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25 Factors to Consider When Adopting From Mexico

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Current as of May, 2011. This information is subject to change; therefore, check with an agency that places from this country for the most current information.

All prospective parents looking to adopt from Mexico must work with an adoption service provider (ASP) that has been authorized by a competent Mexican authority on either the national or state level.  State adoption authorities do not have to recognize national authorizations and have the discretion to provide state-level authorizations to ASPs. 

Only one ASP, Carolina Adoptions, has been authorized at the national level and twenty nine Mexican states have confirmed that they will accept the national authorization.  The state of Jalisco does not accept Carolina Adoptions’ national authorization, but has authorized Across the World Adoptions to operate there. The state of Nuevo Leon is not currently accepting intercountry adoptions.  More information can be found here.


General Info: Adopting from Mexico is complex, in part because adoptive parents must work with three Mexican governmental agencies: the Mexican Central Authority (MCA), based in Mexico City; the Secretary of the Exterior Relations, based in Mexico City; and Desarrollo Integral de la Familia (DIF), the adoption authorities in each Mexican state.  There are 31 states in Mexico and each has their own adoption requirements making it difficult to generalize about requirements.  The information below applies to most states, but check with DIF in the state you are interested in or an agency that has an established program in that state.


Parental Age

Parents must be at least 25 and at least 17 years older than child.  Some Mexican states require that parents be no more than 50 years older than the child.

Length of Marriage

Some Mexican states have no specific requirement, while others require parents to be married up to 5 years.


No country requirement, but each Mexican state or adoption agency can impose a requirement.

Children in Family

Most Mexican states have no specific requirement; while others limit placement to families with no more than 2 children in the home.

Single Applicant

Most Mexican states allow. Female and male. 

Sexual Orientation

Does not knowingly place with homosexuals.

Children Available

Most children are over the age of 3.  Mexico is required under the Hague Treaty to try to find an adoptive family in Mexico before turning to international families.  Most very young children are adopted by Mexican families.  Children under 3 with special needs available. Sibling groups available.


Hispanic, Indian


Boys and girls; Parent may choose.  

Adopting more than one unrelated child at same time


Travel in Country

  • Both parents, if married, must make 2-3 trips to Mexico lasting 2 to 3 weeks each. Some states require a parent to stay in Mexico while adoption is being processed. This period can be up to 4 months.
  • Some Mexican states require that parents bring 2 witnesses with them on one of the trips.

Referral Method

Standard; DIF makes the referral; although it is allowed for adoptive parents to identified a child that is available for adoption and apply to adopt that child.

Wait for referral (after dossier submitted)

2-6 months

Wait after referral

All Mexican states require a bonding period ranging between 1-3 weeks before the adoption can be finalized.  Total time for adoption to be finalized can range from 3 to 8 months.

Approximate Cost

$15,000-25,000 plus travel and living expenses while in country

Adequacy of medical reports

Not enough placements to get a consensus from IA doctors interviewed.  It is possible to have the child evaluated while visiting the child in Mexico.

Youngest Age Upon Arrival Home

6 months, but usually much older

Orphanage/Foster Care

Usually orphanages

How children enter government care

Relinquishment by birth parents due to poverty or single motherhood; abandonment; removal by government for abuse, neglect, or incarceration.

Prevalence of FAS

Not enough placements to get a consensus from IA doctors interviewed.  Children who are removed from the home due to abuse or neglect are at higher risk in all countries, including Mexico.



Variable; significant differences between Mexican states; depending on the program and state, can be an arduous process.

Number of children placed in the US 2002- 2009



Holding fairly steady

Post Adoption Reports

Varies by state but usually one at 6 months and 12 months prepared by home study agency. 

Hague Treaty


Health Restrictions for Adoptive Parents

Mexico does not have additional specific health restrictions.

Additional Information

  • Adoption finalized in Mexico.
  • Some Mexican states and judges require a psychological evaluation.
  • Document requirements are greater than for most other countries.

Useful Links

US Department of State Mexico page

Latin America Parents Association

Creating a Family Sponsors with Programs in Mexico


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