“Where is Door of Faith Orphanage located?”
Door of Faith Orphanage is located in La Mision, Baja California, Mexico–approximately one hour south of the U.S. border crossing at San Diego. La Mision is roughly half way between the cities of Rosarito and Ensenada. Directions and a Google Map can be found on our “visit” page or by clicking here.
“How many kids live at Door of Faith?”
Though our total number of kids varies from time to time, we typically have approximately 100 children in our care. That makes Door of Faith one of the largest orphanages in Baja. We are also equipped to receive and care for new-borns and infants, this is kind of a specialty area for orphanages.
“How do the children come to Door of Faith?”
Although we receive no financial support from the Mexican government, we do work closely with its child protective agencies. 90% of the children that we care for are brought to us by Mexican Social Services. We have very few true orphans. Many of our kids have been abandoned or come from abusive homes; a few are with us because their parents simply can no longer care for them. If the children are here due to financial hardship, we encourage their parents to come visit their children as often as they can. Occasionally the kids are able to return to their families if it has been determined that they are able to care for them.
“How are the children educated?”
All of our school-aged children attend public school. We currently have more than 70 kids in seven different schools (kindergarten through university). In addition to the education that they receive at local schools, we have three full-time teachers on site who assists with homework, tutoring, and special classes.
“Where does your support come from?”
All our support comes in the form of donations—mostly from the U.S. Though we work with churches, corporations, and service organizations, the majority of our funding comes from individuals with a heart to help our children. Less than 4% of our budget is used for administration and fundraising.
“Is Door of Faith affiliated with a particular church or denomination?”
Door of Faith is a non-denominational, evangelical Christian orphanage. We are not affiliated with any particular church—in fact we work with dozens of church groups from a variety of denominations every year. To learn more about the importance of faith at DOFO, please visit our Beliefs page.
“What about Adoptions?”
Although we would love to be able to place all of our kids in “normal” families, most of our children are not available for adoption. Many of our children have siblings and per Mexican law, the entire family must be adopted together. International adoptions from Mexico are difficult, (Generally, less than 25 international adoptions occur from Mexico in a typical year). Furthermore, as an orphanage, we legally can not help with the adoptions process; it is all handled through the Mexican government. If you’re interested in adopting, we recommend that you contact an international adoption agency in your area.
Here are good US Government links for more information on adopting from Mexico:
“Can I visit the orphanage?”
We’d love to have you come visit with us! If you’re interested in visiting or bringing a group for a service trip, please check out our Plan a Visit page and our Visitors FAQs on this page. If you want to stop by for the day, you’re more than welcome–If you’re bring more than 10 people please just let us know that you’re coming so we can be ready for you.
“Where do I send my donation?”
Both material and monetary donations may be sent to our U.S. mailing address:
Door of Faith Orphanage
P.O. Box 6434
Chula Vista, CA 91909
“How do I get a tax deduction for my donation?”
We are a U.S. registered 501c3 non-profit organization and are able to accept tax-deductible charity donations. Such donations can be money (contributions, sponsorships, etc) or goods. For monetary donations receipts are always sent, for items donated please ask us and we would be happy to provide a receipt for your donations.
“Can I choose the child I want to sponsor?”
Absolutely! If a specific child has touched your heart please let us know and we will connect you with him/her. We can also choose a child for you.
“Can I send or bring gifts to my child?”
You’re welcome to send small gifts or clothing to your child. We do ask that you respect the fact that not all sponsors have the same generous vision, small gifts are fine but for larger items (bikes, etc.) please check with us first.
“Can I visit my child?”
Yes you can. Just send us an email letting our staff know when you are coming. For directions visit our “Travel Info"page
“Do I need to sponsor a child?
What if I just want to support Door of Faith in general?” You can sponsor however you like, we want people to give where they feel led. Many people choose to sponsor food, education, medical, etc. Some people chose to sponsor monthly or one time for “wherever is needed”.
“Is it safe to visit Baja?”
It is very safe to visit Baja and Door of Faith. Despite some media regarding dangers in parts of Mexico, none of our children, staff, or visiting groups have ever encountered any violence. We are more than 1,000 miles from the mainland Mexico cities where much of the reported violence has taken place—it has no impact on us in the same way that violence in Chicago would have no impact on residents of Denver. We cross the border multiple times per week and have never felt unsafe. The orphanage is located in a quiet river valley that is home to a few thousand people, including many retired Americans. It is a safe, peaceful environment.
For more information on safety in Mexico a good website is: How Safe is Mexico
“Do we need visas to enter Mexico?”
Short-term visitors do not need special visas to enter Mexico. In most cases, you will not be asked for any identification as you cross into Mexico, though you should have your passports handy just in case. Occasionally, IDs are requested at military checkpoints as well. Passports ARE required to re-enter the United States for individuals over the age of 16.
“What about car insurance in Mexico?”
Most American insurance carriers do not offer auto coverage in Mexico. If you wish to purchase a short-term car insurance policy to cover you during your visit, we recommend Baja Bound, which offers policies ranging from one day to six months. Policies can be purchased online. If you use the link: Mexico Car Insurance, Door of Faith gets a $5 donation!
“Can we bring donations across the border with us?”
In recent months, Mexico has tightened customs restrictions at the border and now routinely inspects vehicles crossing into Mexico—particularly vans and trucks that hold lots of cargo. While you should have no problem bringing in your own belongings and supplies for your trip, large donations can sometimes be problematic. Large quantities of used clothing and certain food donations such as beans, rice, and eggs should be avoided. Contact us if you have any concerns and we can advise you further.
“How long will it take to cross the border?”
Due to road construction and increased customs restrictions, the southbound border crossing into Mexico sometimes takes longer than it used to. You should plan for delays ranging between 15 minutes and one hour, depending when you cross. The northbound crossing back into the U.S. typically takes between 30-90 minutes.
“Do we need to have pesos with us?”
No. Though prices are listed in pesos, you can pay with dollars in just about any restaurant or shop in Northern Baja.
“Is there drinking water on site?”
We have good, clean, tested, safe drinking water here on site. Each guest housing area has access to our spring water.
“Can we give money directly to the kids?”
We prefer that you don’t give money directly to our children, since we encourage them to earn pocket money through projects and chores. If you feel that you want to leave a donation, please check with an American staff member first and we will be glad to help you.
“Is there a local church that my group can attend?”
If you will be with us on a Sunday morning you and your group are welcome to attend our local non-denominational Christian church. Templo Elim is located about two miles from the orphanage, in the town of Santa Anita. Sunday service takes place from 10 a.m. to noon, and when we have visiting groups the sermons are translated into English.
“Is there a dress code at the orphanage?”
We ask that visiting groups be modest and respectful. Although there is no “official” dress code, we have a few guidelines to keep in mind when you’re packing for your trip:
Please no spaghetti straps
No super short shorts
No tummies showing
No boxers showing
Please wear a shirt at all times