Meet Fabiola Pineda, currently representing Both Ends Believing’s partnership with Directorate for Children, Youth and Family (DINAF) in Honduras. Fabiola is an attorney with 15 years of experience; she has worked in two Law firms that represent Non-Profit Organizations that help the children in Honduras and has worked in an adoption agency where she was able to legally assist with International adoptions. She has also volunteered with many associations in the child welfare space.
This year, Fabiola assisted in a very important case for a child who was adopted internationally from Honduras. There were many complications and safety issues that were eventually reconciled because of her work and through Children First Software (CFS). The child was admitted from a young age to a Protection Center because his mother died of AIDS, his father could not take responsibility for him, so a local NGO (children's home) supported him. The child met the adopted father through connections in The U.S.; over time they turned to DINAF where he gave consent for his adoption. Shortly after, during the procedure of adoption, the child continued in the NGO but an anonymous complaint was received informing us about an suspected maltreatment towards the child, so immediately investigations were carried out, making a change of protection measure by moving the child to another protection center which has Children First software, where they remained until the adoption process was carried out. Currently the child has already gone through an adoption process and is living with his new family in the United States.
At the time of the change of protection measure, the DINAF psychologist continued with her psychological care process, being the same who accompanied the process of his adoption, in which her new family came to share with the child for two weeks, observing that
the child was happy to have a family, demonstrating that the newly adoptive parents accomplished to establish a strong emotional bonds with the child.
This is an inspiring example of how CFS now allows us to know each of the development stages and adoption processes in NGOs, see the evolution that a child can have from the moment of his entry until the moment of his departure, know about the NGOs that were in charge of him, and other necessary details. We are so glad Fabiola was connected to our mission a few years ago and has become an essential member of the Both Ends Believing team; furthering the mission to give children in Honduras, like the one we just read about, a better future and a forever family. We were grateful that she shared her story with us; we hope that it inspires you and gives you a deeper perspective to the hard work being done and great change happening in Honduras.
Fabiola, how have you seen Children First Software (CFS) impacted children first hand?
"CFS has impacted many children in different parts of the country. Their digital identity has added and helped to give a child a light to find a forever family. It has helped NGOs (children’s homes), DINAF and Honduras regional offices. Many children prior to CFS did not have a document so important as their birth certificate. As their personal information was uploaded into CFS, these red flags were caught by the software and now the majority of children do have their legal documents uploaded. These documents are important for children to have a permanency plan. Their education, challenges, needs and urgent cares are now being responded to and taken into account because there is a digital file that reminds and shows authorities exactly what each child needs."
What drove you to work in the child welfare field? How did you get connected to BEB?
"Definitely my volunteer work that started when I was 17 years old. I visited many orphanages and children homes and could see the faces in those children when they received a hug or just when we sat with them and played for a few minutes,. Their faces lighted up with hope and love. I always thought about them in their homes with forever families. Then, I continuously connected with child welfare NGOs during my time at a law firm. Somehow it was always me that did this work, and now I understand it was just meant to be. I then worked with an adoption agency and met Frank Garrott. He explained the amazing work BEB was doing. My answer was an immediate yes in my mind and heart, and here I am more committed than ever to BEB and Honduras."
What does a normal day look like for you?
"Prior to Covid-19, my day had various visits and meetings to DINAF and the NGOs, something that I miss a lot because I had the opportunity to interact with the people using the software.. During the pandemic my day still has a busy calendar and schedule with various meetings with BEB staff, Honduras BEB country representatives, NGOs and DINAF staff.
We continue to help and have busy agendas through GoToMeeting, emails, WhatsApp and other virtual tools. I have long threads of messages now in my cellphone and laptop. We are finding new ways to work during these times; I love what I do."
How would you explain CFS in your own words? How can people just learning about BEB understand it more clearly?
"CFS is an important software and tool to not only give children a digital identity but also the biggest opportunities in life. Most important, it works to give them a forever family and a home. The software builds their file, their profile, their plan, their family, their reports … it gives them a life changing opportunity."
How do you envision the future for children in the Honduras because of CFS?
"I envision children with opportunities bigger than what they ever dreamt or thought of, the opportunity to have a family, love and a home. This will be given to them by their digital identity, by them being recognized in the Government as an important key to the future of Honduras. Not any file sitting in a desk but a life that is evolving in a digital way through CFS to finally find the right placement plan."
How exactly does a generous donation to BEB contribute to the work within your country?
"Our donors enable us to equip our partner DINAF with through BEB staff support and trainings on CFS and guide to NGOs. To have committed staff that are involved fully to the software gives them the firm assurance children will have a digital file. Our main focus are the needs of the children and ensuring that as many children as possible are benefitting from CFS."
Since becoming a mother herself, Fabiola states that she has become more aware of the needs children without a family have, a home and loving parents can definitely make a difference in a child’s life. Thank you for sharing your story Fabiola!
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