JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) - A group of seven orphans are visiting Jackson from the Ukraine. On Saturday morning, the orphans, ranging in age from 7 to 13, enjoyed a visit to the Jackson Zoo. Later Saturday evening, they will experience their first American baseball game at Trustmark Park in Pearl.
Joyful Journey, an International Hosting program for orphans, organized the 2 1/2 week trip. The purpose of the visit is to allow disadvantaged orphans to visit America and enjoy a vacation like they have never had. Joyful Journey serves as a true support structure for older children who range in age from 6 to 15, by facilitating hosting programs to enrich the children's quality of life.
The children live in a group home in the Ukraine.
"When you get to see the pictures of what the orphanage environments are, it is so much below what we live in, what we expect is normal. But the children are happy because they've grown up in that, that's all they know," says Tom Loecher, Outreach Director for Joyful Journey. "Our hope is that God will touch the hearts of some people, they will have the desire to adopt maybe these orphans, especially the orphans of the Ukraine."
The orphans in Jackson are available for adoption, and Joyful Journey is always in need of volunteers, monetary donations, and other forms of support.