"People have it in their minds that only girls are available. That's not true, but the only boys who are available are those with special needs. There are tons and tons of boys who never get considered because of those needs," she said.
In his kindergarten class last year, Jerry scored 100 percent on everything. All the Skaff children do very well in school.
The family marveled at the ease of Jerry's adaptation into their family because he was the eldest of the children they'd adopted.
"We prayed really hard that he wouldn't be afraid and would adjust smoothly. We prayed that if he did that, then we'd give all the credit where it was due -- to God for blessing us with an amazing family."
Through their connection with international adoptions and their strong faith, Stephenson and Sherri Willis (see accompanying story) share a desire to spread the word about the joy of special-needs and international adoptions. Stephenson especially wants to help match prospective parents with resources.
"I'm blessed to have the greatest job in the world, but I consider my side work in advocating and in spreading the word that this is not a hard thing to do. If anybody is interested, I am more than happy to talk to them," Stephenson said.
"There are so many countries. I'm super familiar with China, but there are waiting children all over the world."
She acknowledges that adoption is expensive but emphasizes that help is available through organizations and foundations such as one founded by singer Steven Curtis Chapman.
"People think the expense is impossible. Yes, there's expense, but there are ways to lessen the expense. There are grants available. People do fundraising," she said.
"I'm in debt up to my eyeballs, and I am delighted to be. We've invested in our kids and their future."
Julie Robinson is a former Gazette staff writer. Reach her at jul...@suddenlink.net.