Abandoned but not forgotten
Heart's Cry Children's Ministry
Excited to be Working Hard
July 2010
July's Edition:
*Music and Photos
*Recommendations to the government departments within SENNIAF
*Recommendations to change the adoption law
*Craziness, I know!

Check out our UPDATED website:


for the latest music from Matt, blog updates, and also for some photos that we uploaded.  We took a super quick trip back to NC to see our family in June, where we also saw a few dear friends in Charlotte.  They asked us what it's like in Panama, so this prompted us to finally upload some photos that we thought you all might find of interest.  We will continue to upload as able!

Finger Hold

This photo is from the PhotoGenX group that we told you about last year, and is in the Dear Panama book discussed below...

How to help: 
Many of you have emailed wondering how to help or get involved.  We ask you to seek the Lord on these items: 

Ongoing financial need to fund the work to benefit orphans in Panama.  Our website has the information on how to donate. 

For those individuals giving online to HCCM through Southbridge:  there has been a change in the e-giving procedure.  Please go to Giving Online.  As you sign-up for the new e-giving, be sure to SELECT:

Fund: Missions/Outreach
Sub-Fund: Heart's Cry

HCCM is now able to receive donations in Panama, as well, since the legal registration is now official. (A total miracle!!)

> Inform others of HCCM and the orphan problem in Panama.

> Fund the printing cost for Dear Panama: A Letter from your Children: this coffee table photo journalism book was designed by a team with PhotoGenX.  It is beautifully done and highlights the struggle of the children in Panama.  We have been ready to send this to be printed, however we still need the funds for printing.  Contact us if you would like more details on this project. (Go to the Photo Gallery on our website for a preview). 

>Short-term teams: We are not currently equipped for teams, but we will happily connect you with mission groups in Panama whose job is to work out those details and facilitate teams to come, and of course we would work with you on connecting with local orphanages.   

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Hi, Friends and Family!
We want to update you on all that has been occurring in Panama with the orphan situation.  Please excuse the delay since sending the last update, we have literally been working insane hours since the last one and there is so much to share.  Lots of changes are happening, which we are thrilled to report.  Hopefully more changes will continue in the future.  Check out our updates below for the details.  It truly is unbelievable all that is happening.  We are thankful for you all, and for your patient support as you walk through this journey in Panama with us.
Much love,
Misty and Matt 

Recommendations to the government departments within SENNIAF

The past few months have been spent preparing the Recommendations to SENNIAF:   The Progressive Implementation of Best Practice Standards.  This document is a how-to guide for the government for complying with the law, yet efficiently.  These extremely detailed policies and procedures are a recommendation on how Panama can bring their departments up to international standards.  We have already presented the Adoptions Department Recommendations over the course of several meetings with the Director of SENNIAF, Gloria de Diaz.  She was thrilled.  We are literally going through the Recommendations, line by line with her, so as to plan on how to implement the changes with the department over adoptions within the upcoming months. 

Next, we will present the PRLF Department changes, which is the equivalent of the Social Services department in the US.  If you think Social Services has problems in the US, you should spend 1 day with us.  It has been truly astounding the things that we have encountered.  However, all that being said, it is AMAZING what is beginning to happen and the changes that are on the horizon.

Gloria has been to several international meetings and realizes the gravity of the problem within SENNIAF.  She is now committed to change.  She has been in office long enough now, to where she is comfortable to recommend drastic changes.  We are happy to be there to help make the recommendations to her.  She was overwhelmed, wanting to change the system to help the orphans, but not knowing where to start.  The timing has been absolutely perfect on this...

We spent the end of last year investigating the government in order to recommend changes.  Then we spent the beginning of this year writing the changes.  Now we are in the middle of presenting all of them to her (about 170 pages worth in English, with poor Ari having to translate it all and our dear friend Maruja volunteering to review!).       

