What To Expect When Adopting From Nicaragua?


More often than not, international adoption requires travel to the country from where your family is adopting. Travel requirements vary greatly from country to country. Families who choose to adopt from Nicaragua will be required to travel to the country and stay for 12-20 weeks at the end of the adoption process.

Yes, three to five months is a long period of time to live in a foreign country, but adoptive families find this stay to be beneficial to the adaptation of their child. International travel to the country where your family chooses to adopt from, in general, helps develop your understanding of culture, cuisine and customs. The longer exposure to the local culture and your child’s heritage, the more information you will be able to share with him or her when questions are asked.

There are many advantages to this prolonged time in Nicaragua, but the practical aspects can be challenging to think through. After a recent trip to Nicaragua, members of our staff share answers to frequently asked questions.

adopting from NicaraguaWhy is the stay in Nicaragua so long?

Every country determines its own travel requirements for an international adoption. The travel requirements for families adopting from Nicaragua are set by the authorities in country who are involved in the adoption process. In efforts to transition children out of the orphanage and into their forever family as quickly as possible, the child’s abandonment process may be completed while the family is in country. Additionally, the entire court process is completed while the family is in country. While the stay in country can be difficult and long, it allows the child to be placed with his or her adopting family immediately, instead of waiting four months to one year, like in other country programs.

How much notice will we have before traveling?

While every adoption is different, families usually travel within one to four weeks of receiving a match with a child. Mi Familia is the entity in Nicaragua responsible for matching children with adoptive families, and they usually ask that families travel pretty quickly, but the timeline may also be affected by the child’s abandonment process.

What support do we receive?

MLJ Adoptions partners with FIT Nicaragua to provide support for our families who are in country. FIT Nicaragua organizes community dinners for families, assists with making doctor and/or dentist appointments, coordinates transportation and helps to arrange housing. While FIT Nicaragua provides logical and social support, MLJ Adoptions’ attorney will handle the legal process associated with your family’s adoption. She will provide periodic updates and share information when it becomes available. MLJ Adoptions’ Social Services Department is always available to assist and consult, and will have creative problem-solving ideas that have worked with other families.

baby.jo-28Are there activities during the day for our family to participate in?

Many of the lodging options where families stay have pools or playgrounds for the children. Families who have stayed in country have shared that playing in the pool is a common daily activity. Outings to Granada, the zoo, the markets or the beach can also be arranged with the assistance of FIT Nicaragua. Families share that while the stay in country can feel long, the opportunities for travel are a huge benefit of adopting from Nicaragua.

Is safety a concern when adopting from Nicaragua?

There is always a safety concern with international travel. Most of the places that our families choose to stay are gated communities, and most often families are with members of the FIT Nicaragua team when they leave their homes. In general, our families report feeling safe and comfortable not just in their communities, but also when they take day trips and complete day-to-day activities such as grocery shopping and doctor’s appointments.

If you’re interested in learning more about adopting from Nicaragua, please contact us.

Caitlin Snyder works as the Director of Marketing and Outreach for MLJ Adoptions. Working in international adoption has given Caitlin the unique opportunity to pursue both a passion to advocate on behalf of vulnerable people and a profession at the same time.