Sunday, February 28, 2010

NDSC Poster Campaign

To cast a vote for Joaquin, go to the NDSC website and scroll down the first paragraph where it says "To pick a poster..." and pick poster #199 if you love Joaquin's! You can also vote for his baby sister Sofia by picking her poster #200!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sofia's Heart

One of the only pieces of medical information we have on Sofia, besides her diagnosis of Down syndrome, is that she has a "small open oval window and no other heart disease." Unfortunately medical information is often unreliable when dealing with orphans and international adoption so we won't know until she is home and thoroughly examined by a cardiologist how accurate this information is. We hope that this is indeed the case, for her sake and that there is nothing more serious going on with her heart. In the meantime, I needed to do a little research on what an "open oval window" means for her cardiovascular health.

An "oval window" is also a PFO (patent= open and foramen ovale=passage way used in utero to reroute blood and bypass the lungs). It generally closes within 48 hours after birth and in 75% of the cases at least by age 3. A PFO is small and if it needs to be closed it's always a cath lab procedure. 25% of the adult population has a PFO and most don't even know it. Risk factors to having this stay open includes the possibility of blood clots forming in the opening and causing strokes.

Joaquin does not have any medical issues related to his heart so this is one area that will be completely new for us as a family. We feel confident that we will be able to get the very best care for Sofia once she's home with us. Thank goodness for our healthcare here in the States. It may not be perfect but it's certainly better than most of the rest of the world.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Happy 1st Birthday Sofia!

We promise you that this is your FIRST and LAST birthday spent alone. We hope your day is good and that someone in the orphanage loves all over you. If not, know that we are sending you our love and we will make up for this missed 1st birthday for the rest of your life. We love you! We give you the gift of a FOREVER family this year and we are working as hard as we can to bring you home AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!

Our birthday cake for you....

All three of your brothers took time to sing and blow out your candle for you. Each made a wish. Diego's wish is that you come home soon to us. Mateo's wish is that you are here for your next birthday. And Joaquin's wish was a grin from ear to ear and a "bravo" clapping session!

Happy Birthday Sweet Sofia!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

"R" Word Speech You Don't Want to Miss

Kevin's R Word Speech

A fellow blogger and friend Lisa at Finnian's Journey recently posted this very touching speech by her oldest son Kevin (13) who plans on presenting it to his student body and their families. I'm so very proud of him and can only HOPE my two oldest boys will follow in Kevin's footsteps and be an advocate for their little brother (and soon to be baby sister) some day.

Mountain Girl Silver (Feb. 21st- Feb. 28th)

My dear friend Erika at Mountain Girl Silver makes some of the most amazing and wearable sterling silver jewelry. All of her jewelry is hand stamped with love! Erika is GENEROUSLY donating 10% of her online sales to the Saving Sofia Adoption Fund on the day of Sofia's birthday and the week following. Feb 21st - Feb. 28th.

I wear my disk necklace around my neck almost EVERY day. It is part of my mommy uniform!

Please go check out her website, her jewelry, her hilarious blog and enjoy! These make AMAZING gifts for girlfriends, new moms, grandmas, etc. I especially love the new La Vintage charms. There is even stuff for Daddy's!

Another wonderful opportunity to go shopping and help out our baby Sofia. Thank you Erika for making Sofia's 1st Birthday so special!

Click here to shop at the Mountain Girl Silver Store

Friday, February 19, 2010

From One Adoptive Mom to Another

In the few weeks that Hector and I took to decide whether or not to adopt and then the few days we took to officially announce the news, I had a secret supporter in a fellow blogger, author and friend. Lisa Peele has always been one of those people that I have just been drawn to. I love her energy, her true love of humanity and of course her beautiful daughter Bridget. Lisa just happens to be about a month ahead of me in the process of adopting her sweet Alina. Whenever I had any doubts about Sofia and the adoption process, I knew exactly who to turn to. Here is one of her many inspirational emails she sent to me and with her permission I wanted to share it on my blog. Here are her words to me in the days leading up to telling my parent's about our decision to adopt Sofia....


My Yogi tea message today:

Mantras you shouldn’t say: I don’t know; I’m not ready; I can’t do it.

With that said, Love never takes away…it only adds J. You are more than prepared to raise and love all three boys and Sofia. You already have such a handle on not only Down syndrome, but also on what it means in general to raise a happy and healthy family. Plus, you are very well networked in both the Ds and adoption communities already. It might help your parents to know that you are going into this with your eyes open, and have plenty of resources should you need guidance or help of any kind.

I know my parents initially thought, “How on earth will they manage?”…but they are completely on board and excited for Alina to come home. Chris travels quite a bit, and with five children all going different directions, I really need to clone myself. I am committed to asking for help when I need it, and for being creative coming up with ways to alleviate stress and keep a happy environment at home.

Sofia and Joaquin will be great for one another. They will have a connection and a companionship that will be a gift for both of them, and for your whole family. Peer relationships with other people with Down syndrome are very important for our kids. Having a sibling with the same diagnosis will benefit both Joaquin and Sofia!

Having two children with Ds extends your advocacy reach as well. You have dipped your foot into the water of advocacy these past two years already, and now you are going to be fully submerged J. Think of all the good you will do.

We are advocates for our children, for Ds and now for international adoption. We are also advocates of LIFE & LOVE. Showing acceptance, compassion, and hope—while saving the life of a precious child—is a good thing. Don’t ever believe otherwise.

Thank you Lisa for your guidance, love and support. You were instrumental in giving me the courage to make this giant leap of faith. My family and Sofia will be forever grateful to you.

I love Dan!

If you haven't "met" Dan, you need to go check him out on his brother's blog titled Dan Drinker. This post and this post are just two of many posts that I seriously get the biggest chuckle over. I cannot wait to "get to know" Joaquin as a young adult (although I'm totally savoring his babyhood!) I have to think that based on Joaquin's personality now that he just might have a similar sense of humor.

