Cross-Country bike ride raises awareness about orphans and adoption

IOWA PARK, TX(RNN Texoma) - A group of bike riders who are making a journey across America made a stop at the Lakeview Church of God in Iowa Park Saturday.

The World Without Orphans Bike Tour is a ride from Los Angeles to Miami, a total of 2,600 miles.

The ride is not just for enjoyment. It is a ride to raise awareness about the world orphan crises and encourage adoption.

The tour is put on by the organization Serving Orphans Worldwide, a group that works in 27 different countries.

The leader of the group of riders, Gennadiy Mokhnenko, is a pastor in Ukraine. Over the years, he has adopted 32 children.

"My city in Ukraine had (a) terrible story with homeless children, they were everywhere," Mokhnenko said.

He said at first, he and the church made food for the orphans but quickly realized that more had to be done.

"Food is good for children, but it's not a real answer," he said.

Later on, Mokhnenko said several children came to his church in the middle of the night and said they wanted to stay and live in the church.

He said over time and after starting a fellowship with the children, they started a children's rehab center, which eventually became the largest in the former Soviet Union with over 3,500 children going through it in nearly 19 years.

Mokhnenko said that after starting the rehab center, they quickly realized something.

"Real rehab for children, for homeless children, (is) family."

He also said that was when his life changed.

"It was the day when I adopt(ed) three of them and later five and later seven and now this is number 32," he said as he held his youngest adopted son.

Gennadiy also said that the problem of homeless and orphaned children is not just in other countries.

"I know here in Texas you have nearly 30,000 children who need a forever family," he said. "I'm sure Texas has more than enough amazing families who can adopt one of them."

If you would like more information about the orphan crises and how you can help, click here.

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