RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A Raleigh couple is making a difference in Panama with their ministry.

Matt and Misty Hedspeth are the founders of Heart’s Cry Ministry, a family services and adoption agency that’s saving the lives of orphans across Panama.

In 2008 when Matt and Misty discovered they couldn’t have children, the couple knew adoption was the best option. As a couple who relies heavily on their faith, they felt they had a calling to head to Panama to adopt a baby of their own.

“We ended up going into the orphanages and seeing the huge problem in Panama, which is the orphans weren’t getting out and staying in there until they are 18,” Misty said.

They were going into the orphanages and staying there until they were 18, then being put out onto the streets.

Misty, a Campbell Law School graduate, was already involved in international adoptions and she instantly had an idea to create a family services agency that works with children across Panama to get them adopted and receive the proper love and care they desperately need.

In just eight years, Matt and Misty have transformed the foster care and orphanage system across the country. Misty worked to write the first laws that protect orphans across Panama.

“Now thankfully when a child is abandoned, the first option doesn’t have to be an orphanage. It can be a family, a temporary family – but a family – so that the child has a chance to learn how to bond and attach,” Misty said.

The couple is now working on “Casa Providencia,” what they call the next piece of their near-decade long mission.

“We are creating an international hub for training and therapy – basically an orphanage for Panamanian special needs,” Misty said. “The Lord has laid this on our hearts, the groundwork has been laid, it’s a puzzle that fits together and it can literally be picked up and moved somewhere else.”

The Hedspeths hope to expand their mission across the world, one that has roots in the Tarheel state.

Matt and Misty have three children of their own – two they’ve adopted in Panama and one they said was a little miracle of their own.

The pair funds their operation through donations. You can make a donation here.