I adore you Dan!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Heroes Among Us

Reece's Rainbow founder Andrea Roberts will be featured in this week's People Magazine, in a section called "Heroes Among Us". The edition will be available Friday, February 19th. This is a wonderful opportunity for others to learn about Andrea and all she is doing through Reece's Rainbow--and to get the word out about the plight of orphans with special needs in Eastern Europe. Please check it out!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My Custom Story (Feb. 15th- Feb. 21st)

My Custom Story offers 4 x 5 inch custom photo board books with laminated pages to protect the photos from drool! You can choose from 17 storylines or write your own. They make great gifts for birthdays, Christmas, baby showers, and Father's Day! In honor of the week before Sofia's 1st birthday (February 15th - 21st), My Custom Story will donate 100% (YES, you saw that right 100%!!!) of the profits to Sofia's adoption fund.

My Custom Story's Blog also shows different ideas for photo books. We have three very special books that were made by Mary Ellen and I have to say they are our FAVORITE books in the house. These books make amazing gifts too.

So...PLEASE check out the website and order one for yourself. My good friend and owner of My Custom Story, Mary Ellen, will help create a book for you as well if you want to give her the pictures you want to use and a general story line so if you are feeling writer's block just use one of her templates. You can also buy gift certificates and give those as gifts or buy a couple for yourself this week and then it gives you time to come back and make the book later but still help us all out.

We absolutely LOVE our "Sofia's Family" book and we take it everywhere we go. All our boys love to read the book but especially Joaquin who loves to flip through the pages and when he gets to the final page and back of the book, he signs "baby" when he looks at Sofia's picture. It is quite possibly the cutest thing I've ever seen him do. We plan on taking this book (and maybe a few more with pictures of our home and her room) to Sofia on our first trip to meet her in a few months and we will leave it with her until we return to pick her up so that she will have her family close to her. We also plan on taking a bunch of pictures in Sofia's home country when we visit so we can make a book for her to remember that as well when she is home with us. So you can bet I'll be buying a few books of my own this week!

Thank you so much Mary Ellen for this completely GENEROUS gift to Sofia on her birthday week. We love you! And PLEASE...go shopping right now over at My Custom Story!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Koukla Kids

Our local children's boutique here in East Sacramento has generously offered 20% of their sales to benefit the Saving Sofia Adoption Fund this Friday and Saturday, February 12 & 13. I will also be working there this Friday so I'd love to see you! If you live in Sacramento, please consider shopping at Koukla Kids located at 3809 J Street right next to Starbucks and stock up on baby shower gifts, birthday gifts, Valentine's gifts, Easter gifts, etc. etc. You will love this store and we are SO VERY GRATEFUL to owners Toria and Kathryn for supporting us this way.

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Sofia Collection at Stella Dot

Have you ever heard of Stella Dot? If not, you HAVE to check it out!

If you type in Sofia in the seach bar, you will see some gorgeous jewelry! My cousin (in law) Traci has generously offered to donate 1/2 her commission on any of the "Sofia" jewelry collection toward Sofia's adoption.

Please consider doing some Valentine's Day shopping for yourself or a loved one and help our baby out at the same time!

Here is the main link:
Stella Dot Jewelry

If anyone orders ANYTHING SOFIA though Traci's website, she will put Sofia's portion aside. You don't have to do anything special, just shop! It takes 3 business days and you will have your jewelry on your doorstep. Everything is hand made couture! As an added bonus, if you type in "Jennifer Sanchez" at the "find your hostess" link at the upper right corner of the website, you can join in on my VIRTUAL Stella Dot Party! Happy Shopping!

Thank you so much Traci! I can't WAIT to wear my new Sofia Cluster Bracelet and Ring and to give it to Sofia someday when she grows up.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Birth Story

I stumbled upon a birth story that may quite possibly be the MOST beautiful thing I have ever read. I feel like I was a witness to this birth the way she so accurately and intimately describes it. Maybe it's because her story resonates so deeply with my own story.

Get ready to be completely moved by this....Nella Cordelia

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Saving Sofia Crab Feed & Silent Auction- SAVE THE DATE!

Please contact me via email or phone if you would like to reserve a ticket and arrange payment ( or (650)839-1279). I will either hand deliver the ticket or mail it to you. I promise this will be a FABULOUS event...and YUMMY too! We have some amazing silent auction items as well. FUN FUN FUN!

Thank you to the "Sisterhood" for putting this event together and thank you to everyone at CustomerLink (Hector's employer) for donating your time and resources to make this gorgeous ticket.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Turning Two

How is it that my baby boy is 2 today?

What an amazing two years it has been. I love this little boy so much it hurts.

Happy Birthday Joaquin! We adore you.

Monday, February 1, 2010

She's a BABY!

I just got word today from Andrea, the Director of Reece's Rainbow, that Sofia's birth year was noted incorrectly on the website. Her birthday is February 21st but she wasn't born in 2008....but 2009!!!

She's turning ONE year old later this month. She's a BABY!!!

Of course my initial reaction upon reading Andrea's email was a bit of SHOCK but I quickly realized that we were just given another gift. The gift of an entire year.

One less year in an institution. One more year for early intervention services when she comes home to us. One less year of abandonment. One more year of love, attention, hugs and kisses from her family here at home.

Although she will celebrate her first birthday in an orphanage, this will be a VERY special birthday for her and for us! Even though she is half way across the globe from us, we will send her our love. She will have the greatest gift of that so many of us take for granted...a family.

She will definitely be the BABY in the family now with three older brothers to watch after her.

We're so happy!

We also got a few more pictures of her today. These are like GOLD to us!