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!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Now What?

We are home now and things are looking good so far!

We gave Zhen free reign in the child-friendly part of the house to see what he would do. We didn't want to restrict him. He has been in heaven! He loves to play with the big plastic trucks. He goes into his bedroom and closes the door and just plays and plays. He's quite happy to play by himself for now. That's fine.

Zhen does not know how to crawl! He crawls on one knee and one foot. It's very awkward, sort of like limping. He was encouraged to walk at the orphanage. The caregivers were forever forcing him to walk to me. But, I don't want him walking just yet, knowing that he never had the opportunity to crawl. The coordination that is takes to crawl properly builds important pathways in the brain. I'm happy for him to crawl as long as he likes.

Zhen has been sleeping since 1pm when I laid him down for a nap. Now it is 7:3opm and I'm he just feeling very relaxed here? Has he been sleep deprived? Is he just trying to adjust to our time zone? Am I going to pay for this later tonight? haha!

Theo is such a little love. I found out that he can roll over and he can hold his head up while laying on his tummy. He is a restless and light sleeper, forever flopping around. He often sleeps with his eyes open! He always rocks himself to sleep in a certain way. He claspes his hands and laces his fingers as if to pray, then he rolls back and forth very strenuously. Apparently he does't/can't get to sleep without doing this because he didn't nap at all while we traveled and while I was holding him all day.

Theo is so tiny. You cannot imagine unless you see him in person. I wanted to take him into the doctor's office today, just to get an accurate weight on him. But, the doc was out of the office today so I guess we will try again on Monday.

I'm just concerned. I know that I'm feeding him enough. I know that he's not throwing up like he did at the orphanage. But, what if? What if he has lost weight over the past few days? What if he gets sick over the weekend? There is crud that has been going around this house for the past month. He just doesn't have a sliver of reserve in his little emaciated body. He absolutely could not have survived transfer to the "house for invalids," as they call the mental institution in his birth country.

So now what? It feels good just to be home with the boys but I know they have other needs. Theo needs a dentist, bad. He also needs a nutritionist and possibly some sort of rehab therapy. Zhen needs to see a cardiologist and also to be tested for lead and parasites.

I'm the type of person who would have had all their appointments lined up already if it had been possible. Now my brain is in a jet-lag induced fog and I can't decide what should be done first.


  1. First...remember to pray. Their Heavenly Father loves them even more than you do! He has placed them in YOUR family for a reason and WILL take care of them through this weekend. I would call the dr. on Monday and get them in as soon as you can. We had to wait a week and a half before we could get TJ in. They will do all the tests then AND make the referals that are necessary at that time.
    I know what it is like to be anxious about it all. I just did a Bible Study with my girls about the faith of David facing Goliath. He said, "The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." Just think how much the Lord has delivered your sons from...he will surely sustain them a few more days. I will be praying for you!

  2. Hello friend,

    Whew, yep, we're in the same boat. Go and read some of ther great advice that others gave me. It really is a slow and steady thing, not a quick road to gaining weight. I am discovering that. Truthfully, I don't think that these little ones who are soooooo tiny ever really catch up with their peers.

    I'll keep you posted on what else I can find out. I'm so glad you're home :) Rest and love on those angels.

  3. I don't really have advice for you, but wanted you to know I am praying for you all! That your little guys will be okay for the next few days until you can see the doctor! You (and they) have been through so much in the last month. So many new things still to learn about their needs... Take it easy on yourself and get some rest and enjoy being home!!! :) Take care!!

  4. Praying the Lord gives you clarity and wisdom through the weekend and next week as you set things up. Also divine wisdom as you address each of their needs.

  5. I'm so glad that you're safely home, back with your family...and sleeping in your own bed. You can maybe try Pediasure- if Theo will take it. My son loves the taste, but unfortunately, not all children do, but I think it tastes very nice. It also has all the vitamins they need, which can sometimes be a struggle to give to them.
    for me it's a all in one product which helps fill the gaps in Kallen's diet. I pray that you will hear God's voice clearly as He guides you. I'm so excited to so your journey ahead. Many many blessings to you and your family

  6. I cant get over how TINY theo is ..sweet little thing. What a blessing you are mama :) Zhen is just too darn cute for words..what a life changing journey you have been on. One step at a time, maybe your dr will tell you what is a must to do first :)
    hugs !!!

  7. I'm so thankful that you have given Theo a family and a future. This is the answer to so many of my prayers. I'm thankful that both boys are safe at home with you now. What a wonderful story.

  8. Do you have other children with Down syndrome? Some of the things you describe are typical of Ds, like the crawl for Zhen, and the flopping while sleeping (for Theo)

    When we got back with Nina from Ukraine, her weight was a big concern for us as well. She has a diagnosis of "failure to thrive" basically and she is 4. So we had an agreement that I could walk into the doctor's office at any time to get an accurate weight for her, and the doctor did not have to be there. Ask if you can do that.

    For weight gain, Nina has been home for almost 8 months, but it wasn't until she had been home for 7 months that she finally started gaining weight! She has gained a pound an a half! Not that much, but finally her body is catching up!
    Talking to adoptive families we learned that it takes their little bodies around 6 months to gain weight, and for their bodies to learn to absorb their nutrients. Not all, but many.
    Many we need to pray sweet Theo starts gaining weight soon!
    I am so glad you are home!

  9. I am sure these little darlings will thrive in your home with your are so blessed. I can't hardly wait to see pics of the boys with your soon!
    Nancy B

  10. The photos from your homecoming brought tears to my eyes! Esp you and your Hubby! I am so happy for your family!

    Seems to me both of the boys qualify for EI services - immediately. No?

    I hope you took the weekend to just be and that the settling-in continued with everyone well.

    So now do you go back to Ralphcrew?

  11. Hi Stephanie!

    Greetings from Jerry and Olesia in Kyiv Ukraine! We met briefly at the US consulate on Wednesday, while we were getting our baby girl's US passport. We were so happy to meet you and your three fine children, and are glad to hear you all are home safely.

    Blessings to your growing family!
    Jerry and Olesia



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