Recently, I traveled to Mexico City and Santiago de Querétaro to visit with MLJ’s foreign contacts and Mexican government adoption authorities from DIF (Sistema Nacional Para El Desarrollo Integral de la Familia) and SRE (Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores). As an approved adoption service provider in Mexico, we are held responsible for providing oversight of our foreign providers and the adoption process for families hoping to adopt a child from Mexico. Traveling to the countries where we provide adoption services provides us with the opportunities not only to connect with those individuals we collaborate with during the adoption process, but also provides us with training opportunities, the opportunity to visit orphanages and to meet one on one with governmental entities to share ideas and suggestions that further the best interests of children in need as well as provide a smooth and transparent adoption process for prospective adoptive families.
Because Mexico is signatory to The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry (Hague Adoption Convention), it was essential to collaborate with Mexico’s adoption authorities from time to time. Visiting Mexico City, our group had the opportunity to visit with officials from the office of national DIF. In addition to the national DIF office, Mexico also has adoption authorities in each state of Mexico as well and we were also given the opportunity to meet with the DIF representatives in the state of Querétaro. The city of Santiago de Querétaro is situated just a couple of hours north of Mexico City. While in Santiago de Querétaro, we were also provided the opportunity to tour an orphanage, always the highlight of any trip! Visiting any orphanage can be emotional, sad and heart wrenching. It is the same in all countries, orphanages are filled with parentless children, abandoned by birth parents who either could not care for them or refused to care for them, whose birth parents were deceased, who were found on the door step of the orphanage or next to a trash dumpster or who were brought to the orphanage by a stranger severely malnourished, dirty and scared. Some orphanages struggle making ends meet and feeding the children within their walls, while others receive a great deal of support from their government and private donors. To our delight the orphanage we visited in Santiago de Queretaro was one of the best I had ever toured in my professional career. Clean, well-staffed and structured to focus on the protection and wellbeing of the children it is caring for. This orphanage, dare I say, not only offered food, clothing and shelter, but offered healthcare, mental health therapy and even had a therapy play room where a psychologist provided individualized therapy to the children. This is unheard of. This orphanage works hand in hand with their state DIF office not only to place the children for adoption, but also provides them therapy to heal their trauma and prepare them for adoption and an easier transition into their new adoptive families. This orphanage is the model of how orphanages should be run, in the best interests and well-being of the children.
Mexico makes every effort to place children first domestically, if they are unable to do so, the next option is to place them internationally, a key component of the Hague Adoption Convention. Families hoping to adopt from Mexico should be open to one or more of the following characteristics in children they are seeking to adopt:
- Children ages 5 – 9 and older
- Children with medical or special needs
- Sibling groups of all ages
Relative adoptions are possible in Mexico, but are reviewed on a case by case basis to determine whether they qualify. Relative adoptions must still be processed under the Hague Adoption Convention guidelines in order for the adopted child to qualify for a U.S. visa to bring the child to the United States.
Meetings with national DIF and SRE also provided an opportunity to discuss current timelines of families waiting to be matched with children, ideas for improvements on the adoption process in Mexico and providing information regarding a possible hosting program for the children of Mexico to be hosted by U.S. families.
Mexico City is a beautiful city and is considered one of the largest in the Western Hemisphere. Some days going down some tree lined and beautifully landscaped roads, I felt I was in a large metropolitan city such as Chicago. Full of skyscrapers, busy city dwellers and high-end shopping districts, Mexico City definitely can compete with any major city across the globe and is worth the visit. Additionally, the opportunity to visit historical sites such as the Pyramid of the Sun located at the Teotihuacan Pyramids and the Chapultepec Castle provides visitors the opportunity to step back in time and be in awe of past generations and the achievements of past cavillations and cultures that once inhabited Mexico.
Interested in adopting a child in need from Mexico? Considering a relative adoption from Mexico? Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.