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, October 20, 2011

Another Theo?

How many of you have been touched by Theo and his amazing transformation?

It's really a miracle. Wouldn't you agree? I wish you could all meet him in person. I wish you could see how much I adore him.

How many of you were so moved that God has opened your heart to the possibility of adoption?

I'm aware that there may be a hundred Theos, probably many more. We know they exist, but we can't help them because we don't know where they are. They are hidden away behind walls of concrete as well as ignorance and shame.

But, what if?

What if you were made aware of a child like Theo? A child that was not in good condition. Not in a great situation. But, so full of promise. So tough. So loved by the God that created him.

Today I was made aware of such a child. Oh my heart!

I keep thinking how amazing it would be for someone who was inspired by Theo or Carrington to say "YES!" to this little boy. Perhaps someone already has.

But, I wonder how many of you are talking yourself out of rescuing a child like Theo. Your house may be too small. You don't think you could afford it. Your other children would suffer. I've heard it all. I've said it all myself!

Would you like more information? Email

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Burden

When I was in Ukraine last year, I saw what I saw. And I can't forget it. And it wasn't a mistake. It was ordained. It was presented to me. Revealed to me. When it was presented to me, it became my problem.

No, not mine alone, but mine nonetheless. And now I've got to figure out what to do about it.

Here are some other people and organizations who are sharing the burden with me:

  1. My neighbor, Rachel. Well, almost neighbors anyway! She's just 30 minutes down the road from me. She is adopting L'il V from St. P*te.

    Rachel is a lovely young single lady with a huge heart for orphaned children. She has a few fundraisers going on to help get over the final financial hump. Won't you visit her blog and give her some encouragement?

  2. My friend, Faith, who is adopting again! This time saving a handsome young man with Down Syndrome, named Josiah, who was just transferred to a mental institution. Time is of the essence here people. Children who are transferred to institutions like his often develop mental illness. Some awesome young ladies are hosting a giveaway fundraiser for Josiah HERE.

  3. A new special needs school has opened in Crimea, the southernmost region in Ukraine. You can sponsor children by assisting with their tuition HERE. These are children that otherwise might be stuck at home with no opportunity for an education, or worse, abandoned to life in a mental institution.

  4. Don't forget about Project TLC. Serving the very least of the very least is what TLC does.
Won't you take a look at some of these links and help bear the burden, too?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ideas anyone?

Well, the time has come. Project TLC now has it's own bloggy home. Yep! Finally.

Skip on over to and check out our ministry intro video. We'll have some more updates soon on our fall trip to Ukraine.

So now. What should I do with this space? It's feeling a little redundant. Ideas anyone?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The heart of an orphan

I often struggle to wrap my head around the enormity of the orphan crisis. Recently, this video made a big impact on me. There is so much truth here:

My heart was broken in two when I left Theo and Zhen's orphanage last year. After singing songs like "Jesus Loves the Little Children" and praying over them for over a month, I walked out the door with my boys. Maybe, perhaps, I put a little tiny piece of their heart back together. It's probably been ripped off again by now...a year later.

This IS going to require an army.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

More Zhen

What a difference a year can make! Last year the Buddy Walk was too much for Zhen to handle. The crowds, the noise, the celebration pushed him over the edge.

There was hitting, slapping, biting and head butting as a result. Poor little guy.

This year Zhen experienced:

brotherly love,
proximity of two skulls without fear,
new friends,
and hugging!

Day to day is tough. But looking back in time, the healing is remarkable!

Friday, October 7, 2011


Zhen is a tough nut. A tough nut to crack. He prefers to keep to himself and often slips quietly off to his room to play in silence. I'll never forget the heavy silence of his orphanage. It made me want to tip-toe around the place.

Apparently he's most comfortable by himself in quiet places, which means he's really not that comfortable in this house much of the time! But that's OK, right? We don't grow when we are comfortable, do we? We need to be stretched and challenged.

Living in this family has stretched and challenged Zhen.

