Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Our REAL LIVE angel under our Christmas tree! She was ALL smiles this Christmas...her FIRST Christmas with her forever family. We are so lucky to have her. She is PURE joy!

Monday, December 13, 2010

One Year Ago Today...

One year ago today, my grandmother passed away peacefully. We miss you dearly Grandma.

One year ago today, I stumbled across Reece's Rainbow's Angel Tree fundraiser and decided to make a donation in my Grandma's memory.

One year ago today, I caught a glimpse of a little baby girl named Sofia (2) who had Down syndrome and a face that permanently touched my heart.

One year ago today, a seed was planted.

One year LATER, we are the Sanchez Six and we can't imagine life without our daughter. She completes us! What a difference a year makes.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

SO Much To Share

But so little time these days....I promise to do a proper update VERY soon.

So for is our little sweetie! This symbolizes her new life. She's a kid in a candy store! Loving every moment of it.

Eye Update

We saw Joaquin's eye doctor again last week and received some good news. The patching of his "good" eye is working and she doesn't think he'll need eye surgery after all! WOW! Took me by surprise because she seemed to think it was the ONLY solution for so long.

She said his eyes are straightening on their own and that we should continue to patch his dominant eye 3 hours a day and then do a full eye evaluation in 3 months to see if maybe he needs glasses now.

So we will continue to monitor it closely and patch daily to help our little guy. It would be WONDERFUL not to do the surgery and to be able to fix it somewhat more naturally!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Trick or Treat?

Sofia's first Halloween was celebrated all day long with a baby Halloween party in the morning and hanging out with Nana and Grandpa Halloween night while her big brothers went trick or treating in the neighborhood!

Lots more pictures to come soon! There was a professional photographer (and dear friend) at our baby party so I'll be sure to share those when we get them. Can't wait!

Sofia was a super diva...complete with outfit changes! She was a bee and a ladybug...couldn't waste those adorable costumes.

For a post on our evening activities complete with pictures, go to Joaquin's blog here!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Her First Halloween!!!

What to "bee"  for Halloween?????  Our "cute as a bug" girl has to make up for some lost time with Halloween costumes! does one pick?!? Maybe we need a POLL! Let us know your favorite!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

God Works in AMAZING Ways...

My new friends Mark and Hansina are currently in Ukraine adopting their new son Liam.  This is a local family to us that decided to adopt a child from Reece's Rainbow as a result of our journey to save Sofia. This is a beautiful family that does not have a child with DS but decided that they would love to adopt a child with DS...I find this absolutely amazing and so incredibly wonderful!

Liam and his new Big Sister Madison
Hansina contacted me earlier this week with some fears and concerns about little baby Liam's health. Since she is not familiar with having a child with DS, I can imagine how scary it must have been to meet him and hear that he has some health issues. Adopting a child oversees can be scary enough let alone a child who comes with a set of "issues." God knows Hector and I were scared, knowing very well what we were getting into with adopting Sofia, and we were almost paralyzed by the fear after the long travel, stress of being in a foreign country and having absolutely NO CONTROL over any of the process of the adoption. It would have been so easy for us to turn around and run home.

So, when Hansina contacted me with her fears, I felt extremely obligated to help ease her mind and offer her the support and care that I could thousands of miles away and through email. One of the health concerns that Liam has is cataracts in both eyes. Sounded scary to me. I don't know anything about it. I don't know any child with DS (or otherwise) who has cataracts and I simply did not know what to tell her. I did get her the names of two excellent eye doctors in town and thought this might be the only thing I could do.  I was so anxious about it and couldn't stop thinking about her and Liam.

Well...God had different plans. Last week, just two days after getting Hansina's email about Liam, I had a follow up appointment with our eye doctor for Sofia's tear duct surgery. While in the waiting room, I saw the most beautiful, active, curious and lovable little boy with DS. He was about 3 1/2 years old and was just a joy to watch. His eyes looked perfect and gorgeous and I wondered why he was at the opthomologist's office. I felt something move me to initiate a conversation with the mom and dad (and got a sweet hug from their boy as a result) and I asked them why they were at the office. I'm not usually so bold or "nosey" but again I just felt moved to ask them. I was so curious.

Lo and behold, the mom told me that they were there for their son's follow up appointment. He had double cataract surgery a month ago. She went on to tell me that the surgery was very simple. The healing was quick and their son can see perfectly. WOW. WOW. WOW. I got chills. I had exactly what I needed to tell Hensina. Thank you God!

God works in mysterious ways but I'm beginning to think that He knows EXACTLY what He is doing.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Four Kids on a Swing

The Sanchez kiddos at the park on the same swing set! Can you spot Sofia?

Saturday at the Park

All four of our kiddos on the swing set at our neighborhood park!

