March 26, 2023

International Spotlight: Mexico


Map of Mexico

Our international spotlight is on Mexico this month! Nightlight received approval to open an adoption program in Mexico in 2019. Our first children came home in 2021. This program has proven to be very popular with Mexican families wanting to adopt relatives for a variety of good reasons. In addition, some families have met children while volunteering in orphanages and moved forward with an adoption, and others have come to Nightlight to adopt waiting children in Mexico.

Mexico is a signatory to the Hague Adoption Convention, ensuring protections are in place to provide oversight that intercountry adoption are processed in the best interests of Mexican children. In Mexico, the duties of Central Authority are shared by the SRE (Secretary of Foreign Relations), the National DIF office (DIF is the Child & Family Department) and the DIF office in each state in Mexico. That means that there are many authorities involved, in addition to the Civil Registry and the court system, and can mean that there is a great variety in the amount of time it takes to complete an adoption. Some State DIF offices and some courts are quicker than others. It takes patience to complete an adoption in Mexico, but it is definitely possible and with perseverance, the children come home to their new families in the United States. Generally, an adoption in Mexico will take 24-30 months to complete.


Since opening the program in 2019, we have welcomed 12 children home to the US. Currently, there are over 50 families in the program, in various stages, from application to home study to dossier preparation to travel. In 2022, 9 children have been officially referred to their new families and all of them should be home in 2023. All of these referrals are for children related to the family adopting them. They have the following characteristics:

  • 15 year old girl
  • 7 year old girl
  • 5 year old boy
  • 3 year old boy
  • 6 year old boy
  • 9 year old boy
  • 12 year old twin girls
  • 8 year old girl

While it may seem like the program is just for people adopting relatives, it would be good to point out that of the 6 children who came home in 2021, all 6 were unrelated. Of the 6 children who came home in 2022, 4 were unrelated and 2 were adoptions by relatives. There is a good mix of different types of adoptions in Mexico.

Families adopting unrelated children, are sometimes previously identified (as in a case where the family met the child while doing volunteer work in an orphanage and later requested to adopt the child), and other times they are asking to adopt a waiting children from Mexico’s DIF child care system. In those cases, we require the family to be open to children 8 and older, since those are the ages of the children we see available. The younger healthy children are all being adopted by Mexican families living in Mexico which is very positive. There are occasionally children under 8 who are available but they will have moderate to severe special needs.


Once the referral is made, the family will need to travel to Mexico to spend supervised time with the child, usually 1-2 weeks. After that, it will be 12-14 months before the child will be able to travel home, in order to complete the requirements of USCIS, the Mexican courts, the Civil Registry, and other authorities involved in the process. Families will need to travel again to Mexico to appear in court (1-2 days), and then their last trip will be to complete the final stages and will require a stay of 3-4 weeks.


Do you feel called to adopt a child in Mexico? There are many different reasons: your heritage is Mexican, you’ve volunteered in orphanages and have seen the need, you know that your child is there! If you can open your home to a child from Mexico, please contact or visit our Mexico webpage.

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