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, July 21, 2011

Thank you from Project TLC

Project TLC is pleased to share with you that in our first two months we have started and nearly completed or first two projects. The overwhelming positive reception we have received continues to strengthen our resolve. We can make a difference, however large or small, and God will be glorified.

Due to some logistical difficulties our distibution of aid to the mental institution in Belogorsk was delayed by about a week. We are waiting for funds to transfer and for the institution director's wish list to be translated for us. This assignment should be completed very soon and then we will have photos to share with you.

Our second project is to help a young man from Crimea get the surgery he needs to retain what is left of his eyesight. See Eyes of a Child. I have news from Andrei's pastor that he and his mother will arrive in the USA on August 4th and will be seen by the eye doctor the very next day.

Pastor Bob asked me to express his thankfulness to everyone who has been willing to help a little boy that they have never met. Project TLC is so happy to put a good sized dent in $2,000 that Andrei needs for his treatments. We would like to make a bigger dent and so until next Thursday we will dedicate contributions to Project Andrei. Your gifts are tax deductible as allowed by law. You may use the paypal button at the top of the blog page or send to:
His Kids Too!
219 – B Delta Ct.
Tallahassee, FL 32303
*note Project TLC on check memo
Thank you for your prayers and support. Thank you for sharing our stories with your families and friends. Thank you for sharig our projects on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you for allowing us to bring our passion for the children of Crimea to life.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Messed up tonight...

I'm a blubbering mess tonight. I can feel that fire flaming up inside my broken heart again.

It all started when I stumbled across some photos I took in Ukraine that I thought were lost. I was browsing through these photos while chatting with a friend who is presently over there adopting. She told me this story:

Friday I went in the sleeping room to see [a certain baby]. One of the babies fell back and got his head stuck in the crib railing. He was screaming and I took him out and yelled for the nannies to come. When they came I told them what had happened and showed them that the crib was now broken. They put him immediately back in his crib still screaming.

[A friend] said they really do believe that if they pick them up too much they will spoil them and they will cry more. So they put them in their cribs and leave them.

That story hit me like a sucker punch. This is what we are up against! It's so huge! I feel so small and powerless. I know that is what orphanage life is like. I was there. I saw it. I heard it. I smelled it.

But it has been almost a year and those memories are fading. Not gone, just softened by time.

As I was chatting with my friend I saw these photos and the memories came roaring back.

Here is Theo. Emaciated beyond belief. He is swallowing air. I can tell by his expression. He would continually swallow air and his belly would get hard as a rock. Then he would puke. Then he would start all over again.

The darlings in Theo's room. These kids were NEVER taken outside. Ever. And the little girl always had her hands tied up. The kids were left like this for long periods of time. No adults to be found.

Here is where I really lost it tonight. This is my sweetheart. He's looking right at me. Piercing my heart. This boy was so hungry, ravenous really, for a friendly voice or a little song. One day while laying in the big playpen, he was slapped around for daring to crawl over to see me. All I could think was, "don't these people fear God?"

My love again, trying to catch my eye. What a lovely son he would be. What a joy his mother and father tossed away.

Theo in pain.
Some days I couldn't wait until it was time to leave. How awful. But, I couldn't do anything to help him. My hands were tied.
Day after day.

Here is little miss Carrington. She would sit slumped over like this for hours at a time. No one cared. She was nothing to anybody. No wonder she wasted away.

So tonight my heart is thoroughly trashed again. I'm feeling overwhelmed by the huge-ness of the problems I'm facing in Ukraine. Am I wasting my time? Am I beating a dead horse? Will anyone come alongside me to encourage me?

How heartbroken our Father must be! These kids need so much. And yet, so little would make a big difference. I'll never give up on them. It's just hard to keep going sometimes.

Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;
maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.

Psalm 82:3-4



1. (of a substance or object) Able to recoil or spring back into shape after bending, stretching, or being compressed.
2. (of a person or animal) Able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions
3. Theo
I cried myself to sleep the evening after I met Theo for the first time. The last time I cried out to God like that was when we didn't think Ralphie would survive shortly after he was born. I don't have the words to describe my rage and heartbreak.

One year after we found Theo in such awful condition that we were reluctant to even share about it on this blog, he is gaining the confidence and strength he needs to walk independently. Just look!! He just started doing this today!!

Yesterday, Theo was playing around in the living room doing his little planks and pike positions. He really wants to be a big boy, walking and running like everyone else. Suddenly I noticed that he was slowly raising his upper body...he was going to stand up! Stand up without anything to pull up on!

