Each year, I have the opportunity to nominate a Nebraska family as national ‘Angels in Adoption’ honorees, and each year, I’m blown away by these special families.
This year is no exception, and the many years Mitch and Betty Nisly of Beaver Crossing, Neb. have spent caring for children stood out in particular. The story of the Nislys and their 10 children began more than three decades ago.
Since the age of 13, Betty felt a calling to be a foster parent. Growing up, she was the neighborhood babysitter, always looking after children, sometimes for days at a time. She followed her calling and became a foster parent by the time she was 21 years old. Soon after, she learned she was unable to have children of her own, and adoption was the natural choice.
Mitch and Betty finalized their first adoptions almost 17 years ago and currently have nine adopted children: Brandon, Amber, Brianna, Dominique, Nicole, Asia, Daryl, Michael and Maj. They’re expecting their 10th adoption to be finalized in the coming months. The children, who range in ages from 21 to 6, all came to the Nislys through the foster care system.
Mitch and Betty’s first three adopted children, biological siblings Brandon and Brianna followed by Daryl, all came to them with developmental disabilities. According to the Nislys, adopting Daryl, now 9 and unable to speak, has been one of the best things to ever happen to their ever-growing family. Despite his disability, his personality shines brightly throughout the Nisly home.
Nicole and Michael, also biological siblings, were the next to be adopted, followed by Amber. Biological siblings Dominique, Asia and Maj became official members of the family last November. A tenth child, who has been living with the Nislys for the past year as a foster child, is in the process of being adopted.
Together, they share an undeniable bond. The children relish their big family, and often ask Mitch and Betty to bring more children into their home. “They tease each other like all normal siblings do,” said Betty. “It’s wonderful to see how close they’ve become.”
I couldn’t be more honored to recognize the Nisly family as 2013 ‘Angels in Adoption.’ They will be recognized at a special ceremony in Washington, D.C., this fall, and I look forward to celebrating their commitment to children. The unconditional love Mitch and Betty have provided to their adopted kids as well as dozens of foster children over the years is truly remarkable. They have enriched the lives of these children forever and are models of compassion and love. I encourage others who feel a calling toward foster parenting or adoption to explore that path, knowing it could forever change the life of a child.