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Hands of Mercy still in operation, despite allegations

By Kris Dubé, Fort Erie Times/Niagara Advance

Hands of Mercy, an international Christian outreach organization based out of Fort Erie is in full-operation, despite allegations of child-trafficking from late last week.

Pastor Deborah MacQuarrie, director of operations for the organization met with the Times this week to discuss all the negative media attention she has been faced with over the last week

Hands of Mercy partnered with Imagine Adoption Agency about a year ago to allow for people involved with Hands of Mercy to adopt children from the orphanage operated in Ghana by the locally based outreach group.

According to MacQuarrie, Canada Immigration grew worried about the amount of adoption applications being submitted through Imagine, who coincidentally went bankrupt last week.

"They called the department of social welfare and said they suspected child trafficking," she said.

"All orphanages in Ghana are being investigated right now."

MacQuarrie said this is an extremely difficult time for her and the organization. Not only is it affecting her health, but it is going to be quite the effort to maintain the trust of supporters who might feel Hands of Mercy is not a legitimate organization. According to a document provided to the Times by MacQuarrie from the Ghanian government, the organization is no longer being challenged for any wrong doing.

"People are losing their trust in us and we have to gain back that trust. We were cleared of any of those allegations," said an emotional MacQuarrie.

Nicole Costa and her husband were supposed to leave for Ghana last week to visit a young boy they have been sponsoring through Hands of Mercy for a few years. She said it's been a very difficult process with the latest allegations, and will have to wait until September to make the trip.

"It's hard watching everybody that's involved go through this," she said.

Costa and her husband have also been working on adopting their sponsored son for some time now, but there have been delays even prior to this recent situation....but this delay is much more difficult to deal with.

"This is breaking people's hearts," she said.

For more information about the Hands of Mercy organization, headquartered in Fort Erie, visit their website www.handsmercy.com or their blog www.handsofmercy.shutterfly.com.



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