I began to involuntarily squeal! Actually, it was more of a scream. Theo did indeed stand up but I screamed so loud I scared him and he fell back on his butt!! I'm continually blessed to call myself his mother. My boy keeps smashing low expectations. He's tough. He's a survivor. He IS resilient.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Eyes of a Child

In the eyes of a child there is joy, there is laughter
There is hope, there is trust, a chance to shape the future
For the lessons of life there is no better teacher
Than the look in the eyes of a child

On occasion you will hear me complaining about Zhen's eyes. Seriously, why couldn't the orphanage arrange to have his cataract removed when he was a baby? Then his vision could have developed normally as he grew. The sad truth is that in Eastern Europe, babies with disabilities just don't get the medical care that they need.

Then I stop whining. And I'm thankful. For I remember a bright and beautiful boy that I met at church in Ukraine last summer. Meet Andrei...

About two years ago, Andrei was having some problems with his eyes. His parents took him to an eye specialist in Kiev who recommended laser surgery! Cool huh?

After the laser surgery was performed, the doctor came out to talk to the family and said... "Oops, we made a mistake and your son is now blind in that eye". (Can you even imagine?! The word "malpractice" comes to my mind.) The doctors did not operate on the other eye at the time, (thank God!) but said that it would need surgery in the future.

Over the course of the next two years, Dema and Marina, Andrei's father and mother, home schooled Andrei because the doctor said that a blow to the head or a fall could make him permanently blind. Now, I ask you, is that any way for a young boy to live, in fear of getting bonked on the head or falling down? No rough housing with his little brother? No running?

Now Andrei is now down to 50% vision in his one good eye.

What a nice looking family! Andrei's father leads the singing at church and teaches young adults. His mother is the church pianist. This photo is a couple of years old.

Last Friday, Andrei was having some problems with his eye and so the doctor wanted to take his eye out (!!!) and coat with silicone to help preserve the eye. Well, instead of that (sheesh!) we would like to get Andrei to the United States as quick as possible so that the doctors here can work on him. Marina had an appointment today at the US embassy in Kiev and thankfully, she was able to get the visas they need to leave Ukraine right away.

In a couple of weeks Andrei and his mother will travel to Chicago. A doctor there believes that he can help save his one good eye. A nearby church has agreed to host mother and son for one month while Andrei receives treatment. The good doctor cannot treat Andrei for free, but he will reduce his fee. What a great opportunity!

In keeping with our mission to improve the lives of children in Crimea, Project TLC would like to assist this family with their expenses. We will dedicate contributions received over the next two weeks in order to preserve what is left of Andrei's limited eyesight.

The total projected need is at least $2000, so please share this far and wide, and donate as you are led. You may use the Paypal button here:

Or you may send your gifts to:

His Kids Too!
219 – B Delta Ct.
Tallahassee, FL 32303

*note Project TLC on check memo

God bless you!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Then and now.

Earlier tonight I was chatting with a friend who is in Simferopol adopting from Theo and Zhen's old baby house, Yolochka. I was answering some questions and looking back at some old photos and I happened upon this video.

Oh, how these boys have changed. Theo could barely sit up and had to be tied into the swing. It's a common practice used by the caregivers there. And he just looks like death.

Now check this out:

He's not even the same child, is he?

Fundraising update! :)

Just a quick update to let you know how our fundraising for July is going. We have raised $817 so far. That leaves $1183 to get to our goal.

Please share Project TLC as you are led. Thanks everyone!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Oh goodness!

You may notice that I removed the chip-in from this page. Everything was set up correctly but the contributions were not being properly reflected on this page OR on the chip-in website.

Rest assured that your gifts were properly sent to Project TLC in care of His Kids Too!. I will be replacing the chip-in with a paypal button and making regular updates so that you can see our progress.

If this is the least of our problems then we have nothing to complain about, right?


East Bound and Down

East bound and down, loaded up and truckin',
We gonna do what they say can't be done.
We've got a long way to go and a short time to get there.
I'm east bound, just watch ol' "Bandit" run.

This song was running through my head today. I wonder how far I can take this illustration?

We (Project TLC) have been hired (called?) by God to take a truckload (carload?) of contraband (soap? diapers?) across international borders. Satan is in hot pursuit and we foil and embarrass him at every turn. Ok, so it doesn't sound quite as exciting and thrilling as high speed car chases and runaway brides, but you get the idea, right?

We do have a long way to go. $1500 is a long way.

We do have a short time to get there. Just two weeks.

We will do what they say can't be done. We just need some of you to run interference for us. Be our "Bandit." Share about Project TLC with good people. Tell Satan to back off.

Thank you!

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