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U.S. Department of State
1995:  International Adoption -- Mexico
Bureau of Consular Affairs
 
      
                      INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION - MEXICO 
      
      
                                                                     
     DISCLAIMER:    THE INFORMATION IN THIS CIRCULAR RELATING TO THE 
     LEGAL REQUIREMENTS OF SPECIFIC FOREIGN COUNTRIES IS PROVIDED 
     FOR GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY.  QUESTIONS INVOLVING 
     INTERPRETATION OF SPECIFIC FOREIGN LAWS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO 
     FOREIGN COUNSEL.                                                
      
      
     GENERAL:    Mexico allows U.S. citizens and other non-Mexicans 
     to adopt Mexican children.  U.S. citizens who wish to adopt a 
     Mexican child must adopt the child in Mexico in accordance with 
     Mexican law.  To qualify for adoption, the child must be an 
     orphan.  This means the child must be orphaned, abandoned, or 
     have one surviving parent who releases the child for adoption.  
     Under Mexican law, foreigners may need permission from the 
     Secretary of the Interior (Secretaria de Gobernacion) to adopt 
     in some states.   
      
     AVAILABILITY OF CHILDREN FOR ADOPTION:    Recent U.S. immigrant 
     visa statistics reflect the following pattern for visa issuance 
     to orphans: 
      
                   IR-3 Immigrant Visas          IR-4 Immigrant Visas 
     Fiscal        Issued to Mexican             Issued to Mexican 
     Year       Orphans Adopted Abroad        Orphans Adopted in U.S. 
      
     FY-1990           105                             7 
     FY-1991            93                             4 
     FY-1992            60                             1 
     FY-1993            57                             3 
     FY-1994            59                             4 
      
      
     MEXICAN ADOPTION AUTHORITY: 
      
     The State System for the Full Development of the Family 
     (Desarrollo Integral de la Familia, or DIF) is a government 
     institution in each Mexican state which deals with family 
     matters.  It acts as the legal representative for abandoned 
     children and provides foster care for abused or orphaned 
     minors.  Children who are abandoned or orphaned can be given up 
     for adoption by the DIF.  In cases of abandoned children, the 
     local office of the Ministerio Publico (the investigatory arm 
     of the courts) will be contacted regarding the circumstances.  
     The Ministerio Publico will initiate the appropriate 
     investigation to determine the identity of the child.  If there 
     are no leads, an adoption of the child may be processed.   
      
     There is no central office for adoptions.  Every state has its 
     own Procuaduria de la Defensa del Minor, which is a branch of 
     the DIF.   
      
     The DIF is assigned responsibility to study each child's 
     eligibility for adoption and arrange adoptions.  The DIF 
     determines whether a family would be suitable for a particular 
     child by ensuring that a home study has been done.  It is  
     through this agency that many adoptions occur.  The DIF makes 
     every effort to place children with relatives or Mexican 
     citizens.   
      
     AGE AND CIVIL STATUS: 
      
     Prospective adoptive parents may either be married or single, 
     male or female.  They must be over twenty-five years of age, 
     possess good moral character, and demonstrate the means to care 
     for the physical and educational needs of the child.  The 
     adoptive parents should also be seventeen years older than the 
     child.  If the parents are married, however, only one parent 
     must meet the age requirement.  If the child is over fourteen 
     years of age, he or she must consent to the adoption. 
      
     MEXICAN ADOPTION LAWS: 
      
     Adoption in Mexico is governed by the civil code of each of the 
     31 Mexican states.  While there are general similarities in 
     each state's laws, the actual practice may vary considerably 
     from state to state and even from municipality to municipality. 
      
     At the moment, the DIF in Chihuahua has suspended international 
     adoptions because few children are available for adoption.  If 
     U.S. citizens contact the DIF, they will be provided an 
     application form to complete and information about the required 
     home study.  If we are informed that this situation has 
     changed, this circular will be updated. 
      
