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!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Another fun filled day...

Another busy, fun filled day in Ukraine!

Yesterday when I returned to the apartment I found that my first born son was waiting for me! I’m so happy that he is here to help me and experience this amazing place.

After a morning jog to the Tatar market for water (we were both quite dehydrated) and some sweet rolls we took off at 8:15 for the tax office. Here in Ukraine, if you don’t want to wait in a ginourmous line you show up well before they open. We were quite early, but even so, there was one lady ahead of us in line.

So guess what, the Tax ID lady wanted extra photocopies. (Everyone here wants another document or an extra copy of something. It is about to drive me mad.) Our facilitator told us to sit and not leave the lady’s office while she RAN to get the copies made. We actually got fairly quick service at the tax office after she returned.

Next stop, get the Tax ID slips notarized. I think. We just sat in the car.

Next stop, detsky dom. Wesley and I get the children while the facilitator does some paperwork. This was the most fun part of the day. I handed the ladies some outfits for the children and they dressed them for us to take to the passport agency. The boys looked so cute! Zhen wore one of Ralph’s old favorites. Ralph does not fit into it anymore but it was roomy on Zhen. So now I know that Zhen is a bit smaller than Ralph.

Theo wore a 3-6 month sized one piece outfit. It fit him beautifully! Here he is with one of my favorite caregivers. This lady always has a smile for us. She was very emotional when she first found out that we had agreed to adopt Theo. She is kind to all the children.

One of the caregivers from Zhen’s group insisted on leaving the orphanage to to go to the passport office with us. I guess our facilitator talked her out of going. Good thing…we were gone a very long time! At the passport agency you must ring a bell to ask to be let into the building. Add to that a passport lady who needs to feel very important and who wants to let you know how very busy she is and what do you get? You wait outside for 20 minutes and try to buzz in several times before they even let you into the waiting room!! It was so hot out there and Theo started to cry. I hope someone pokes this lady in the eye.

Finally, our facilitator was able to talk someone into letting us in the building. The waiting room was cool and air conditioned…and EMPTY. I had no problem waiting in the wonderful coolness, but we were soon led into a room for photos.

This was not too fun. The boys are far too small to just sit in the chair and be seen by the camera. I suggest sitting them on something, but I am ignored by everyone in the room. I tried sitting sideways and putting Theo on my leg. Our facilitator said I was too big (ummm…you mean fat??) and to let her do it. She ended up holding them out to the side, hanging off her hands. So her hands are in both of their passport photos! Zhen just would NOT look at the camera. It took several tries before we got something acceptable. His photo is hilarious…he looks very mean in it!

After this we load up a new car, with a new driver and head over to the social worker‘s office. Something was wrong with our regular driver’s car so he sent us a replacement. (I know what is wrong with his car - it is mad at him for the way he drove yesterday!) Our facilitator had some papers to drop at that office so we waited in the car. It took her almost 45 minutes, meanwhile Theo started to cry. He was hungry and missing lunch, but what could we do? The car was air conditioned…the front seat anyway. The back seat still gets hot and this particular driver must have had all the vents blowing on his stinky armpits so you can imagine how pleased I was to be waiting so long in a hot, stinky car.

After taking the children back to the orphanage and making sure that they would get some lunch we headed to our last stop of the day…the bank. Oh my. Where do I start? This place was so strange. There was a skinny man squatting, smoking at the entrance. He followed us in and spoke to our facilitator. Apparently he is some sort of security guard. He had placed a table and a chair so that they were blocking some of the teller windows that were closed for their lunch break. One window was open and our facilitator handed over our documents. The guard instructed us to sit on a bench on the other side of the table and chair. I had to move the chair to get over there. I didn’t put it back just right so he came over and fixed it so no one could get through. It is 1:50pm.

OK, I had to cut out a bunch of stuff from my personal journal here. No need to go into all that garbage here. Long story short, they want another document. 3pm. A dog wanders into the bank. No lie. We are dripping sweat and tired. Finally our hardworking facilitator comes back, I sign some slips of paper and the cashier counts out the money. We are done.

It is cloudy and a bit cooler outside. What a pleasant surprise. About four raindrops land on the car windshield as we head for home. I pay the driver 400 grivna for today. That’s all I have in my wallet excepting bus money.

I’ve been here too long I think. While waiting at the bank I had to close my eyes because the signage in Cyrillic was driving me insane. I kept compulsively trying to sound out the same words over and over again. I swear I had to close my eyes to keep from trying to decode the multitude of words on the walls around me.

When we got home, Wesley collapsed on the couch and I checked email. We had time to get ready to go to church this evening but we were both feeling rotten, tired, and half sick. Sunday we will go and we will bring the children. I want to thank all the people there who have prayed for us and wished us well. We are so pleased to have made some great friends here. We are blessed by them.


  1. Your posts always bring on a variety of emotions. I'm so happy this day is over for you. One day closer to the airport!!! I'm heading back that way in 3 days. I was hoping the weather would have turned a bit cooler :(

  2. Hang in there... it is soon over... no more paperwork hassles, long lines, ridiculous requirements, missed forms, stinky armpits, hot cars and crazy drivers... Praise the Lord!

  3. Oh Stephanie, I so remember all this - just like it was yesterday. The apartment I was in was fairly close to Kubasheva, so I was right near the passport office. I know the lady you're writing about. I felt the same way. Now, I go to that wall in my memory's eye and I pray for you, for favor - just as I prayed for myself those weeks in 2007. I know you're much further along, much more quickly than I was. Still, I pray you're on that train (or plane) to Kiev very soon.
    --Beth in Newton

  4. PS - FYI - Kubasheva is the name of the market where the passport office is in your city in Ukraine. -- Beth in Newton

  5. so happy you have company! you are so close to the end. I hope things go smoothly from here on out! good luck.

  6. Hi, Wesley!

    It seems you work really hard with discomfort to make a little progress, but progress nonetheless. (Did you really expect nice photos today?)

    Prayers, Barbara



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