Mercedes Martinez founded the Hogar Marguerite d’Youville in 1979, which remained open through 2015, to assist young mothers in need. It was named after Marguerite d’Youville, a founder of the Congregation of the Grey Sisters of Charity in Montreal, Canada in 1737. She was canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1990. The Grey Sisters of Charity served at FANA until 1996, providing dedicated support to the children and the young mothers. For several years, the Hogar was supported in large part by donations from Friends of FANA groups from around the world. Due to rising costs, a sizable part of the FANA structure has recently been reconfigured to accommodate the mothers that had previously lived in the separate Hogar facility. El Hogar welcomes women considering adoption with food, shelter, medical care, counseling, and job training. Women are referred to the Hogar by friends, by the Colombian welfare agency (Bienestar), or by hearing about it in the media.
Today, FANA offers these women a daily routine of classes, counseling, and job training. On-going prenatal care is given, while plans for their child’s future are discussed in small group and personal settings. Mothers deliver their infants at a local hospital in Bogotá and are welcomed back to the Hogar after their deliveries, where they may remain through recovery. Many of these infants are relinquished for adoption, but some do return home with the biological mother. A stay at FANA is non-contingent upon placing a child for adoption through FANA.
Adopting families are able to meet with and speak with the women staying at FANA. These meetings have proved beneficial to both adoptive families, as well as the women considering adoption.