     RESIDENCE REQUIREMENTS: 
      
     Mexican adoption procedure includes a six-month trial period 
     during which the child lives with the adoptive parents to 
     assure mutual benefit.  The adoption is not final until after 
     this time, and the child cannot leave Mexico before it is 
     complete.  However, in the case of a foreign adoption, the 
     trial period may be waived at the judge's discretion.  If the 
     judge does not approve a waiver, the adoptive parents must live 
     in Mexico for six months to care for the child.  In the event 
     of a waiver, the entire adoption process is shortened to 
     approximately one year.  Because of the large amount of 
     paperwork, the adoptive parents should be prepared to spend at 
     least ten working days in Mexico. 
      
 
     MEXICAN DOCUMENTARY REQUIREMENTS: 
      
     Prospective adoptive parents should have the following: 
      
      1. Certified copy of birth certificates or a U.S. passport as 
         proof of U.S. citizenship; 
      
      2. Certified copy of marriage certificate, if applicable; 
      
      3. Statement from employer of the parent who is the primary 
         supporter of the family.  It must indicate the position, 
         years of service with the employer, and salary.  It is also 
         recommended to include a certified copy of the most recent 
         income-tax form; 
      
      4. Copy of the most recent bank statement or other evidence of 
         financial holdings as proof of financial solvency; 
      
      5. Two letters of recommendation from two people who can 
         attest to the character of the adoptive parents.  A married 
         couple should obtain letters from persons who have known 
         them as a married couple.  Each letter should include the 
         address and telephone number of the person writing the 
         letter; 
      
      6. Certificate from the state police verifying that the 
         adoptive parents have no police record; 
      
      7. A copy of a social, economic, and psychological study 
         of the parents' home situation conducted by an agency of 
         the state of the child's proposed residence, by an agency 
         authorized by that state to conduct such a study, or by an 
         appropriate public or private adoption agency licensed in 
         the U.S.  The adoptive parents should consult the 
         office of the U.S. Health and Human Services Administration 
         nearest their residence for referral to the competent body 
         for this study; 
      
      8. One 3x3-inch color photograph of each parent; 
      
      9. Two 3x5-inch photographs of the parents in their home or in 
         a family outing. 
      
     All documentation listed above must be notarized by a notary 
     public at the place of origin of the document, translated into 
     Spanish by an official translator of the Mexican Consulate 
     nearest to the parents' place of residence in the United 
     States, and certified by that Mexican Consulate.  When all the 
     documents have been assembled, they should be sent to the 
     person or organization in Mexico acting as the adoption 
     agent/representative for presentation to the Mexican court. 
      
     The Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores the Mexican Foreign 
     Ministry, or SRE) requires that a Mexican passport be issued to 
     the child after the adoption proceedings are completed.  
     Passports issued to a child prior to the final decree of 
     adoption are not valid for travel purposes under the new 
     identity of the child. 
      
     MEXICAN EMBASSY AND CONSULATES GENERAL IN THE U.S.: 
      
     Embassy of Mexico's Consular Section 
     2827 16th Street., N.W. 
     Washington, D.C.  20009-4260 
     tel:  (202) 736-1000 
      
     Mexico also has Consulates General in Los Angeles, San Diego, 
     San Francisco, Denver, Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, New Orleans, 
     New York, Hato Rey, Dallas, El Paso, Houston, and San Antonio.  
     In addition, there are Mexican consulates and honorary consuls 
     located throughout the United States. 
      
     U.S. CONSULAR ASSISTANCE: 
      
     Upon arrival in Mexico to try to arrange an adoption, 
     U.S. citizens should register at the U.S. Embassy, Consular 
     Section, American Citizens Services Division (or at the nearest 
     U.S. Consulate or Consulate General).  The Embassy will be able 
     to provide information about any existing travel warnings and 
     to provide other information about Mexico, including lists of 
     physicians, attorneys, interpreters and translators.  The 
     American Embassy is located at Paseo de la Reforma 305, Colonia  
     Cuauhtemoc, 06500 Mexico, D.F., tel. 011-52-5-211-0042.  The 
     American Consulate General, Ciudad Juarez, where all immigrant 
     visas are issued, is located at Avenida Lopez Mateos 924 N, 
     Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, tel. 011-52-16-113-000. 
      
