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!

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. Oh my! I hear you and i am just starting and i can't imagine what i will be like once i DO see and hear what you have heard and seen! I pray that God will bring you encouragement and something to uplift you but i also pray that you don't give up. I pray that you are the one who continues to educate your world about the horrible conditions of the orphan!
    I lost it question was...don't people know that we are going to stand before God and answer as to why we didn't do something???? What will our excuse be....? Too busy? We needed a vacation so we didn't have enough money to give? We need to do fun things too? We in America are so self focused and apathetic because we don't SEE it and touch it nor do we care to! Our lives are not focused on the eternal thing but the things that will burn, rust, die, and get old eventually...THAT is where we spend our time!
    I will continue to tell DAILY the stories of these orphans....i will continue to pray daily for them and i will pray that MANY will be joining the few minority of us who are passionate and that we will eventually be the majority of God honoring followers of Christ who act like what we sing every Sunday morning! My eyes are falling asleep and i need to put a child on my FB wall to ask friends to pray for.....we cannot give up....the cost is way too high! ((HUGS))
    If you would like to join me in praying for these name is Connie Clark Lindquist on FB and i know that we would love to have more people joining the team of orphan prayer warriors and fighters for justice and HOPE!
    I have a blog if you want to follow...

  2. I doubt that it helps much but the little one in the walker with her hands tied up is downstairs now. They still put socks on her hands (it scares me to know what's under there). She does get to go outside some days now.
    I, too, am overwhelmed. I feel bad for taking our son and leaving the other 99. I know I will cry today. Not tears of joy for our son but tears for those I know have no hope.

  3. (((((Stepanie)))))),
    I so remember the sounds, ( or lack of) the smells, the despair....and the workers. Some were ok, some NOT. Our daughter had ENORMOUS deep sores all over her legs, and was forced to put on shoes over her braces that hurt her so badly, and then was forced to hold onto an iced over window ledge to get down stairs. They would not let us carry her, and she cried in pain every time..... (her feet had to be amputated after we got home) It was simply cruelty.... We were yelled at for trying to help her during our 10 day wait. We got permission to leave the orphanage with her for 6 hours each day, which was a huge blessing. We took off those awful shoes.... and gave her some relief. Poor baby.
    I just don't get how they can systematically torture and STARVE children to death in a medical setting. It is just criminal.

  4. Thanks all. Some nights the weight of the world feels like it may crush me. It's not that I feel personally responsible for everything, but on some level we all are, right?

  5. Oh, Stephanie!! It is absolutely horrid what these beautiful children endure. They, too, are made after the image of our Creator yet they are treated like animals (or worse). I love your passion and that you are doing something for those left behind!

  6. Stephanie, who is the little "love" in the pictures? Is he available for adoption on Reeces Rainbow?

  7. Thank you Marianne. Why isn't that obvious to everyone?

    Anon, he's not. For all I know he has "parents," ya know? Oy, Ukraine!

  8. We will make a difference. Theo and Carrington are making a difference. Project T.L.C. will make a difference. God knows what He wants done and I know we can and will do it. There is nothing more fierce nor stronger than a mommy's love.

  9. Shelly is right! Prpject TLC is making a difference! Theo and Carrington have touched countless lives and will continue to do so. Keep on keepin' on. The Lord will sustain you as you shout for those left behind!

  10. You are making a difference. You haven't turned your back on them. I can't imagine how hard it must have been to see those children suffering and abused every day!The pictures alone haunt me so I can't imagine actually being there.God had a plan when he sent you there.I pray that he will give you peace. I recently posted about Maxim O, Genesis, and many others in Torez at
    These children have my heart.I will continue to advocate for the rest of my life because I saw a picture of Regan leaving an institution with her mom. Less than a year ago I had no idea children were treated like animals in orphanages. Less than four months ago I had no idea that children were sent to institutions for having a disability. The world needs to know what is happening.

  11. I will help in any way I can... Hugs

  12. Thanks everyone! If you want to help with Project TLC, please email:

    <3 <3 <3



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