Psalm 68:5-6

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.

God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

I am Stepanie Nance. My family adopted two little boys with Down Syndrome from Ukraine in 2010. I hope to educate and to inspire you. I hope to make you laugh and to make you cry.

Come along for the ride. It's a wild one!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Where to start?

Four days is a long time to be without internet when you are in a place like this. It feels like we dropped off the face of the earth at times. It's pretty interesting, huh? Internet has changed our lives in so many wonderful ways. But, I digress...

Where do I start? So many things have happened, or not happened, over the last week. I'll have many, many stories to share with you. But, I know what you really want. And you are going to have to read a little bit further first!

Thursday we learned how to take the bus and the Metro (the subway system) in Kyiv. We also found the U.S. Embassy. We'll need to go there in a few weeks. In the afternoon we packed up and headed to the SDA to pick up our referral, the paperwork that gives us permission to visit the boys. After that we headed to the train station.

The train was a neat experience. We pulled out of the station at 6pm and as soon as the train got up to speed the air conditioner kicked on. Before that we were just sitting in a sauna with our tongues hanging out! We both got a pretty good night's sleep and pulled into Simferopol about 9am.

Normally we would have gone to the social worker first, but she was not available, so we went to the detsky dom (children's home) first thing to meet the children. And so started a long, confusing, messed up day. Bleh.

First the meeting with the orphanage attorney. Problems with paperwork. Uggh. More money; I'll tell you later. Then meet with the orphanage director. He cannot believe that we have nine children. He cannot believe that we make enough money to support such a family. Uggh. Apparently our facilitator convinced him because then we went to see the kids! Yay!!!

I had prepared myself for Alec ahead of time. He was very tiny in his most recent photos, but nothing could have prepared me for the reality. We only had a short time with him so my first impressions lasted me, and haunted me all night long. He's more than small and that's all that I can really share for now.

Next we went downstairs to meet Zhenya! Here it is pronounced Jane-yuh, where the J sounds like the Zs in Zsa Zsa Gabor. This big solid boy was led out us and handed over to James. The caregivers said that he had been suffering since his best friend was adopted and left the home last week. He clung to James and didn't want to let go! He refused to even look at me. He sees women all day every day, so I didn't take it personally. It was just heartwarming to see the way that he desires to be in his daddy's arms!

More later...oh there is much much much more! Here are some photos of our first meetings. Enjoy!


  1. Oh wow....beautiful kids!!!

    Anna from RR

  2. I'm so glad you finally got to meet your boys! Oh, little old is he?? I love the picture of James holding Zhen - you can see Daddy smiling in the mirror!

  3. oh Stephanie! They are soo beautiful! Alec, bless his heart :( He's so tiny! Soon, he'll gain pleanty of love pounds. Praying for you all, and for your crew at home. God speed!

  4. How precious!!! Love the pics! So glad you are holding your babies in your arms. That is just pure joy!!

  5. Crying my stinkin' eyes out! I'm so proud of you guys. Saw all your other kids at church today and they all look great.

  6. I'm SO glad they have you to bring them home!! So excited you have met them...can't wait to hear more...hang in there!!

  7. Oh they are beautiful! Poor little Alec is such a precious one, Praise God you are taking him out of that "hell" he has lived in for the first years of his life. He will truly blossom with your love and proper nutrition. God Bless you for following God's call to bring these adorable little guys home.

  8. They are SO beautiful. So, so, so beautiful. What a blessing.

  9. Dear Stephanie,

    I hear Alec may have celiac. Myself and several others at church have it and it is really not to bad to live with, we can help you with the diet.

    Val Bothell

  10. So glad to hear this update and see the pictures! It's such a blessing to me to see you with the boys. Praying for you to get them home soon.

  11. your boys are beautiful. cant wait to see you home with them....

  12. So precious, and so amazing to see you with them. Prayers for you all!

  13. It looks like Alec WAS upstairs!?! I know what you mean by being so tiny!! Its one thing to prepare yourself but totally different in seeing it and holding him. If we can help in ANYWAY you have our email!!! Best of luck to you guys and both boys are cuties!!!

  14. Oh Stephanie, I'm so happy that you have met the boys!! They are precious. Hang in there... it'll be worth it in the end!

  15. oh crying my eyes out here. oh darling Alec, oh how my heart hurts right now to see him so small. I kept thinking he was older than Zhenya...bigger...
    oh Praise God you are there for him.
    and Zhenya how wonderful that you got there just intime for him. with his friend gone things wouldn't be so good for him emotionaly God's timing is perfect.


  16. they are just SO precious!!!
    So happy you got to meet them!
    Praying the paperwork gets squared away!

  17. It is so hard to see them so skinny and tiny. Here's a little encouragement...When we brought Dasha home she was almost 3 years old and wore 3 to 6 months. At her first pediatrician visit in the U.S. she was so small that she did not even chart at all on the Down Syndrome growth scale! Now a year and a half later she is wearing 2T bottoms and 3T tops. And John Paul was 4 years old and wore 18 months. He is six now and wears 4T's. You'll have him beefed up and growing in no time!



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