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!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Another hot day...

Another hot day here in beautiful Simferopol. You pronounce it sim-fur-ropel. :)

It is 3:30pm and I have to make a decision, do we visit the orphanage this afternoon or not? The temperature outside is 100F and the heat index is 104F. I obviously can not take the children out in such weather. The question is will they be better off sticking to their regular daily schedule or getting dressed to visit with me? And, does it matter considering that your regular daily schedule is lying in a crib all day long? If that is the case are the children better off staying in the orphanage, where the rooms can be as hot or hotter than 90F, or coming to stay with me in an apartment without a crib, playpen, highchair or childproofing of any sort for the next 4-5 days when we will uproot them yet again to a different apartment in a different city, similarly inappropriate for said children?

You see I have far more questions than answers. Some questions are pertinent and some are peripheral. Is a dog in a bank lobby an omen? What is a Lombard? Why are these disposable diapers hanging on the line? Who is meant to adopt these funny looking children? Can only cute children find homes? Why does the blue handle turn on the hot water?

If the uncertainty of what to do about the children isn’t enough, I find myself visited almost daily by mysteries and intrigues. Some of these I can share with you and some of them I cannot. Today a woman approached me in front of the orphanage. She was nervous and weeping, trying her best to speak a little English. She introduced herself and stopped to wipe away a tear. “Mother” she said. “Christian.“ My heart was in my throat, wondering who this woman could possibly be!

I asked her to sit down with me as she was obviously under stress. My mind was swirling instantly with thoughts of one of my boys birth mother tracking me down. But why? She never visited him, she gave him away forever. I pointed to Zhen and then Theo. “Mamma?” I asked. No.

The woman held a piece of paper with some writing on it…broken English, perhaps done with the aid of an online translating program. The words “Happy bathday to your, Micha! 08.08.10” jumped out at me.

Misha!! Instantly I knew. This was Misha’s God mother and she wanted to wish him a happy birthday and to know that he is ok. She asked me for photos and gave me her address and phone number and she slipped away as quickly as she appeared. I almost cannot believe that this woman spent the time and the money to come to the orphanage today on the off chance that I would still be here and that I would be able to help her. I’m fascinated and stunned.

Our visit with the boys was very nice today. We spied some children of interest and decided to play near them in the hopes that I could pass along some much wanted information about them. Of course, it is completely against the rules to take photos, but no one can tell me not to look with my eyes, right?

We didn’t last long in the play spot, but it was long enough for me to gather some information. The group of children who “own” the play spot showed up and we were asked through coughing and apologetic looks to move along. Our visit was ended when the heat started to rise and the children became thirsty and unhappy.

After handing the children over I showed Wesley the market near the orphanage. We walked through, bought him a little bottle of juice, some batteries, looked at some junk (literally - old tools, miscellaneous metal pieces and bath fixtures and such) and bought some diapers to take back to the orphanage.

I brought Zhen size 4 diapers initially when James and I first got here. He’s not that big, but I think they like an extra absorbent diaper. Probably the same reason why they asked for size 4 diapers for Theo. How they would keep a size 4 from falling off his little boney butt is beyond me!! I do know that they use a cloth diaper under the disposable diaper. The cloth diaper catches the poop and the disposable one keeps the clothing and bed sheets dry. The disposable diapers are then hung out on the line to dry and use over again. Pretty clever, huh? I guess you do what you have to do to care for these children.

Today I bought size 3's. I don't want to lug two packs of diapers around on the train or plane, or whatever we decide to take back to Kyiv. Hope they don't get mad!

The caregivers say that the orphanage spends all it’s money on medicine for the children, because there are so many sick children here. So much, they say that there is often not money left to buy the everyday things that children need. I have no way of knowing how much of that is true. But for the children it is reality either way…they often do not have the things that they need.

The children of Yolochka are mostly happy, the ones that are not in pain anyway. Why not? This is the only life that they know. My father died six months before I was born. I never knew him. I never understood what I was missing until I saw my little girl, my sixth child, snuggling and smooching on her daddy. Only then did I get a glimpse of what I had missed.

The kids need daddies and mommies and nutritious food and lots of love. Gosh, that almost sounds too simple!


  1. "Children of interest" - you are too funny! :-)

    What an awesome story about Misha's godmother. It breaks my heart to think about the void left in families when these children are left behind at the hospital. I don't believe that everyone in the families can just forget about them. How hard it must be for these mammas and papas to grieve in silence.

    I hope you get at least some of your questions answered today!

  2. you really need to write a book...... on another note: you are almost there!!! :)

  3. So thankful and excited for every update. I wonder how excited your family must feel by now to meet their new brothers and to have you home....if I feel like this! Just a feew days left. What about a photo of Wesley with Zhen and Theo? I pray that God will straighten your way today and remove every stumbling block.



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