Mexico Adoption

Many families calling about adopting from Mexico  have been stuck in an adoption for one, two even three years.  Each state has different laws and procedures; some are familiar with Hague requirements and others are not.  What has been confusing to some families who already consulted with a Mexico attorney is that Hague accredited agencies assume liability for the people who help with an adoption, and thus, agencies cannot say “That’s great that you already met an attorney in Mexico City.”  No, we have to say, “That’s great that you already got some legal advice.  For the attorney you have spoken with to work with ICF, he or she has to be approved by the agency and sign an agreement in accordance with the Hague Convention, and this involves providing considerable documentation.  And, that attorney has to be approved by our Hague expert Mexico attorney, Ricardo, and work under his supervision, because he is responsible for ensuring that adoptions in Mexico are ethical and transparent.  Oh, your attorney does not want to be supervised?  He does not understand why he has to provide all these documents, his diploma and criminal clearance and references?  Then we cannot help you if you wish to work with this attorney.  We must follow the procedures required by the Hague Convention.”
This has been a very common conversation.  Unlike in the US, where agencies and attorneys had to become accredited to work with Hague Convention adoption cases, Mexico has had no accreditation program.  Mexico City has disseminated information about the Hague Convention to the state DIFs, but not all have become versed in Hague procedures.  Thus, the DIF or attorneys they recommend to families often do not fully understand Hague requirements; or they know the Hague requirements on the Mexico side of an adoption but are unaware of the requirements of the US side.  Families are thus misinformed and get into situations where they are stuck, because, although the followed the instructions they received, they did not know that Hague Convention adoptions require Hague accredited agency supervision.  There are no independent adoptions in Hague Convention countries.  Not even between relatives.  All adoptive families are held to the same standards.
It takes time, training and continual oversight to work with Hague adoptions.  What is the point of this extra work?  Stopping child trafficking, preventing corruption in adoption, being responsible to parents about the costs and risks.
When I started working in international adoption many years ago now, there was a sort of  innocent enthusiasm enveloping adoption.  A pink cloud.  Families did not always get in-depth education about adoption delays or derailments, about the needs of children who suffered from institutionalization or deprivation, or attachment disorder, or fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, or lead poisoning or environmental hazards, or utter neglect.  There was not much mention of how an adoption might cost $40,000 and never be completed, the money lost for services rendered.  Or, the adoption might be completed, but information about the child missing or inaccurate, and the child in dire need of psychological services and perhaps without potential to ever grow up and be independent.  Or, that the stress of raising children who are defiant and combative may destroy a marriage.  Or all of the time and energy and love invested may result in a disruption and dissolution of the adoption.  A profound sense of failure, a profound sense of loss.
Well, that is all the stuff that parents are required to be informed of now — because they need to know.  They deserve to know.  They need to be prepared.  They need to calculate the real risks and not be allowed to believe that love solves all.
Adopting a child, an older or younger child, is like getting married.  Children are individuals.  Children have many many needs.  We cannot afford the luxury of being dreamy about this, because the children need families who can both love them and care for them, parents who are not wearing rose colored glasses, and who are committed and equipped to handle some pretty tough stuff.
Knowing this, do you still want to adopt?  Yes!  Why?  Because parenting is the most challenging and fulfilling thing we can do, as humans.  It’s pretty much our whole purpose, the reason we work and strive.  The reason we care about education and health care.  The reason we care about the environment and future generations.  Our children will be there, and we have to do what we can to ensure that they have lives that are healthy and happy.
Parenting is not for the timid and I’ll add that adoptive parenting is for people who love wearing superman capes.  It does take going the extra mile, the faith and prayer, the patience of Job, the ability to love and to let go.
There is another reason, too.  Because it is the right thing to do.  It is the right thing to care for the vulnerable, lost and unloved children.  It is the right thing to take the risk, even if we fail, for what else is our capacity for love and commitment for, if not to act?