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, January 27, 2012

Help for Kalinovka

Back in 2008, when I was newly informed of the plight of disabled orphans in Ukraine, I began communicating with a Mennonite Brethren missionary couple in Zaporozhye. They had heard of a remote orphanage for disabled children in that region of Ukraine, but didn't know much about it at the time. They referred me to an American man who is descended from the family who owned the place when it was a large and prosperous Mennonite agricultural estate.

Now called Kalinovka, it is fascinating to see the old photos of the original buildings alongside newer photos of the buildings stripped of their ornamentation after the revolution. From the Happy Child Foundation story HERE:
Given land by the Russian government, German-Mennonite colonists settled here in the early 1800s. Kalinovka, itself, began as an agricultural estate named Steinbach, founded in 1813-14. Over nearly four generations, the Schmidt family made Steinbach into one of the most renowned farms in the region, encompassing some 20,000 acres of wheat and pasture land. Tsar Alexander I visited here in 1825, interested especially in its model tree-planting program. In time Steinbach also became known for its high-quality school, library, and its splendid buildings. In the decade before and after 1900, the Steinbachers sponsored retreats for teachers and ministers participating in Bible seminars. After the 1917 revolution, the family was forced to leave, and by 1923 disabled children were already occupying the main buildings.
Much work has been done in this facility over the past few years. One encouraging development includes a remodeled family type home on the property for several of the older boys. Another great sign of progress is that a young boy with Down Syndrome was very recently adopted from Kalinovka!

Much is yet to be done. My friend Gretchen is working with an organization in Chicago to ship some much needed supplies to Kalinovka in the next TWO WEEKS! Please visit her blog HERE if you want to know how you can help. There is a list of items and contact information posted there.

It is heartwarming to know that someone, somewhere, does indeed care about these children who are living in such difficult circumstances. I always imagined that I would be able to help them one day. Perhaps we can do that together now, with some help from Gretchen and her friends.

1 comment:

  1. I have a whole bunch of ancestors from the Mennonite colonies in Zaporozhye! So cool to hear of it currently!



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