The state in Mexico where we plan to adopt prefers that at least one parent stay in Mexico through the entire adoption process after we meet the children. Both parents have to be present for the necessary bonding period of one to three weeks. At least one of us has to be prepared to stay there for three months, but it could be more or less. We just can't know, as any number of things can impact that.
Other states in Mexico prefer the parents to return to their home after they have had an opportunity to bond with the children. Then the parents will wait at home, without their children, until the final adoption decree is scheduled. The parents could be separated from their children for well over six months. Then the parents return to Mexico to finalize everything.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both models. Option one will only work for families that are able to be away from home for many months. But lots of families just cannot do that. P and I are going to struggle to meet this requirement, but it is possible for us, since I do not work outside of the home. P will try to stay as long as possible with us, but there is a chance he'll have to return home for part of the time because of work. If it comes to it, he is going to try to work remotely via Internet. But that may not end up working out. It will be very hard on me if P has to return home, since P is my lifeline. Fortunately, we are blessed that we have a lot of family in Mexico that will make sure I am well attended in the event that P has to leave. But it would be very hard on us. Most importantly, he and the kids would be denied vital bonding time with each other.
The second option would likely turn out to be less expensive, since it is obviously cheaper to live in your own home for many months rather than paying for transportation, hotels, restaurants or a short lease apartment. Some people just cannot be away from their homes for three months if they have children at home in school or if both parents work, etc. But it would be difficult being separated from ones children for many months.
I would not be surprised if there are different possible scenarios that I don't know about in other states.
No matter which route is taken, there is still the matter of having to travel with the children to possibly two other cities after the adoption is finalized to complete all of the necessary paperwork before returning home. At least that is what we are faced with. It could be different depending on which city the adoption takes place in within Mexico. We will have to Mexico City for visits to several different government agencies for very important paperwork. We know there are special procedures to follow when requesting passports for children who will moving out of the country.
After spending around a week in Mexico City, we will possibly have to travel all the way to the border of Texas at Ciudad Juarez in order to get the special American travel visas that are needed for returning home. If this is still the case, it is quite daunting to do all of that traveling after the adoption is finalized. Many children do not handle change well and many children do not travel well. We need to be prepared for a potentially challenging road home!
UPDATE: The US State Department's Information on Adopting in Mexico website has just been changed. The link is on the sidebar. It has the newest information about the adopting in Mexico.
We will continue to research all of this, however, to be absolutely certain of everything. We will keep researching and re-researching. If we get new info, we'll post a new update on this posting.
We have accepted that these are the steps that are necessary to take. So much of this experience is going to depend on our attitude. We need to embrace it as a once-in-a-lifetime adventure!