Fostering Community

Families adopting from Nicaragua often experience the loneliest time of their lives. One parent remains at home to work, while the other lives with the new child(ren) during the in-country “fostering” period…  separated from her entire support network.

School-age kids already a part of the family typically need to stay home, so they can continue their schooling, but sometimes they are removed from school to join the new siblings in Nicaragua. If so, the fostering parent then needs to care for the children being adopted, while also home-schooling her other kids… all thousands of miles from home, where she probably doesn’t speak the language or know a soul besides her lawyer. To make matters worse, she doesn’t have a car, or even know how to buy groceries, and finds out very quickly that everything costs more and takes longer than expected.

“What should people do with their lives today? Many things, obviously. But the most daring thing is to create stable communities in which the terrible disease of loneliness can be cured.” -Kurt Vonnegut

Put yourself in her position, and you probably want to do whatever you can to avoid that sort of situation, right? Wendy & Wyeth Willard did, which is they opted not to do it when they first considered adopting from Nicaragua almost a decade ago.

But then God brought them to Nicaragua under other pretenses, only to throw them right in the mix of adopting families and show them how great is the need for help. Along the way, the Willards heard some of the staggering statistics.*

  • The average adoption takes almost three years and costs more than $28,000.
  • Meanwhile, more than 10 million children worldwide lack a permanent home — they’re “stuck” in an orphanage and would-be parents are stuck waiting.
  • There has been a 60% drop in international adoptions in the past 10 years — not because there are a lack of willing families, but simply because of the difficulty in actually making these adoptions happen.

What if we could actually do something to help?

There are so many wonderful, beautiful children here waiting for their shot at a forever family. And Nicaragua is easier and cheaper to get to than many other countries from which North Americans frequently adopt. Because the government itself doesn’t charge a fee for adoption, the overall cost to adopt there is typically much less than in other countries. In fact, the bulk of the expenses relate to that fostering period.

What if we could make the whole process less stressful?

Indeed, it is that fostering period that really causes the biggest problem for most potential families. In March of 2013, the Willards heard about one such adoptive family that fell apart when the mom concluded she could no longer live in Nicaragua, apart from the rest of her family and friends. She made the excruciating decision to leave the 6- and 8-year old children they were fostering, and abort the adoption. What a tragic situation for everyone involved… all because this mom felt she had no community where she could turn for reinforcements. (While there are many North American missionaries serving in Nicaragua, they are extremely busy with their existing ministries and service projects. Most just don’t have the time to create the type of community these adopting families need.)

But what if we could work to create that community?

What if we had a dedicated native-English speaking resource available in the country to help walk them through the process? What if we could set up furnished apartments near other North Americans? What if we had translators available for those that didn’t speak the language, and drivers ready for those that needed rides? What if we organized grocery runs, play dates, and tourist outings?

What if we found ways to support families during the difficult separation, to ensure they all made it through to the final adoption… together?

What if instead of saying, “Ugh! I can’t wait to get my child away from this God-forsaken country!” adoptive parents could go home to tell of the beautiful community from which their child was birthed, and the one in which their family grew together?! What if people wanted to adopt because they’d heard how wonderful the process can be?

We recognize that not everyone can take one of these orphans back home, but most everyone can help support in some way, especially when those families who do adopt are giving so much of themselves. God calls us all to care for orphans. All of us. Not some. The families who adopt them are making life-time commitments. Can’t the rest of us support them through the process? We think it’s the least we can do for a family showing Christ’s love to an orphan.

We are developing this type of community here in Nicaragua. Won’t you join us?

Part of our work with FIT Nicaragua is to foster community during the in-country stay, to encourage the future success of the new family unit. We support a missionary family whose primary job is to help meet the emotional, physical, and spiritual needs of adopting families. And we are building up our ministry to manage several furnished, fully-stocked apartments (even with some starter food!), where they can bond and grow together, until they can return to their home country. But we can’t do it alone! We need your help to continue this work. Please consider a monthly donation to enable us to offer these services to adopting families free of charge.

*There is a movement in the U.S. to make a difference for the millions of orphans who are “stuck” worldwide. Check out the Both Ends Burning site to learn more.