And I'm starting to see the fruit of those challenges.

Zhen has never really been interested in playing with other people. Alongside, sometimes. Interacting and cooperating, no. He's also never really been interested in the TV other than to irritate people by turning it off, or the volume all the way up!

We look at this kid now:

He's found his groove all of a sudden! I know, you cant' really to see his face, but this was the best I could get without interfering with the fun. (And yes, those were his glasses that he threw. They really blend in with the carpeting. Not good.)

He's coming out of his shell and starting to really enjoy his family, other people, and life in general. I hope this is a trend that continues.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Heartfelt thanks from Project TLC

Thank you to all the people who took a step of faith and donated to Project TLC over the summer. We were able to assist a mental internot (institution) in Crimea with some really boring supplies. Our hope is that these gifts would free up resources to better feed and care for the children who reside there.

The leadership team of TLC has made plans to visit the facility very soon. Your gifts along with the proceeds of the Cupcakes for a Cause fundraiser last month will make it possible for us to meet needs that we find when we visit, needs we haven't even anticipated. Urgent medical procedures, therapy equipment, bedding...who knows what needs we will find?

Please consider any additional gifts as you are led. Paypal donations can be made using the link at the top of the page. Memo checks (please don't forget the memo) for Project TLC and mail to:
His Kids Too!
219 – B Delta Ct.
Tallahassee, FL 32303

Here is a translated breakdown of the items that were donated so far. Some things appear more than once because they were purchased at different locations/times. We will, of course, keep you updated. Heartfelt thanks!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


This was my face when I realized that there was no SD card in my camera yesterday after taking (or not taking) photos of Theo boarding his Kindergarten bus for the first time!

Yep, Theo is an official Kindergartener!

And since I don't have any new photos to share, I thought I would share with you the truth about taking photos of Theo. The truth is that all you have to do is take 200 photos or so, to get a few good photos.

We had a really fun time last summer trying to get usable immigration and passport photos!

I'll try again tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

How typical is that?

When Ralphie was a baby I wondered what it was like to have a child with Down Syndrome. I mean, really, he was a baby. He was just like all the other 7 babies I had previously cared for. I was so curious what life would look like when he was older.

Ralph is not a baby anymore. He's four. And now I know. He's just like the 7 other children that have previously raised to this point. For the most part anyway. Communication is his biggest challenge.

He's pure boy.

He's busy.

He's so typical! So much so that I often forget about Down Syndrome altogether.

He's just Ralph.

He puts his underwear on like every other four year old boy I've ever known. How typical is that?

Monday, October 3, 2011

The difference

I often wonder what the difference is. What is it about orphanage life that is so damaging to a child?

Most children in orphanages are kept relatively clean. Most are kept fed. What is so magic about family life that allows children from hard places blossom and grow in amazing ways?

Take a look at these faces and tell me how we can live with the fact that 100's of millions of children do not have the love of a family? Thank you Susanna for sharing those beautiful children and difference that love can make.

When we wake up and get in tune with the heart of God, we will be tripping over each other to take them in and shower them with His love.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Theo, then and now.

This blog started as an adoption blog back in early 2010. I've been fumbling around with it for the past year or so since we arrived home with Theo and Zhen. They are part of our family now so I like to include them on our family blog, Ralph and the Crew.

I'm not quite sure what this blog wants to be anymore.

While I'm trying to decide what to do with this space, I'll leave you with a short video of my Theo. He's going to walk. He's getting it! Remember this kid?

He could barely hold his head up then. Well, look at him now!!

And no, my kids never wear clothes. Oh wait, that's clean laundry that's getting folded, so I guess they do! ha!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

31 for 21 Challenge!

I'm taking the 31 for 21 Challenge here at Psalm68. This is a challenge to post every single day for the month of October to raise awareness for Down Syndrome. After all, October is Down Syndrome awareness month!

If you know someone with DS, give them a hug in honor of DS awareness month. If you don't know anyone with DS, I'm sorry.

Really, I am.

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