Adoption Law Change: First Debate
There have now been 2 meetings in the National Assembly as part of the First Debate. It has been rough to sit through and listen to the commentary from the opposition, yet this is all part of the process. The 2 big issues that are controversial right now are:
- Limiting the biological family investigation to the biological parents and grandparents, and
- Allowing foster parents to adopt.
These are the most controversial and yet these are the 2 main points that NEED to be changed in the current law! They are presently threatened to be removed. PLEASE PRAY FOR THESE 2 ISSUES specifically, in the days and weeks ahead.
These 2 meetings have been filled with outsiders and the delegates sharing their opinion on the law, and the delegates have not yet started to vote on each article. That should begin in the next few weeks. HCCM was invited to be a part of some of the side meetings that are on-going, in preparing for the vote. Please pray for wisdom and guidance in all we do, and that the Lord would make a way for these issues to be corrected.
In case you want to learn why these 2 issues are so crucial for children's well-being and to the rights of children, I will be writing about them and putting them on our blog in the days ahead. I will spare the space here for now. Suffice it to say, that these are obvious issues to other countries (based on psychological and social studies performed and international best practice standards) and they need to be addressed/corrected right away, in order to do what is truly in the best interest of the children.
Orphanage Project Update
: Divine Providence House Work Team
Soon we will be presenting much to you regarding this project, as Matt is working hard to prepare a new website and presentation materials for the orphanage (along with preparing, approving and filing plans for the building; repairing the roof; etc; etc)! For now, I wanted to tell you about a team that was here with our friends that run Casa Paraiso.
The team came from New Jersey and were the first international team to work on the orphanage! They power washed roof tiles, cut concrete away to make room for new air conditioning units, and they even had a plumber who helped with some bath tub issues. It was a busy few days for them and they worked so hard! I know they left with sore muscles!! We are truly thankful for this team. They told us how touched they are by the project, and so excited for the vision of the orphanage. They explained how being there encouraged them to "dream big," knowing that God can do all things. They were so moved at the story of how God brought about this building and placed it in our hands, so that we can be the hands to care for children there soon. That was super encouraging to us!!
Campbell Law School Team - THEY'RE HERE
We have been working with Campbell University School of Law for over 1 year on them sending a team down to do ministry work with HCCM and also completing course work along the way. Well, it is happening - THIS WEEK! A team of 9 law students and 1 professor arrived late Saturday. This is our first team that we are totally in charge of from beginning to end, so pray for all these details to go smoothly!
The team has had class time to prepare for the trip prior to arriving, having learned about Panama and adoption law and foster care in general. They are presenting to SENNIAF on a restorative justice project for teenagers, explaining ways to prevent them from being lost in the juvenile detention system and yet bring about change in the delinquents lives - all based on a program that Campbell offers in Raleigh NC. They are also preparing a legal memorandum on Foster to Adopt and how crucial this is to children's rights, which we hope to present at the Assembly. Finally, they are assisting us with policies and procedures for the orphanage, related to safety and best practice standards. This will be a full week of running to all these events plus showing them Panama, including the orphanages. Please pray that they will be blessed by the Lord through being here and that their hearts will be open to Him during this week.
Yes, we are almost at 33 weeks pregnant! It's still so hard to believe, yet as I look down at my belly... it's as real (and big) as can be! We are nearing the end of the pregnancy and excited about this little boy that is to come. We have named him Isaac Thomas, which is a name the Lord confirmed for us in quite a few ways. God is so good. We praise Him for this new addition that will be coming soon. Please pray for my strength and for Isaac in these last weeks before he enters the world, along with Peter and Rosie (and Matt) as our family will begin to adjust to this new little one.