Sunday, January 31, 2010


This website I came across today just gave me the chills as I read his foreward. What an amazing project and an amazing man.

Check it out....I'm Down With You

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Help Bring Her Home

I am already overwhelmed by the generosity of friends, family and strangers who have donated funds which will help us get Sofia home as quickly as possible. The total cost for Sofia's adoption will likely be around $25,000. That's a huge number but I think we can do this! Every little bit counts. We are so grateful to have such an amazing community supporting us. The length of time it takes to bring Sofia home depends on how quickly we can complete the paperwork and the paper "chase", the homestudy and then how quickly we can raise the money. This can take anywhere from 4 months (the soonest) to 9 months (the longest). We want her here sooner than later. This second year of her life is crucial in getting her the early intervention services she will so desperately need after living in an orphanage for 2 years.

There are a few things you can do to help us with our fundraising efforts and we are SO appreciate of any help we can get.

Please feel free to SHARE our blog with anyone you know, email your contact list, post on Facebook, have our permission! There is also a "BUTTON" (on the right side of our blog) that you may copy and use on your own blog or website and it links up to our Family Grant Fund page at Reece's Rainbow.

There are three different ways to give money to "Saving Sofia". You can donate money through our "Chip In" (also on the right side of our blog) which helps us directly with our upfront costs to get the adoption started. This is a direct donation to us through PAYPAL and helps us immediately.

You can also donate through Reece's Rainbow which is a tax deductible donation and goes into a Family Grant Fund for Sofia. You can mail Reece's Rainbow a check or paypal them the money at The check would be made out to Reece's Rainbow and you put Sofia Sanchez in the memo section and it will get to her. (It is really important to put our last name because there are other little girls with the same first name). If you use the paypal method using their email, simply put Sofia Sanchez somewhere in either the subject line or comments section so it gets to the correct fund. The address for Reece's Rainbow is P.O. Box 4024 Gaithersburg, MD 20885.

You can also donate through our local Down Syndrome Information Alliance (DSIA). They have set up a collection fund for Sofia and this would also be a tax deductible donation. Again, just indicate on the check or on their donation link in the comments section that the funds are for the Sanchez Family (again VERY important so that it goes to Sofia's fund). The DSIA is also going to help plan some exciting local fundraising events so stay tuned to find out more about that!

If you have a company or employer matching program, the Reece's Rainbow and DSIA donations would definitely qualify.

If any of this is confusing or too complicated, you can contact me directly at and I can guide you through the process. Or you can send checks made out to Reece's Rainbow or DSIA to our home address and I will make sure they get to the right place.

We want to spread the word about Sofia not only to help us fundraise but to increase awareness of international adoption and Down syndrome, two things we are VERY passionate about now.

We are already so GRATEFUL to those who have helped us. EVERY LITTLE BIT COUNTS! It means the world to us and it means the world to Sofia.

Let's get her HOME!!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Story of Sofia

It all started when I decided to take a look at Reece's Rainbow the night that my Grandma Esther died on December 13th. Reece's Rainbow is an organization that promotes international adoption of children with Down syndrome. The ministry raises money to offer adoption grants on waiting children. By doing this they are able to give adoptive families the extra financial help they need to bring a child with Down syndrome home from a miserable existence in overseas orphanages.

Grandma Esther had a strong connection with angels and I remembered that there was a Christmas Angel Tree Project going on where you could sponsor an orphan and donate to their grant fund and receive an ornament with their picture on it. I though that this might be a neat tradition to start in our family and eventually through the years we could fill up our tree with these beautiful angel ornaments. I thought that would be a very special way to honor children with Down syndrome. Something all three boys could be proud of but especially Joaquin to see familiar faces on his Christmas tree.

I started browsing the website with Diego and Mateo and we immediately found Sofia. I was drawn to her beautiful face and her name. Then I saw that her birthday was only 19 days apart from Joaquin's. The boys kept saying "she's so cute!" I knew she had to be the one. It gave me so much joy to send our donation to Reece's Rainbow with her name and number on it...Sofia (2).

I had no idea that something so BIG and life changing was being set in motion.

I couldn't stop thinking about her. Her face. Her tiny bit of information...has Down syndrome, light brown hair, blue eyes, small oval window, no other heart disease. Born on February 21, 2008. That was all I knew of her.

We left for vacation soon after that for 2 weeks. We had a beautiful time in Mexico and it was a great family vacation. Both Hector and I found such joy watching our children play in the surf, sand and sun. We both realized how fortunate we were to have such amazing children. We felt so blessed. I have to confess that I thought of Sofia every single day I was on vacation. Why couldn't I get her off my mind?

We returned on January 1st from our vacation and waiting for us in the mail was Sofia's ornament. I quickly opened the package and was thrilled to put her ornament on our Christmas tree. I found so much joy actually placing that ornament on the branch and introduced the family to our special little angel.

On January 3rd, I wrote this post on Three's A Charm... Our Christmas Tree Angel. I was convinced that there was no way we could actually adopt Sofia. How could we? Our house is small. We're crazy busy with three active boys. We have limited resources. But there were other strong whispers telling me...she has nothing....she has no one....she is alone in this world...what we have is a mansion compared to the crib she is confined to...we have so much love to give...we have everything she needs.