     U.S. IMMIGRATION REQUIREMENTS: 
      
     Before attempting to adopt a child from any overseas location, 
     U.S. citizens should ensure that they understand the legal 
     requirements for the admission of adopted children into the 
     United States.  We suggest that you contact the nearest office 
     of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service for further 
     information and that you also review our information circular 
     entitled International Adoptions. 
      
     It is advisable to contact the Visa Section of the 
     U.S. Consulate General in Ciudad Juarez at least one day in 
     advance to check that the documents are in order and to set an 
     appointment for the immigrant visa interview.  The Consulate 
     General cannot guarantee issuance of the visa in advance of the 
     interview.  Since each case is different, it is possible that 
     the Consulate General will request additional documents after a 
     preliminary review of the application of the prospective 
     adoptive parent(s). 
      
     Prospective adoptive parents should consult INS publication 
     No. M-249, The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adoptive 
     Children.  
      
     PITFALLS:   
      
     Potential adoptive parents are advised to follow carefully 
     legal adoption procedures.  The process for legally adopting a 
     child is long and tedious.  Couples are sometimes approached by 
     unscrupulous agents who obtain children outside the legal 
     network.  Adoptive children who enter the U.S. without an 
     immigrant visa may later encounter problems with the U.S. 
     Immigration Service, schools, Social Security, etc.   
      
     QUESTIONS:  Specific questions regarding adoptions in Mexico 
     may be addressed to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy or 
     Consulate.  You may also contact the Office of Children's 
     Issues, U.S. Department of State, Room 4800 N.S., 
     2201 C Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.  20520-4818, telephone 
     (202) 647-2688 with specific adoption questions.  Recorded 
     information concerning significant changes in adoption 
     procedures is available 24 hours a day at: (202) 736-7000, or 
     by automated fax (calling from the telephone on your fax 
     machine) at (202) 647-3000.  If the country you are interested 
     in is not listed, procedures have not significantly changed.  
     Information on immigrant visas is available from the State 
     Department's Visa Office, at (202) 663-1225.  This 24 hour 
     automated system includes options to speak with consular 
     officers during business hours for questions not answered in 
     the recorded material.  Application forms and petitions for 
     immigrant visas are available from the U.S. Immigration and 
     Naturalization Service, the nearest office of which is listed 
     in the federal pages of your telephone book, under  U.S. 
     Department of Justice. 
      
     In addition, the State Department publishes Consular 
     Information Sheets and Travel Warnings.  Consular Information 
     Sheets are available for every country in the world, providing 
     information such as the location of the U.S. Embassy, health 
     conditions, political situations, and crime reports.  When 
     situations are sufficiently serious that the State Department 
     recommends U.S. citizens avoid traveling to a country, a Travel 
     Warning is issued.  Both Consular Information Sheets and Travel 
     Warnings may be heard 24 hours a day by calling the State 
     Department's Office of Overseas Citizens Services at 
     (202) 647-5225 from a touch-tone telephone.  The recording is 
     updated as new information becomes available.  In addition,  
     this information is accessible through the automated fax 
     machine, as above, and is also available at any of the 13 
     regional passport agencies, field offices of the U.S. 
     Department of Commerce, and U.S. Embassies and Consulates 
     abroad.  Furthermore, you may write in requesting information, 
     sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Overseas Citizens 
     Services, Room 4811 N.S., 2201 C St., N.W., U.S. Department of 
     State, Washington, D.C.  20520-4818.  Finally, information is 
     available through your personal computer.  If you have a 
     computer and a modem, you can access the Consular Affairs 
     Bulletin Board (CABB).  This service is free of charge, and may 
     be reached at: (202) 647-9225.  Consular Information Sheets and 
     Travel Warnings may also be accessed by subscribers to many 
     on-line services.  For complete information on accessing 
     consular information via computer, please request document 
     1016, entitled "Consular Information Program," from the 
     automated fax system, which is described in the preceding 
     paragraph. 
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