Monday, October 4, 2010

San Francisco Bay Area Dandelion Parent Feature Article

Reece's Rainbow and our story are featured in the latest Bay Area Edition of Dandelion Parent Magazine. SO exciting to see our story and stories like ours covered in magazines to spread the word. Check it out here! Our story is on page 16 & 17.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Showering Sofia

On Sunday, my "best" girlfriends threw a very intimate and beautiful shower for Sofia. It was a lovely afternoon and Sofia was a little movie star! She lights up a room when she enters it. The cool crisp mimosas were delicious on this warm September day and the company was perfect. Thank you Michelle and Katie and all our guests for honoring our little birdie and showering her with love.

Wordless Wednesday...Big Boys

Birthday Bubbles & Music

Here is Sofia at her buddy Sheridan's birthday party last month. She LOVES music and people and birthdays and bubbles and she has a sense of wonder about EVERYTHING. And then I remember it's because EVERYTHING is new to her!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Those Eyes...Again!

So....I'm needing my blogging family and friends to help me out a bit. Am I being overly sensitive? I think so...

I've noticed lately that I'm a bit more sensitive when people strike a "funny" face for photos and more often than not people love to cross their eyes and stick out their tongue to make this face. I realize lately that the face is somewhat the face of a person with Down syndrome or any other brain injured person. Joaquin obviously has a strabismus so his eyes are crossed most of the time and occasionally his tongue rests on his lower lip when he is overly tired or relaxed.

I realize people...adults and children...mean absolutely no harm in making this face but when I see the crossed eyes I just cringe a tiny bit thinking they are making fun of themselves and looking "silly" or "dumb" but they are doing this by making their face resemble the face of someone with a strabismus. Do you think this goes back to the whole "retard" thing....looking and acting "retarded" to poke fun at oneself.

Just a random thought for the day. Silly I know but just sharing some of the thoughts that I have. It's not like I expect people to stop crossing their eyes when they make a face for the camera or for fun, it's not that. It's just I wonder where that ever came from or started from.  I've grown to love and adore my boy's little crossed eyes but yes, we will be doing the surgery to straighten them later this year and we'll see how successful the surgery is for cosmetic and medical reasons. Will having straight eyes help Joaquin to be more mainstreamed and less made fun of in the future? I don't know. Will it help people see beyond his disability if he doesn't "appear" to have DS or doesn't have the strabismus? I don't know. Does it bother me? I don't know. Will this bother Joaquin someday? I don't know.

I think I'm just having one of those overly sensitive days. I'll get over it...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Can I Have One?

Me & My Brother

Sasha HAS A Family-UPDATED!!!!


Follow his journey home here! CONGRATS to the Hagler family! You are about to win the adoption lottery jackpot of love and cuteness with Sasha :)!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tears Are Flowing...It's a Good Thing!

Little Miss Sofia had her tear duct surgery today and all went well. The doctor was able to probe both ducts and balloon one side but not the other but they feel that surgery was successful and that all should be flowing well now!

She charmed all the nurses and doctors in the children's surgery center and did really well during the surgery and coming out of anesthesia. She seemed to recover quickly in the morning but had a little relapse in the afternoon with some vomiting of fluids. She was more cranky than she's ever been today as well, poor little girl. Hopefully tomorrow she will feel like herself again.

Thank goodness for our healthy girl. And if she should need to cry (and we hope that she doesn't too often), she can now cry with tears and all!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Down Syndrome in the Movies!

The opportunities and possibilities for people with Down syndrome continue to increase. Here is an article and movie trailer where Evan Sneider, an actor who has DS, is one of the main characters. It looks like it's an intense drama, looking forward to seeing it!


Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Ripple in the Pond Continues...

...and another little girl's life is going to be saved.

Embracing Life's Journey

Tropical Storm Joaquin

Joaquin is like a walking hurricane these days...into everything. He is so BUSY and so CURIOUS and so full of MISCHIEF! I've been trying so hard to keep up with our house (since we are still trying to sell it!) and every time I clean up one room, I go into the next and it's like a tornado hit. It happens all. day. long.

He is so inquisitive and wants to explore every inch of his environment and that's's just impossible to keep up with him!

Here he is getting caught in the act of something...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Before & After

We are a few weeks shy of having Sofia home with us now for three months and I can't get over how much she has transformed. She is such a happy and healthy little baby. We love her more and more each day and she is becoming more and more our little girl. The boys continue to love on her and play with her (Joaquin sometimes a bit too evidenced by a few love "bites") but all in all she fits in so perfectly with our family. Look how far she's come!

Before...bruised, pale, chapped skin.

After...clear, soft, illuminated skin.

Before...nothing to call her own, dressed in layers of clothing, not able to feel her own body.

After...a closet full of lovely clothes especially given to her or handed down to her, dressed like the princess that she is.

Before...very little tone, poor coloring, overfed and no variety of foods for her body.

After...brighter skin, more alert, better tone, proper body weight.

Before...all alone, no friends, no family.

After...lots of friends and a big family.

Before...sad and sorrowful eyes.

After...eyes full of wonder!

Before...stuck indoors almost all her life.

After...soaking up some California sunshine!

Before...a face without much hope.

After...a face filled with joy!

Before...a hidden beauty with lots of love just waiting for someone to share it with.

After...a glowing, radiant beam of light! Photo taken today at the opthamologist's office.