For days I imagined Sofia in my everyday life. How would she fit in? What would it look like if she were here? Where would she sleep? How would I manage four children...two of them with special needs? And none of it scared me.

I asked the boys casually what they thought of a sister. Diego has ALWAYS wanted a sister so he was fully on board and said with a huge grin "YES!!!!" Mateo also chimed in with "I want a sister too MOM!" When I asked them what they thought of a sister who had Down syndrome like Joaquin, who might need extra attention, who might need extra help...both of them looked at me like "so what?!?"

I took them both over to look at Sofia's picture on the Reece's Rainbow website and again got the "oohs" and "ahhs" on how cute she was and then Diego said to me "Mom, look we can buy her...she's only $865 dollars!" He was looking at her grant money fund...trying explaining that to a 6 year old! So I went into an explanation of adoption and how Sofia has no parents and no home and that a LOT of money has to be raised in order for a family to bring her home. He simply said "Can we bring go get her?"

I finally got the courage to approach Hector with the idea. I was almost certain he would think I was crazy. He told me he knew it was coming (he knows me so well) but had A LOT of concerns about it...all of his concerns were totally realistic, normal, healthy concerns. He is the provider for our family and it's a huge responsibility taking on another child. He asked for some time to process but he did not close the door. For about two weeks we went back and forth on it and it was a very difficult decision making process for both of us. He knew I was completely on board and ready to move forward with the adoption but I needed his blessing and his support. There was no other way. Without going into too much personal detail, my husband made the most loving, selfless, brave decision and said yes to Sofia. It was a beautiful moment. I'm still in awe and admiration for his capacity to love and trust me on this and for opening his heart to Sofia.

We are taking a GIANT LEAP OF FAITH! And we plan on moving full speed ahead!

Time is NOT on Sofia's side right now. She is turning two in a couple weeks. She is in a poor orphanage in Eastern Europe and is most likely drinking only tea and broth from a bottle and eating soups. We have no idea how much she is being held, touched, talked to, loved, breaks our hearts. We want her home YESTERDAY. I have cried so many tears thinking of her.

Sofia will be the daughter we never had and always longed for in our lives. Sofia will be the youngest of 4 children and will have 3 big brothers to watch over her. Sofia will have a sibling that is "just like her" in Joaquin...they will be a gift to each in crime, friends for life, a special brother and sister connection. Diego and Mateo will get to experience first hand not only the joy of being touched by siblings with Down syndrome but also the beauty of adopting an abandoned child.

We are thrilled about the journey ahead of us! We know it won't be easy but nothing in life worthwhile comes easy. We cannot WAIT to bring Sofia home. She needs us and we need her.

A Little Girl Named Sofia...

...has stolen our hearts and we are committed to bringing her home.


Please join us on our newest adventure and meet our little girl who will complete our family.

Saving Sofia

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Four is the Magic Number

Here is your riddle for the day....

13 is 8 is 5, 5 is 4, 4 is 4 and 4 is the magic number. Why?
Hint: 6 is 3, 3 is 5, 5 is 4, 4 is 4, and 4 is the magic number.
Hint: 26 is 9, 9 is 4, 4 is 4, and 4 is the magic number.

Now what would this have to do with Three's a Charm?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Finding Home Away From Home

Awhile back we went to Disneyland with the kids and I remember posting how shocked and sad I was to report that I did not see one child with DS in all of Disney. I was shocked by that.

Well, I'm happy to report, I saw not one but THREE children with Down syndrome on our recent trip to Playa del Carmen, Mexico. All three were very "normal" and happy families and the kids were absolutely darling. Two of the kiddos were babies Joaquin's age or younger and one boy was about 9 or 10 years old traveling with his American family.

It was such a joy for me. Two out of the three families, I wasn't able to make a connection with as they were either passing by or busy doing their own thing. But one family in particular I was able to not only meet but really connect with.

I had the pleasure of meeting Iliana and her parents and we spent some good quality time together. Mom was Romanian and Dad was from Argentina. Their daughter Iliana was born in Romania but was flown quickly to Italy to have heart surgery when her diagnosis was made because, as Dad put it, there was "no way in hell they were going to have her surgery done in Romania." Iliana is now 15 months old and they have a new baby boy who is almost 3 months old who was born in Veracruz, Mexico where they live now.

We spent a lot of time talking about how amazing it is to have a child with DS and we also did a lot of comparing on the services provided for a child with DS in the States vs a child in Mexico or in Eastern Europe. Dad is an international engineer of sorts and moves every 2-3 years so they are really hoping to move to the States in the near future to take advantage of the services. Mom is a psychologist and also had such great and deep thoughts to share about the joy of raising her daughter. We had so much in common as I think all of us parents do when we have a child with DS. I just loved it. I loved meeting them, playing and visiting with their family and watching Joaquin and Iliana play together.

