A brief introduction of how Heart's Cry began.
For more details see the Timeline.
In 2008, Matt and Misty Hedspeth traveled to Panamá for what they thought would be a two part trip: first to turn in paperwork to adopt, then a getaway vacation. Misty was using her law degree to help out an adoption agency, focused on connecting orphans to loving and willing families. What the Hedspeths saw and experienced on the first half of their trip affected them so much that not only did the second half of the trip never happen, but the couple decided to sell their house, quit their jobs, and move to Panamá to follow God’s call to help the orphan children of Panamá.
Heart’s Cry Children’s Ministry was birthed out of this decision and has been increasing the scope of its reach, child by child, since 2008. Misty’s experience in the United States as an attorney working in international adoption law as well as with cases of abused and neglected children has proved invaluable to their work in Panamá. Matt’s real estate development experience has been crucial to the latest and by far the largest Heart’s Cry project: building a special needs orphanage to give specialized care to the neediest of orphans.
From the onset, it became clear that God uniquely paved the way for the Hedspeths to affect the lives of thousands of orphans in the country of Panamá. Through what seemed like divine connections, Matt and Misty have formed relationships with key government officials, orphanage directors, attorneys, and other people who share the same passion. A few years ago, Misty used her background to draft and put a bill before the Panamanian government to reform the adoption process and orphan care programs. This bill passed in 2013.
Currently, Heart’s Cry has three strategically and prayerfully focused arms:
Family Services encourages, supports, educates and connects families in Panama who provide a home to an orphan through a foster care program. Family Services also helps connect orphans to permanent, loving, national families through the preferred, yet logistically challenging adoption process.
Casa Providencia is the special needs orphanage mentioned above. This first class facility, currently in the construction phase, will provide physical, mental, speech, and occupational therapy to the neediest of orphans. Once running, the facility will serve as a conduit to connect these children with forever families, meanwhile addressing and alleviating one of the greatest challenges to the orphanages in Panamá.
Orphan Cares encourages, supports, and connects with the children in orphanages, showing them God’s love and his paternal coverage over them. Orphan Cares does this specifically through visits and by meeting specific needs. For example, Heart’s Cry was able to source and provide, on quick notice, life-sustaining necessities such as baby formula and HIV medication when an orphanage was experiencing a temporary shortage.
In each of these initiatives, Heart’s Cry seeks to serve as advocates for the individual orphans of Panamá, thereby sharing the love of Jesus Christ and following the Biblical command in James 1:27 to care for orphans.