Since Mexico and the US are both governed by The Hague Convention international adoption laws, some of the steps have to do with complying with that. Actually, those laws only very recently took effect in the US, so not only are we pioneers because we are in a pilot program, but we are also among the first American families to have to comply with the new laws. So there have been lots of surprises!
Anyway, each country is unique in how adoptions are processed, and in Mexico it even varies by state. So, these are the steps that we anticipate in the future months, subject to change at any moment, when we get the latest, newest information!
- Receive approval to adopt from our Hague Accredited adoption agency
- Hague Accredited Adoption Agency approves homestudy and writes a cover letter to make the homestudy Hague Compliant
- File form I-800A with the CIS (Citizenship and Immigration Services). This is to get pre-approval from the US Gov't to adopt orphans from another Hague Country
- Compile documents required by Mexico for our dossier (file)
- Get all dossier documents apostilled (a very official way to authenticate them by sending them back to the State where they originated to be validated)
- Get dossier translated into Spanish by certified translator
- Submit dossier to Mexican government (The DIF) for approval to adopt
- Once we are approved, we will be put on a waiting list to be referred (matched)
- We receive referral with background and medical information on the children to review. Then we accept the referral.
- We have more documents to prepare, another form to file with the CIS, will need to get new FBI background clearances, etc.
- We travel to Mexico. This is a huge step. We will meet the children and have a bonding period with them where we visit them, supervised, at their orphanage. Within 1 to 3 weeks, we will have legal custody of the children and they will stay with us in our rented apartment. Then the legal proceedings in the courts begin to finalize the adoption. Within about 3 months, the adoption will become final. Then we go to Mexico City to get the children identification/passports with their new last names. Then we must travel to Ciudad Juarez to visit the American Consulate there. The children will be given medical evaluations by an embassy doctor. Then they will be issued very special visas to enter the US legally.
- We go home! After we arrive home, we will have to formalize the adoption in our home state, get US identifications, social security numbers, etc for them.
- Our homestudy social worker will visit our home and will write post-placement reports which will be mailed to Mexico.