It was like finding home away from home. And I think we'll have these experiences more often than not for the rest of our lives. I really feel fortunate.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Xcaret is an eco park just outside of Playa del Carmen and it's such a cool place to go with the family...highlights were the bat cave, the floating river, the butterfly preserve, and the turtle preserve. It was our third visit there. We love it!

Here is another family photo on the giant hammock on the beach.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Beach Baby

The sun, surf and sand really agreed with Joaquin. I think it's safe to say he is a Beach Baby!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Then and Now

Here we are in Playa at Christmas time in 2005 and then in of these things is not like the other?!?! One of these things just isn't the same...and we are so glad about that!

I'm kinda happy to report that Hector and I don't look too much older, right?!?!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Happy 5th Birthday Mateo!

Turning 5 is a big deal around here. It's always been my favorite number and for some reason age 5 just seems so BIG!!! Mateo turns FIVE today and we will spend the day celebrating him. With two boys over the age of 5 now, it feels like our family is about to head into a different mode. Every year our boys will grow more independent. Makes you want to take a moment and just cherish these years. Thank God I have the ability to be home with my children and savor it all...the hardest job in the world but the BEST job in the world. Thank you Hector for making this possible for our family.

Happy Birthday Mateo. We love you so much!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Changing Perspectives and Expectations

Check out this link and learn about a Spanish actor who has a degree from a University (and is pursing his second) and oh, by the way, he has Down syndrome....

The Need for Inclusive Education

A Leap of Love

Here is an article from The Washington Post about an amazing family who adopted three boys with Down syndrome after the birth of their son, Jonny, who also has DS. Their daughter, Maddy, just happened to audition for this season's American Idol and made it through! She is not only a very grounded, compassionate 16 year old girl but she has a gorgeous voice as well. Please read this article about her wonderful family!

A Leap of Love

Wordless Wednesday (Playa del Carmen)

Friday, January 8, 2010

First Stop...COBA

Coba is the tallest Mayan pyramid in the Yucatan and we all climbed it....well, everyone except for Joaquin. But he made it up about 4 steps!!

This thing was TALL and steep and VERY scary.

It took about 3 miles hiking in the jungle to get to the pyramid and the boys were all troopers.

As soon as we got there, Diego started climbing all by himself. I yelled to Hector to go after him after a German couple looked at me like I was crazy and said "Wow, he's brave." I realized then how DANGEROUS the thing was. So Hector went up after him and Mateo followed right behind.

Now, anyone who knows me also knows that I am NOT a nervous parent. I'm pretty easy going and usually remain calm even when faced with potentially dangerous situations. But this pyramid had me sweating. There I was at the base of the pyramid clinging to Joaquin in his carrier and I was literally praying out loud to God to keep the boys safe as they fearlessly climbed to the top. I was SO nervous.

But...they made it! And they made it down. Hector said it was the scariest thing he's ever done with the boys. Diego was thrilled and Mateo was totally cool with it. Mateo is usually my very cautious little guy but he really tackled the climb with absolutely no fear. Amazing!

When Diego said he wanted to go again, I said I've got to do this. I've got to tackle my fear. I have the BIGGEST fear of heights. As I climbed I didn't look up or down. I just stayed as close as possible to the rocks, keeping my center or gravity as close as possible to the stones (I must have looked ridiculous) and eventually I made it. The view from the top was worth it all...nothing but miles and miles and miles of untouched jungle. Gorgeous! I'm so glad I did it.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Mexican Holiday

We spent 12 amazing and beautiful days in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Playa is about 40 minutes south of Cancun on the Caribbean Sea...the clearest aqua blue water that you have ever seen! It was a wonderful vacation for our whole family and we were able to celebrate both Christmas and New Year's there. It was the perfect time to take Joaquin. He is the best traveler in the bunch. He spent his time crawling everywhere, standing up and cruising around different obstacles, playing in the waves and the sand and overall just LOVING the sunshine and the beach.

I plan on sharing different parts of our trip in the next few posts so I can share with you our adventure. And BOY, what an adventure it was!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Our Christmas Tree Angel

This Christmas I decided to get involved in the Christmas Angel Tree Project at Reece's Rainbow and I hope to make it an annual tradition.

I chose to sponsor Sofia. I absolutely fell in love with this little girl who is in an orphanage in the Ukraine. Her birthday is February 21, 2008. She is almost the same exact age as Joaquin. She is beautiful and I have to say that I can't stop thinking about her. I have always wanted a little girl and the name Sofia was going to be Diego's name if he had been a girl. I sent in a donation and received a beautiful porcelain ornament with her picture on it.

If and when our financial situation should change and afford us a bigger home (or at least one with two bathrooms) and just a bit more cushion to help with the additional costs, I would most definitely look into adopting a child from Reece's Rainbow. I am so inspired by my blogging friends who have adopted or are in the process of adopting from Reece's Rainbow. They know the absolute joy and honor it is to raise a child with Down syndrome. I so wish I could bring Sofia home and it pains me to think it isn't possible at this time.

Happy New Year sweet Sofia. I hope your forever family finds you as soon as possible! We send you our love and will always think of you at Christmas time when we put your ornament on our tree.