It is possible that all adoptees imagine what life would have been like if they were never adopted, and I have been fortunate enough to get a glimpse of that alternate world. It is something that I will never forget.
To learn more about Summer Programs in Korea visit www.spence-chapin.org/koreasummerprograms
Spence-Chapin’s mission is to find families for the most vulnerable children, including older children, sibling groups, and children with special medical needs.
As you begin to think about growing your family through adoption, one of the first steps is deciding the age of the child you will be parenting. Spence-Chapin can help you explore the reasons an older child could be a great fit for your family. We know there are some questions about older child adoption that people are often too afraid to ask, so we’ve started a list here.
- What is the age range of a child who is considered “older”?
- What are some of the differences between adopting an older child from foster care and adopting an older child internationally?
- Can we adopt an older child if we have younger children we are currently parenting?
- Can a single parent/older parent adopt an older child?
- As a single parent, can I adopt an older child who is not the same gender as me?
- Do older children have behavioral and emotional issues?
- Would we be able to have a bar or bat mitzvah for our child if we adopt an older child?
- How much will I know about my older child’s history?
- Have all older children been living in an institutional setting since birth?
- How much input does an older child have into his adoption plan?
- How can I be fully prepared to adopt an older child?
- What language will my child speak? Will my child speak or understand English?
Are these the questions that you were thinking of too? Our team can provide the answers to all these and more. Give Kara, Heather and Jamie a call – 212-400-8150.
Spence-Chapin is able to share the profiles of international children who are considered to be the most in need of a loving family, and who are ready to be matched immediately. The Waiting Child profiles often consist of children who are older or part of a sibling group. In order to respect the privacy of these children, the Waiting Child page has been password protected.
If you would like to hear more about our adoption programs or request the password to the Waiting Child page, contact us at 212-400-8150 or email@example.com.
Roma people represent around 12 million of Europe’s overall population and Bulgaria is home to the third largest population of Roma in the world. We see this reflected in the large population of Roma children in need of families in Spence-Chapin’s Bulgaria adoption program. Though the Roma are an estimated 5% to 10% of the general population in Bulgaria, around 60% of the children in need of permanent families are of Roma descent. Why are such a large number of Roma children in need of adoptive families?
To begin scratching the surface of why many Roma children are waiting for families in Bulgaria, exploring the larger scope of Romani history is an important first step. The Roma make up the largest and most vulnerable ethnic group in Europe. After migrating from India over a thousand years ago, the Roma people have endured oppression and discrimination. Yet quite remarkably, they have been able to preserve Romani language and culture. You may be more familiar with a commonly used term for Roma – “gypsy”. This term is an outdated and historically inaccurate word stemming from a time when Roma people were thought to have come from Egypt. As the term has negative and derogatory connotations, the most widely accepted term today is Roma.
Centuries of structural discrimination and social exclusion have led to the difficulties that Roma people are faced with today, leaving Roma children vulnerable and, at times, in need of loving homes outside of their birth families. The most prevalent issues faced by Roma families include discrimination, poverty, and limited access to education and medical care. While it can be difficult to picture the realities of what social exclusion may look like for a Roma child in Bulgaria, poverty is the most common reason Roma children are over-represented in child care facilities. The World Bank estimates that the poverty rate for families of Roma descent is 6.7 times greater than non-Roma in Bulgaria. Housing conditions illustrate a powerful snapshot of what living in poverty can look like for a Roma family. While sewage and water supply are available to 93% of the Bulgarian population, 50% of Roma families have no sewage and over 30% of families do not have access to a water supply system.
Regular school attendance can be difficult for Roma children due to circumstances caused by poverty. Issues include a lack of transportation, caring for younger siblings and experiencing discrimination in the school system. Teenagers who experience unplanned pregnancy are also faced with difficulties not only in school attendance but also with their health due to a lack of medical care access. This culminates in only 13% of Roma people with high school diplomas compared to 87% of employed non-Roma Bulgarians.
Lower levels of education lead to higher levels of unemployment and combined with the discrimination faced when seeking work, the Roma experienced an unemployment rate of 59% in 2010 while the national average for unemployment in Bulgaria was 11.6%. Since joining the European Union in 2007, many Roma who have not been able to find employment in Bulgaria have migrated to other European countries for job opportunities. This can create a difficult decision for parents who may not be able to parent their children as they leave the country and then choose to make an adoption plan.
Another factor in the over-representation of Roma children who are adopted internationally highlights the discrimination the Roma people receive within Bulgaria. If a child cannot be raised with their birth family, it is the best choice for a child to be placed with an adoptive family in their home country. Due to a long history of falsely held beliefs and discrimination against the Roma population, Bulgarian families may choose to adopt ethnic Bulgarian children, leaving Roma children waiting longer to be placed with an adoptive family in their home country.
Hundreds of years of oppression have created an environment where Roma children are more vulnerable to factors that leave children in need of a family. While the reasons any Roma child in Bulgaria are in need of a family are complex, Spence-Chapin’s mission is simple – to find families for the most vulnerable children. We are committed to the idea that all children deserve a forever family, regardless of their age or medical condition. There are thousands of school-age children, sibling groups, and children with special needs languishing in orphanages and foster care in Bulgaria. These children blossom when given the opportunity, support, and resources to live within the stability and safety of a permanent loving family.
To learn more about adoption through our Bulgaria program or to view profiles of Waiting Children in Bulgaria ready to be immediately matched with an adoptive family today, contact us at 212-400-8150 or at firstname.lastname@example.org..