Kansas woman trying to help kids in Ukraine

Ukraine Bailout Blues

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Wichita-area woman who founded an organization to help disadvantaged children in Ukraine has been anxiously waiting to see how that country’s current problems will affect her efforts.

Stephanie Nance of Maize founded Project TLC, a group that identifies and tries to help disadvantaged children in communities and orphanages in Ukraine. She also has adopted three children from Ukraine and visits often.

Nance was in Ukraine last month when the battles began in Kiev. She returned to Maize on Friday, a day before Russian troops entered the Crimea region of Ukraine, The Wichita Eagle reported (http://bit.ly/1onfp6L ).

“We are still trying to figure out what this will mean for us,” Nance said. “Things are changing really fast over there.

Nance, who has 12 children, said she began traveling to Ukraine after her son Ralph was born in 2007 with Down syndrome. She found that children born in Ukraine who were mentally or physically disabled can end up in institutions, such as orphanages. After traveling there to adopt a child she was “heartbroken by the kids we had to leave behind,” Nance said.

“Adoption is great, but not all kids can be adopted. … So, if they couldn’t be adopted, we looked at ways we could give them some extra attention.”

One way was to hire paid caregivers to give children more attention.

But since returning to Maize, Nance has been trying to stay in contact with caregivers at the orphanages and remains hopeful her organization will still be able to help.

“We are going to walk in faith that we can still help kids,” she said.

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Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com

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