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, October 1, 2010

My heart. Yep, this is long...

I've been thinking about this post for days. Like, obsessing! How do I communicate what is on my heart? How do I make you see and understand? And I think I've come to this conclusion, I can show you my heart, but only God can make you see and understand. So here I go...

I spent six weeks in the darkest place I've ever experienced. My journey in Eastern Europe was exciting and even fun at times, but darkness and hopelessness hangs over the place...especially in the orphanages, mental institutions, and nursing homes. I had the opportunity to visit a nursing home, but I chickened out. Not too proud of that.

The run down building where my boys lived was built in the late 1970's. Honestly, being there felt like being transported back to the 1930's. The wooden bars of the huge communal playpens are all gnarly from children gnawing on them out of boredom. Disposable diapers hang on the clotheslines to be used over again. Flies everywhere. Many children laying quietly in their cribs all day long.

Somehow...someway...many of the children retain a little spark of life. I was blessed to be able to talk and sing to them and witness that spark, though I was never permitted to touch or hold any of them. Not sure I could have handled snuggling with them anyway. It was bad enough to have to walk away from them after singing Jesus Loves the Little Children.

How do you do that? How do you tell a child in that place that Jesus loves them and then turn around and go back to your comfortable life? I promised in my heart that I would do what I could to bring attention to them and find loving families for them. And as neglected as these children are, there is something worse in their future if that doesn't happen. The institution.

Called the House for Invalids by the locals, the institution, or mental hospital, is the next stop for these children when they turn four years old. For many of them it will be their last stop for many of them do not survive the first year. The mortality rate is high and this is where many of our Reece's Rainbow children have died. Imagine tiny four year old children competing for food and attention. If the children do not yet walk or feed themselves how will they survive?

My little 14 pound Theodore was scheduled to be transferred to this place when he turned four years old in June. By the grace of God the director was able to keep him at the baby house until we arrived. I have no doubt that he would not have survived even a month if he were to have been moved. He can't walk, talk or eat on his own! Some of the children that I met and fell in love with will be transferred. Some of them will not survive long. It's only a matter of time and no one has adopted from the mental institution there.



There is a girl.


Isn't she beautiful?

She was transferred to the so-called House for Invalids when she turned four years old last year. Does she look like an invalid to you? To me she looks like a bright girl with enormous potential, not a girl who should be locked away in a mental hospital. She has cerebral palsy, that's all. It's not fair. She doesn't deserve the horror of living and dying in a mental hospital.

She's got that something special, I think. A special quality. I know I'm not alone in thinking this. I know that there is a family out there somewhere just for her. Maybe they don't know it yet. Maybe they already love her but they are afraid. Afraid of what it is going to take to rescue her. Intimidated by the uncertainty of the task.

It will be difficult. Like I said, no one has adopted from this institution before. But then again, no one had adopted from Aaron's institution before and he is now home with his loving family!! Yeah!!

It's going to take a miracle to rescue Tori. I'm asking you today to be a part of this miracle. You can be a small part of something huge! If together we can raise enough grant money, Tori's family will be emboldened to take on this fight. IF Tori can be successfully adopted it will open doors for other children who've had misfortune of being transferred to that horrible place.

I'm asking, no begging for a coordinated effort to help Tori. Please contribute to the chip-in fundraiser I've placed here on my blog. Any amount, small or large, is crucial to breaking down the barriers that exist in this dark, dark place. I'm asking you to share this on your own blogs, your Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, email or whatever avenue you have available to you.

What is a chip-in fundraiser without a little goody?? So, I'll be giving away this Apple Ipod Touch (4th gen 8GB) after the chip-in ends on October 21st.

Please, spread the word. Give a little and then pass it on! Watch the Lord work a miracle and multiply your gifts for Tori! Watch the walls of hopelessness come tumbling down! God will set this lonely child in a family, you wait and see!!!


  1. Excellent... I see your heart, and I'm glad you're sharing it.

    And of course, I'll post this on my blogs.

  2. Great post! I have posted on my blog with a link back here!!

  3. I put this on my facebook and will be adding it to my blog. I pray someone will save Tori.

  4. I donated! and trust me, if I donated ANYONE can give. I'd rather have an empty bank account and know I helped an orphan get home. Lets go people!!!

  5. I donated and pledge to continue donating each week until Tori's forever family can bring her home. I also posted on my FaceBook page.

  6. I'm weeping, as usual when I read about these poor children. Thank you for sharing. I'll link back to you in a blog post soon and will chip in. One day, I hope to do more, thank you for doing it now.

  7. Thank you thank you thank you! I am going to Facebook this now and contribute as well.

    Who has loved and prayed for Tori for a long time now

  8. I'm fundraising for Tori too (no, I cant adopt her.)! Thank goodness! Thank you for your outreach! Let's pray for her and each other's efforts!


  9. I just donated and blogged about Tori. Thank you for doing this for her!

  10. Yes, thank you for advocating and fundraising for this little sweetie!

    helle :)

  11. We are praying Tori finds a family quickly!

  12. This little one has been on my heart since I first saw her picture a few years ago, and I have been hoping for a family for her. Thank your for fundraising for her, I really pray that funds will help her family step forward.

  13. I am also hoping and praying for Tori!
    I am also trying to give away my pearl necklace for Dmitry, a blind boy in an orphanage.
    He will be 5 in December!

  14. I left a donation, I wish it was more, but praying for this little one xx

  15. Donated in memory of Anne Marie, from the funds I was raising for her!

  16. I've loved Tori's smile from the first time I saw it. I pray her family comes forward soon.

  17. Happy to dontate for this sweet girl. I hope Tori comes home asap!!


  18. Stef & Julia,

    Your passion to help Tori is inspiring. I hope that her family is able to come forward soon. I am posting this to my fb now, and I hope that it helps bring her home. I also place a very small donation tonight, as it was all that I could spare. Please keep us all updated if you hear any news about her or her missing family.

    Tori, I'm so sorry I am not able to do more, you deserve so much better.....

  19. I just donated for Tori and am so excited to see God working!


  20. Tori, Thank you so much for being a Angel of Grace for these children! I wish and hope this situation would and could get national coverage, something need's to be done! These beautiful little lives need to have a chance at "Life"...I believe they should and could within the laws of God, that these baby be preserved with "Food" and even tho they are not self care...Amen



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