Bulgaria Program Updates

Spence-Chapin’s mission is driven by a fundamental belief that all children deserve a forever family. Since 1995, Spence-Chapin has been finding permanent, loving homes for children in Bulgaria. Our agency partners with ANIDO, a highly reputable non-governmental organization licensed by the Ministry of Justice, Bulgaria’s central authority for adoption. Spence-Chapin is a Hague accredited agency with over 40 years of experience in international adoption and we continue to seek families living anywhere in the United States who are drawn to Bulgaria as the country to build their families and who will embrace the process of incorporating Bulgarian culture into the life of their family going forward.

Children in Bulgaria ages 0-9

In July of 2017, we expanded our Bulgaria Program to find permanent, loving families for children in Bulgaria ages 0-9. There are thousands of young and school-aged children, sibling groups, and children with special needs in Bulgaria who are waiting for international adoption. The children are typically cared for in state-run institutions, small group homes or foster care. Children reflect the full range of ethnicities in Bulgaria and are primarily of Roma or Turkish descent. As ethnic minorities within the country, these children are more vulnerable to factors that leave them in need of a family.

The wait time for adoptive families to be matched with a child after dossier submission to Bulgaria varies based on each family’s openness around age of the child:

  • The wait time to be matched with medically healthy children ages 0-3 years old is approximately 5 years after dossier submission.
  • The wait time to be matched with medically healthy children ages 3-7 years old is approximately 4 years after dossier submission.
  • Families can also request to adopt a healthy sibling group under the age of 7 and the wait time to be matched is approximately 4 years.

Greatest Need of Adoption in Bulgaria – Children Age 9 and Older

The children waiting the longest to find families in Bulgaria are boys over the age of 9 and girls over the age of 12. Additionally, there are many healthy sibling groups with one child over age 9 that are waiting to be adopted. These children are medically healthy and are typically matched with a family 6-12 month after dossier submission. ANIDO is committed to keeping sibling groups together whenever possible and additional fees to adopt siblings are minimal.

Thinking of adopting a sibling group? Listen to a Spence-Chapin family share their adoption story of Bulgarian siblings here!

In addition to older kids and sibling groups, there are also younger children diagnosed with medical needs, such as Down syndrome and developmental delays, in need of adoption. Families are encouraged to speak with a medical professional who can assist them in determining their family’s particular medical openness. Families open to a child with special needs ages 2 to 15 are typically matched in 6-12 months after dossier submission.

Waiting Children

In addition to the being matched with a child, adoptive families and Bulgarian children can be matched with a Waiting Child.

Through ANIDO, Spence-Chapin receives profiles of identified Waiting Children who are available for immediate matching with a family several times per year. The Bulgarian Ministry of Justice maintains a Waiting Child registry of over 1,800 children and provides profiles of these children to agencies as one more way for families and children to find one another. The Waiting Child profiles are reflective of all children available for adoption in Bulgaria and range in age and health status.

Spence-Chapin advocates for Waiting Children by featuring their profiles on our website in the hopes of identifying the right family. Families can be matched with a Waiting Child at any phase of their adoption process. Many families adopting older children are often adopting waiting children and therefore don’t experience the typical wait time to be matched.

Current Waiting Children from all of Spence-Chapin’s programs can be viewed on our website by clicking here.

Following placement of a child or sibling group from Bulgaria, Spence-Chapin is available for support and guidance for the lifetime of your family. Our Modern Family Center offers counseling, parent coaching, post adoption support, mentorship and birthland trips.

Children in Bulgaria are waiting for you! 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 info@spence-chapin.org.

What is a “Waiting Child”?

waiting childWhat 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 info@spence-chapin.org.

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 info@spence-chapin.org.