Site Number 10: Culiacán, Mexico

The little girl’s adoption was finalized. Ramon Balderrama, Back2Back staff, knew the results were worth the work put in, but wanted to figure out how to do it for more families, and do it better. 

She came to Rancho de los Niños Children’s Home shortly after birth. She was born with medical conditions her mother couldn’t handle alone. Scarlett experienced regular pain, struggled to show emotion, and wasn’t expected to walk. She was kept comfortable and provided with the best care. 

Over time she could focus on people in front of her and follow them with her eyes.  A third scan revealed unexpected news. “I’ve been doing this for 20 years, and I’ve never seen this level of change,” her doctor shared. “This child is a miracle.” 

“She was growing and adapting well, still requiring intensive care,” explained Irasema. Back2Back staff prayed this kind of intensive care and continued growth could be found in a permanent family. Just a short time later, a Canadian couple living in Mexico stepped forward to answer the call. Now at home with her family, Scarlett has continued to advance, grow, and heal. 

“This experience awakened in me a desire to do more to place children, eligible for adoption, in families,” explained Ramon. “Since the adoption four years ago, I’ve felt a calling to reunite families or help create new ones.” 

Ramon and Irasema have been on staff with Back2Back for eight years. Together, they served in Mazatlán, Mexico until 2023. Today they are in Culiacán, Mexico, where they’re setting out to change the narrative on foster care and adoption.  Together they knock on doors, build relationships, and educate government officials on the benefits of fostering and adopting vulnerable children.

“Culiacán is home to the state capital,” explained Irasema. “There are more resources here, the decision makers are here, and we understood quickly, to be in this conversation,  we also needed to be here.”

They volunteer at state children’s homes, using their trauma training, and providing new information to leaders and officials, shared Irasema. “Sharing open handedly is a core Back2Back belief, and we want to do our part.” There, they are widening the scope of knowledge around caring for populations with trauma histories. Their focus is to share the why behind the what, assisting families who desire reunification. “It takes teamwork,” shared Ramon. “Together, we can rewrite brokenness into blooming.”

Ramon and Irasema are familiar with families desiring reunification. They’ve worked alongside uneducated parents who lacked resources. “This is often the root of families being separated,” they shared. “Parents want more for their kids and lack access to make those changes. We want to show them there is a way to stay together.”  Ramon’s own parents were in similar position; neither completed formal education, but always wanted more for him.  “Change is possible when you have a support system,” he shared. “We want to offer options to a population who hasn’t been presented with them.”  

Children who age out of government-run homes without support systems don’t know their choices. They seek the easiest ways to connect with others and that can involve illegal activity. Ramon and Irasema want to step in before it’s the sole option.  They long to spread a very clear message: cycles can be broken when we have the right information, tools, and people on our side. 
Ramon and Irasema, along with the global Back2Back staff team, look to provide not only depth of care, but breadth of care. They will share information, build relationships, and foster community. They can’t be everywhere, so they will equip peers and people of power with the right information and resources. Together, we will trust this places children in families, either reunited or forming a new one. How many children and families will this impact? What cycles of poverty, school dropouts, trauma, and abuse can be broken? That answer begins with one meeting, one training, and one conversation and ends with understanding and a hope for the future.