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.

International Spotlight: Bulgaria Adoption Program


The Bulgaria program at Nightlight has two routes of adoption that families can pursue. The first route is the traditional adoption process where a family will complete their home study, compile their dossier and then wait to be matched by the Ministry of Justice. This route can vary in time based on how open a family can be to age, gender, number of children and the special needs characteristics. The second route is the waiting child program where families can review children’s profiles and apply to receive provisional approval. Once the Ministry of Justice grants a family provisional approval that means no other families can apply for that specific child(ren) and the family has 6 months to complete their home study and dossier for the Ministry of Justice to officially match the family with the child they applied for.

We have many waiting children profiles on our Adoption Bridge website that we advocate for because they are harder to place due to special needs, age or sibling groups. We have had many successful adoptions of families pursuing waiting children. The waiting child program is also significantly faster than the traditional route cutting out any waiting time a family would have to be matched. The waiting child program is commonly advocating for children with severe special needs that are 5 and younger as well as sibling groups up to four children. We have many single children that are over the age of 12 that have clinically healthy waiting for their forever families. Currently, we have a lot of families showing interest in our waiting child program as they look through Adoption Bridge and see all the young faces needing homes. Our program currently has three families pursuing waiting child from ages 5 to 16.

A unique document that is specific to the Bulgaria program is call the special needs checklist and it is something that was constructed by the Ministry of Justice that lists out all common and uncommon special needs that children from Bulgaria could have. Nightlight has a special needs checklist from Bulgaria that is highlighted with specific special needs that have been seen with referrals received over the last several years. This checklist has helped beginning families determine what special needs they would be comfortable caring for as well as any special needs that they would be open to considering. The Bulgaria program also offers a scheduled phone call with our Bulgaria representative to go over the checklist with each family providing suggestions of which special needs to be open to as well as letting them know the likelihood of a timeframe to be matched if they are pursuing the traditional route.

If you are interested in learning more about the Bulgaria program or the waiting child program, please contact our Indiana office’s inquiry specialist, Savana Rowe, at Your program coordinator for the Bulgaria program is Karson Loscar and she has worked in this program for 3 years.

International Spotlight: Dominican Republic


Dominican Republic’s population has been steadily increasing each year. In 2020, the country’s population was roughly 11 million people with a poverty rate of 15.2%, meaning that 1.7 million of Dominican Republic’s people were living in poverty. The majority of Dominicans living in poverty also live in rural areas with little access to care and resources ( Socioeconomic inequality among women, corruption, natural disasters, and an increasing population seems to be the main causes of poverty in the country ( Among this poverty-stricken population are thousands of children that become neglected, abused, or abandoned every year due to the family’s inability to provide proper care for their children. These children are in need of safe, loving and nurturing homes; however, most of them find themselves institutionalized until they age out or are adopted. Typically, the Dominican Republic will prioritize domestic adoption before a child becomes eligible for international adoption. Dominican children that are not adopted domestically are then placed for international adoption by Consejo Nacional Para La Ninez Y La Adolescencia, (CONANI). CONANI is Dominican Republic’s central adoption authority, or the entity that oversees the adoption of children in need of families.

All children who become eligible for international adoption in the Dominican Republic have some type of medical or psychological need. Mild to severe special needs range in each age group. However there are older children and sibling groups that are considered special needs, but may not have a medical or psychological need.  These children are considered harder to place. Typical needs of children who are eligible for international adoption include blood related disorders, meningitis, diseases of the eyes, asthma, autism, and children with neurodevelopmental and/or psychomotor delays. Medical care for certain conditions may not be available in Dominican Republic’s health care system, as a result it is not always easy for the country to provide the sufficient care for children with significant needs. While the country’s healthcare system is the most advanced in the Caribbean, it is still not suitable for children in need of ongoing treatment and routine check-ups (

Currently, Nightlight’s Dominican Republic program has thirty-three children waiting for a forever family that are eligible for international adoption. The files of these children are available for potential adoptive parents to view on Nightlight’s Adoption Bridge website. Children eligible for international adoption from Dominican Republic have “DR” listed within their name on the website. Although Nightlight cannot post children’s photos on this website, the country does allow for limited access to children’s information online that includes general descriptions accompanied by their age and any identified needs. Eligible families can view their full file with photos upon request by e-mailing Children listed on the website are immediately eligible for adoption once a family’s dossier is submitted to the country and they are matched by CONANI.

Additionally, there is a $500 grant available to the next family that adopts a waiting child from the Dominican Republic. If you are interested in adopting a child who is not on Adoption Bridge, we ask prospective adoptive parents to be open to children that are at least 6 or 7 years of age and/or have moderate special needs. Generally, sibling groups and older children eligible for adoption are generally healthy. To learn more about this program, you can submit an inquiry form here, and our Inquiry Team will reach out to share more.