Last week, Santa Fe District Judge (and soon-to-be state Supreme Court justice) Barbara Vigil sped up the waiting time on six pending adoptions for Santa Fe County residents. The effort was part of National Adoption Month, which communities across the country often celebrate by accelerating the process for families and caregivers attempting to adopt a child.

Most children are adopted right after birth, but older children shouldn't be overlooked. In New Mexico, more than 1,800 kids are in foster homes; around 280 of them are waiting for an adoptive family. These children are more likely to have experienced neglect and abuse.

"Families provide stability, love and just all the things kids need in order to be happy," Nichoe Lichen, a social worker with Adoption Resources Santa Fe, tells SFR. "It's just really sad for the children who need families."

New Mexico allows diverse prospective parents—regardless of relationship status or sexual orientation—to adopt. Other qualifications are less flexible: Prospective families can't have criminal histories, for instance, and must have sufficient financial resources to support a child.

"You don't have to have a fancy house," Lichen says. "You just have to have adequate space."

Since foster children are especially needy, the state often waives adoption fees and offers stipends to prospective parents willing to adopt them. Adoption waits vary; for prospective parents willing to adopt a foster child, the wait is almost always shorter.

"The more flexible you are, the easier it is to adopt," Lichen says.

Interested in adopting a child?
Contact Nichoe Lichen at:
Adoption Resources Santa Fe
2929 Camino Del Bosque, 438-1534