Recommendations to change the adoption law

Next, Gloria informed us that they were about to propose a law change to the adoptions law, Law 61, and asked us to review and recommend changes.  Again, we were thrilled at the opportunity! 

We spent the past several weeks reviewing Panamanian law, comparing to international adoption laws and the Hague Treaty, as well as those current practices within SENNIAF and the judiciary.  It was extremely intense.  After many long nights again (varying from 12-2am), we came up with a final product to propose.  On Friday we met again with Gloria and a Legal Advisor to SENNIAF.  They were about to present their recommended changes on Monday to the judiciary, but after beginning the meeting with us they realized that they needed to review it more (there was A LOT to be changed).  We went from a 1 hour meeting to a meeting from 10 AM - 5 PM, which seems to be standard lately!   

We are going to continue meeting over the next week with a Legal Committee in order to review our proposed changes to the law and come up with a final product to recommend to the judiciary, after which it will be presented to the legislature.  It is important they understand the background to every recommendation, so as to be able to effectively argue the importance of every change when they present to the judiciary and legislature.

Again, the timing is amazing.  Had we not performed the investigation, written the policies and procedures for each department, we would not have been able to accurately recommend changes to the Law down to the details necessary for real change to occur.   

Craziness, I know!
The BEST part of all this is... children are just now, SLOWLY, starting to be adopted.  We actually heard of a few adoptions over the past several months, with one being a small child!  How is ALL this happening?   

All I can say is, how can you not believe in God?  Only He could have orchestrated this entire crazy, amazing situation.  We can take no credit at all, whatsoever.  We can only praise His Holy Name.  We spent many days, wondering what on earth was going on.  Thankfully, the Lord is allowing us to see a tiny glimpse into what is happening, which is keeping us going.  God has such a big plan for all of our lives.  Be encouraged today as you patiently walk out your relationship with the Creator.    

And I have to add: how can you not believe God still works miracles?  All this is a miracle.  And He has allowed us to see many more actual miracles right in front of our very eyes.  Wish I had more space to write here, but we will share as the Lord allows.

Also, we have been approached by several NGO's working in other countries and are excited about the possibility of our documents being used in 3rd world countries around the world.  The problem in Panama is identical to those other countries (inability for 3rd world countries to keep up with the Hague Treaty standards imposed on adoptions), and we hope that many will benefit from the policies, procedures and forms that we were able to write.  It is humbling and so exciting. 

Thank you all for walking through this journey with us.  We continue to ask for your prayers for the Lord to move in Panama and free these children, as well as for us personally.  If anyone would like to see a copy of any of the documents we prepared, email me and we will figure out a way to do so.  For confidentiality and security reasons we cannot post them on the website. 
 and such
What is happening with the orphanage?  Well, we had 2 exciting opportunities for potential sites for the orphanage (1 in Volcan and the other in El Valle), both of which fell through.  They got really close and we thought we  had found the location, both times.  While we were saddened and frustrated for a few days, we recognize that the Lord is working out His will in this.  We continue to trust Him.  After all, He has proven Himself over and over to us, that His ways are FAR better than ours.  We know that in His perfect timing He will provide for a location, if that is His will.  We are continuing to search out those areas that the Lord leads us to, and will wait for Him to show us if He desires for this to happen.  And as always, you guys will know when anything happens! 

Boquete Group
Photo of Matt and Misty (and doggy Jake),
Jana, Luigi with their children Aryelle and Levi (and doggy Bibi),
Ari and her son Josh, and our friend Rodrigo that helped us assess the properties in Chiriqui province, free of charge and we were able to stay in his hostal for a reduced rate (photo taken at his hostal in Boquete).  We are all seeking the Lord on our future role in caring for these children of Panama.
There are several other potential opportunities that are available to Heart's Cry, as to ways to help the orphans in Panama.  We will update you on those as they progress in the days to come.  Continue to pray for these areas, as the Lord leads.  Intercession is key!