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!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My little lovey.

It's summertime! School is out and this house is ROCKIN'!! I'll have more to share about Project TLC very soon. In the meantime, here is a little Theo for your viewing pleasure.

He loves life, even when it's painful and stinky. He never gives up. I wish I was more like him.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

We will not forget you.

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget, I will not forget you!”
Isaiah 49:15

You cannot see him well, but there is a little boy in that playpen. I sang songs to him daily last summer while I waited for Theo to be dressed for our visit. This is as close as I was allowed to get.

This little boy will likely not be adopted, even if he is registered. He has surely been transferred to the institution by now. He is the reason that TLC exists. I refuse to simply forget him.

Project TLC desires to serve the children we left behind. We desire to be distinctively Christian. For those reasons and many more we have chosen to partner with His Kids Too!, an experienced, Christian charity recognized in the USA and Ukraine. Your generous gifts to TLC will be administered by His Kids Too! and are deductible as allowed by law.

While we do occasionally work in concert with other Christian aid groups working in Crimea, we are not officially connected to any other aid group or ministry. We look forward to tackling work that has been prepared for us.

We won't forget.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Math

Imagine a place slightly smaller in area than the state of Texas with over 100,000 children living in orphanages. It's Ukraine. Only 10% are true orphans, children whose parents have died. So, somewhere around 90,000 children have parents who are drug users, or in jail, or abusive, or in the case of children with special needs, simply unable to care for them.

If 100,000 children are living in orphanages that house around 200 children, on average, then let's do a little math. I love math. 100,000 orphans ÷ 200 orphans per orphanage = 500 orphanages.

There are about 500 towns in Texas with a population greater than 4,200 people. Imagine an orphanage housing 200 children in each and every Texas town with greater than 4,200 residents.

To be completely fair the population of Texas is about half of the population of Ukraine. I believe it is still useful to take numbers like 100,000 orphans and relate them to images that our minds can grasp.

In the end though, we are talking about living, breathing, flesh and blood. They are children, not numbers. They are priceless. They are worth our trouble.

Monday, May 16, 2011

TLC for the 99

Last summer we left the ninety-nine to find the one. We literally left our nine children to rescue two. (If you are new here check the archives from July and August 2010.)

My heart was forever changed.

Scores of people travel to third world countries on mission trips and return home content to settle back into their comfy lives. And that's OK, I guess. I cannot discern the difference between them and me, but, my broken heart will not leave me alone. I'll never be as satisfied with comfort as I used to be.

When I left Ukraine to return home with my two new sons, I left the ninety-nine once again. I left behind treasured children to whom I sang for 5 weeks. To them I sang, "Jesus Love's Me." I told them that Jesus loves them. Twice a day. Every day.

Then I left.

99% of the children I left behind will never be adopted. They will never have a visitor. No one to teach them about Jesus. They are as alone as a person can be. I can't forget them.

I won't.

Allow me to introduce Project TLC. Project TLC is the Spirit-led effort of three mothers who adopted children with Down Syndrome from this region of Ukraine. We are dedicated to improving the life of disadvantaged children in Crimean communities and orphanages, serving their spiritual and physical needs with the love of Christ.

Adoption is wonderful and I fully support it. I just cannot forget the ninety-nine I left behind. Do you have a heart for these children, too? Will you support us?

The female inmates of mental institutions, women and girls, are often forced to use cloth pads each month. In addition, they frequently run out of laundry and bar soap. Can you imagine? We plan to make a gift of hygiene items, soap and diapers to one specific institution in July. With the Father's help , we will raise $2000 before the end of June so we can deliver this aid.

Remember, but for the awesome grace of our Father, Theo would be living in a mental institution right now. That is, if he managed to survive another year.

And Carrington. This little one barely escaped the orphanage with her precious life.

I hope that you will support Project TLC for the sake of Theo and Carrington. You may email for more information. And watch this space...more announcements about Project TLC will be coming soon.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


I've shared this before. This sermon is speaking to me in a powerful way today. What is it that makes you pound your fists on the table and weep? What is born of your anguish?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

On this mother's day...

On this mother's day, I can't help but think of my Ukrainian boys' birth mothers. I know they don't celebrate mother's day like we do here, but I cannot help myself.

When birthdays, ladies days, and mother's days roll around in Ukraine, are they reminded of the terrible day their sons were born? And the terrible decision they were forced to make? Judging by the sheer volume of social orphans, there must be a whole generation of would-be mothers who are likely hurting on days like today.

I envy the fact that they gave birth to my beautiful boys. How precious and sweet smelling they must have been as newborns. I imagine how snugly soft they were and how they would have melted into my chest. I imagine gently rocking them and watching them drift off to sleep in mommy's safe arms. I imagine their snickers and giggles as daddy would play with their little piggies.

baby Zhen. :)

Sadly, that was not the reality for my boys or their birth mothers. Motherhood is a miraculous gift. One that keeps giving over the years as I surrender to it. I know what babies with Down Syndrome feel like. How they look right into your soul. The world's best kept secret. Knowing what those women and men lost out on hurts my heart. And yet, I'm so very thankful and mindful of the great treasure that has been entrusted to me.

So on this Mother's Day, I'm sending out prayers for the mommies who gave up on what they didn't understand, what they couldn't have known. I won't forget you. Ever.

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