I was lucky enough to be part of a group that went on the Nicaragua Service trip through the Global Orphan Foundation this summer and last summer. I was very excited to go learn more about a Latin American country because we do adoptions in Nicaragua and we are preparing to open our Mexico Adoption program. Before I went to Nicaragua I didn’t know much about children’s homes there. I really enjoyed learning more about Nicaragua and getting to provide service to several communities and children’s homes.
We stayed in Managua while we were in Nicaragua and were able to visit two children’s homes while we were there. We took piñatas to each of the orphanages and played with the kids. Although not everyone there knew Spanish, we were still able to communicate by playing. We colored, made crafts, played peek-a-boo and loved on these kids. At one point the kids came to our hotel to swim and I watched the older kids teach the younger ones to swim and make sure they were all having a good time and being safe. These older children love the other little kids in the home so much.
We also visited the Veracruz community. We passed out food and donations we brought. Then we took some of the kids to a movie in Spanish; these kids loved Monsters University! I tried to follow along with my rusty Spanish, but mostly I’d take my cues from kids and laugh when they did. At least they got the jokes! Then we had some of the girls over for a girl’s night and did their hair, painted their nails and did their make-up. It was some good bonding time. The next day we took the kids to the zoo. It was a very different experience going to a zoo in Nicaragua than going to the Indianapolis Zoo. We were merely feet away from lions and tigers and bears! Oh my! Actually I don’t remember seeing a bear, but still it was pretty shocking how close we were to all of the animals.
A new part of the trip this year was to reach out to the women in one of the communities. We wanted to talk about the needs in this community and what they thought could be done about these needs. We all wanted figure out what steps they could take to foster and empower each other. We all had a very honest conversation. I think it really helped the ladies to open up and really hear each other. We also visited a community center and learned about their heart for their community. The community center can feed 30 kids but they hope that it will grow and they will be able to feed many more! We took a piñata and the kids loved it! We also distributed some food and donations in this community.
I think the most meaningful part of the trip for me was going to House of Hope and one of the teenage girls who had been with us all week came. While we were at House of Hope we heard one of the ladies’ stories about how her life was before she came to House of Hope. I was doing everything I could do to hold my tears back, but then I looked over and this teenage girl is sobbing. I’m not sure if it was a moment of clarity for her or she was just very touched, but something changed in this young lady. On the way back to take her home, I sat in the back of the bus with her and another teenage girl from the US and watched one point to a part of her body and the other say what it was in their language.
Often people pursuing adoption want cute cuddly babies, and there is absoultely nothing wrong with that, but after getting to know some of these older children, I can only hope that there are families that would consider adopting an older child. These kids have so many aspirations and just want a chance. This service trip really gave me a heart for these older children, but all kids no matter the age deserve to have a loving family.
After spending time in this Latin American country, I think one of the benefits of pursuing a Nicaraguan adoption is that you will be in country for a couple months with your child. I know that not everyone has the time to dedicate to being in country for that long, but the experience of bonding with your child while getting to know their culture is worth the time!