Heart's Cry Children's Ministry
Please pray for Panama's Adoption Law

November 20, 2011  

Law 61

We have mentioned Panama's Adoption law to you on several occasions (see previous
Newsletters).  As you may recall, after months and months of work last year with a committee of attorneys on this project, the proposed changes were sent to the Legislature.  It has been sitting there for months since then.  Finally, some movement has begun and now is the time to pray.  My good friend Brittany was led by God to coordinate a time of fasting and praying over the next month.  I want to extend this invitation to all of you, as well, as you have been walking through this journey with us over the past several years.  Below is her call for prayer.  Please join us.

Misty and Matt Hedspeth 

"Prayer lays hold of God's plan and becomes the link between His will and its accomplishment here on earth.  Amazing things happen and we are given the privilege of being the channels of the Holy Spirit's prayer."                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~Elisabeth Elliot


There are moments in life when you recognize that you have become a part of something bigger, a Divine Plan that is being perfectly executed from beginning to end.  We are in this moment and invite you to join in focused prayer and fasting for key legislation that is being proposed at the National Assembly (Asamblea Legislativa) in Panama City, Panama.  If passed, this legislation will directly affect and change the lives of the children of Panama.  


Over a year ago Heart's Cry Children's Ministry http://www.heartscrychildren.com/ partnered with SENNIAF to write legislation to revise current Panamanian adoption law.  It had become clear to both parties that many children were "falling between the cracks," spending critical formative years in institutions while the child's family investigation dragged on.  The process of finding and eliminating all available family members as potential placements is executed without regard to perimeters or time limits.  Also discussed was the need for legislation regarding foster care.  While it does occur on rare occasions, foster families are few and there is no department to monitor a foster program.  


Current adoption law:


  No time limits for steps in the process of children's cases: children can spend anywhere between 1-18 years living in an institution before their family investigation is judicially considered complete and they are declared adoptable.


  Undefined number of family members to investigate prior to child being declared adoptable.


  No department to establish and monitor a foster care program, forcing the children to live their lives in overcrowded/understaffed institutions for long periods of time.  This is particularly detrimental to babies and young children as it is an important stage to form meaningful attachments.  Attachment Disorders are one of the many side affects we are seeing as a result.


  Law does not allow foster families to adopt foster children.


Proposed legislation:


  Defines time limits for cases to be processed: government officials will now have to complete the family investigation within six months, after which the parental rights would be terminated and the child would be declared adoptable.


  Redefines the perimeters of family members who are to be investigated so as to include immediate family only (and not 2nd, 3rd cousins, members of the community, etc.)


  Establishes a foster care department to execute and monitor large-scale foster care in Panama.


  Permits foster families to adopt foster children.


We are now at a critical point in the legislative process.  The parties involved with the writing of the legislation have held several meetings and are almost finished writing and revising the approximate 130 articles that are included within the legislation.  The final meeting will be held on Thursday, November 24th.  Once this part of the process is finished they will pass the legislation to the National Assembly (Asamblea Legislativa) which is expected to meet on or around December 1st of this year.  At the National Assembly there will be three debates after which all members will vote to decide if the legislation should be passed and the policies implemented.  


If you are interested in joining with us in this prayer and fasting initiative please contact Brittany DeVries at brittany@devries.tc and indicate the time and dates that you would like to commit.  Our goal is to pray and fast from November 21st-December 19th over this issue. We are asking those who would like to fast to consider committing to half a day (breakfast-lunch/lunch-dinner) or a full-day fast (breakfast-dinner).  If you cannot fast please indicate the day(s) you are able to commit to focused prayer.


Please forward this Email to your friends, families and churches.  Our vision is to see Panama pray for Panama but also to have the support of believers world-wide as we unite to cry out on behalf of the children.     


Psalm 10:14-18 (The Message)


14 But You know all about it -

the contempt, the abuse.

I dare to believe that the luckless

will get lucky someday in You.

You won't let them down:

orphans won't be orphans forever.


15-16 Break the wicked right arms,

break all the evil left arms.

Search and destroy

every sign of crime.

God's grace and order wins;

godlessness loses.


17-18 The victim's faint pulse picks up;

the hearts of the hopeless pump red blood

as you put your ear to their lips.

Orphans get parents,

the homeless get homes.

The reign of terror is over,

the rule of the gang lords is ended.

Contact us at Heart's Cry Children's Ministry