Abandoned but not forgotten
Heart's Cry Children's Ministry
Big Changes
October 2010

Happy Anniversary!  We passed the 2 year mark of being in Panama on Saturday October 2nd.  Can you believe it?!  So, Happy Anniversary to all of us!  Many of you have been with us from the very beginning, and others have joined along the way.  Regardless, thanks for continuing with us through this journey in Panama.  We look forward to many years ahead together, working to help the children.  Big changes have been happening in this country, in this ministry, and in our family (hint, hint - big surprise coming, so read below to make sure you find out!).  Please read along for all the latest updates...  

With Thankful Hearts,
Matt and Misty Hedspeth 

Recommendations to change the adoption law

As detailed in our last update, we were invited to participate with a Legal Committee in order to propose changes to the adoption law.  We spent 2 months working extremely hard to accomplish this gigantic task, as we were asked to provide the international research for every change that was being recommended.  After many long nights and sometimes heated discussions (it's not easy to change decades of old thinking!), we were able to come up with a finished product to send off to the Judiciary.  We are so thankful for this opportunity and feel that we gave it our absolute best.  The Lord provided the wisdom and words.  And we give Him all the praise.  We are also trusting the Lord to move this law through the Judiciary and on through the Legislature.  We are all hoping that the new law will be approved by the first of the new year.  Please join us in praying for God to continue to open hearts and doors, so as to free these children.  We truly believe that this is a huge step forward in the process of freeing them and these changes will affect potentially thousands of children. 
 

What next?
As mentioned in our last email, children are just now, SLOWLY, starting to be adopted.  We are continuing to pray for the Lord to order and direct our steps.  There are many opportunities on the horizon, of which we will continue to keep you posted.  Of course, we are continuing to pray over the potential to open an orphanage.  We continue to meet with different individuals, but nothing seems to be clear in that regard as of today.  The Lord will open that door in His timing, if that is His will.  Here are a few more of the items that we are working on: 

       Continuing to assist the government of Panama with implementation of Policies and Procedures, including an update once the new adoption law is officially passed, plus staff training on the changes.

 

       Provide training to the government of Panama, police department and orphanages in regards to child abuse and neglect: we applied for a grant from USAID and will need matching funds to complete this important task.  Sexual exploitation is horrendous in this country, which is a gateway country for trafficking, and the country is not equipped with the expertise on how to handle the investigations, intake and treatment.

 

       Continue providing programs and outings in orphanages similar to those described in previous newsletters.

 

       Possibility for opening a special needs orphanage: this is a huge need in Panama, especially for older children with HIV.

 

       Heart's Cry Children's Ministry: Family Services -- a division of HCCM that will focus on being the in-country provider for adoptions in Panama.  This division would focus on being a liason between Prospective Adoptive Parents and the Central Authority, both domestically in Panama and internationally.  We would facilitate general and special needs adoptions.  We have been invited by the Director for Colombia and other countries to be the in-country providers for their special needs adoptions, as well.  We plan to send an updated announcement regarding this exciting opportunity in the near future that will detail the plans for implementation.

 

       Opportunity to assist many other countries with Hague adoption implementation: we have received requests from countries like Barbados and Jamaica, as 3rd world countries are desperate for assistance similar to that which we have provided in Panama.

Our
Family
IT'S A BOY!!!!  That's right, folks!  A little over 2 months ago we were presented with the opportunity to adopt a little boy from Panama, Pedrito (Peter).  He is 4 years old.  After a lot of prayer and heart-searching, we felt the Lord confirm to us that we were called to be his parents.  So, he has been with us since then.  Below is a picture of our little family.  We invite you to check out our BLOG for more details on how this all came about and how we are adjusting to parenthood!  So please, rejoice with us in this new addition to our family.  He is truly a gift from God.


New Family