Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Little Shrines

There are a few special places throughout our home that remind us of our little girl who is coming home soon. The boys love saving all their coins and putting them in Sofia's piggy bank. Somehow having the little shoes out and the outfits and the pictures help remind us why we are all working so hard to make this happen.

Some day...very soon...there will be a little baby girl here that will fill those shoes and play with the books and toys and who will wear those adorable outfits.

So...our suitcases are out on the dining room floor and our dining room table has become a collection site for all the little things we need when we travel. We are starting to get things lined up for when we leave. We've even purchased a pink and white polka dot coat, a knit hat and warm clothes if by some WILD chance we were allowed to bring Sofia home on our first trip.

There is still so much to do and we still have some fundraising left to do (just $5,000 and we'll have met our GOAL!) and we're all a bit tired and stressed but it's all SO worth it!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Standing and Stepping

He did it!

He's standing on his own! He has taken one step from that position as well!

Walking is JUST around the corner.

We're so proud of you Joaquin and so excited for this next new stage in your development!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Just Breathe...

Sage advice from my dear friend Michelle.

I'm finding that I need to stop and breathe a lot more these days. Today our dossier was officially submitted in Sofia's home country and now the big wait begins. In about 10-14 days, we will be given our SDA (State Department of Adoptions) appointment and we will need to be in Sofia's country on that date to officially begin the adoption process. Our state side facilitator said to be prepared to travel as soon as April 12th-20th!!! Oh my...BREATHE...

There is so much to do between now and then. Not to mention, the normal day to day events of our busy household. I'm immediately feeling the guilt of having to leave our children behind for 3 weeks and then another 2 weeks after that. Of course, Mateo, our middle child, is having a HUGE Spring Celebration at his preschool on April 23rd and it's probably very likely we will be out of the country. It just KILLS me. I will make sure he is FULLY supported by his Nana and Grandpa and our close friends so he knows he is loved on that special day if we have to miss it. And I will make sure the event is well documented with photos and video. I'm tearing up right now thinking about it. BUT...we must get this process going with Sofia and it is totally out of our hands now so if her country says "Be HERE on THIS day"...we will be there.

Don't even get me started on the fact that I will be leaving Joaquin, our baby behind as well as Diego, our oldest. Joaquin won't even know what hit him. He still nurses at night. We've never been apart for more than 24 hours. He's my velcro baby. Diego, he's a big boy but he's still very sensitive and loves his hugs and kisses from mama and his nightly stories with his papa. This is going to be so hard on ALL of us. GOD BLESS my mom and dad who have volunteered to watch all the boys while we are away. They are the closest thing to us so I know our boys will be in the best hands. And we will call on our good friends and neighbors to help out here and there so even my parents can get a break. Thank you in advance to "our village". We couldn't do this without you.

But then I think of this little baby girl who has NEVER known the love of a parent or grandparent and that is the saddest thing of all. I cannot WAIT to meet her, hold her and tell her she will never be alone again. She is about to find out that an entire community of people is waiting for her to come home. Oh she is so lucky and loved! My stateside facilitator reminded me that this Mother's Day will be a very special one because Sofia will be well on her way to coming home to us! Oh what a beautiful thought.

So, for now I will just continue to BREATHE and prepare and make my lists and start packing and start gathering all the paperwork and start making the plans for our kids and the cleaning and the organizing. It will all work out and it will all be worth it in the end.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"Joaquin Funny!"

These are the words of our *almost* 2 year old neighbor Addison when you ask her to sum up our attempt at an annual St. Patrick's Day photo in front of our tree.

It was quite an effort to get all 5 kids still and smiling at the same time and little stinker that he is, Joaquin was the MOST difficult. All he wanted to do was escape and crawl down the street...his new favorite past time much to my dismay. I cannot for a SECOND keep the front door open or my escape artist is literally scurrying down the front porch steps, down the driveway and then down the street. This boy is LIGHTENING fast when he crawls. I really have never seen anything like it. He is SPEEDY!

"Joaquin Funny!"

A Magical Night

Friday night, March 19th, was our much anticipated Saving Sofia Crab Feed and Silent Auction. In eight short weeks, we were able to pull off one of the most magical nights of our lives. The evening felt so much like a wedding, baby shower, christening and birthday celebration all combined together...I will call it Sofia's Welcoming Party! The love in the room was so strong. It truly was so beautiful.

There are so many people to thank as this event could not have happened without them and I'm afraid if I started a list I would most certainly forget someone and that would be devastating. Lisa Lindsey from Genetically Enhanced who also happens to be the V.P. on the Board of Directors for DSIA was the woman behind the scenes who organized and orchestrated a perfect evening. Without her and the over 40 volunteers including all my "Sisterhood" sisters and my sister in law Jennifer, none of this could have happened. Amazing and generous friends, family and strangers helped make this event a HUGE success. And I think a really wonderful evening was shared by all that attended as well.

Drum roll please........we raised a net of $17,838.19 as of today in the Sofia Adoption Fund sponsored by DSIA!!!


Sofia, you are loved. You are wanted. You are welcomed. A very big portion of the financial aspect of bringing you home is taken care of. We are so close to reaching our fundraising goal and then we can focus all our energy in getting you here just as quickly as possible. We ALL can't wait to meet you!

Monday, March 22, 2010

So Sweet

On Saturday we attended a local community outreach and support meeting for families touched by Down syndrome sponsored by DSIA.

We left our kids downstairs for music with Music to Grow On and an art session by Maren's Art Studio while we went upstairs for a discussion session just for the parents. I have to say I was a bit nervous leaving my 3 very active and sometimes rowdy boys but when we got downstairs, the first thing I saw was this.

Joaquin had fallen asleep in the arms of J.P., a self advocate and avid golfer...and apparently a baby whisperer. It was the sweetest thing to see.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Guardian Angel

I truly believe that Sofia is being watched over by her Great Grandmother Esther, her own personal guardian angel.

Since our decision to adopt Sofia, we have been overwhelmed with the generosity and love from friends, family and complete strangers. God is ever present in this experience and we are certain that there is something larger than us at play here and we are just so happy to be on this journey.

It's so hard to describe in words but we are overwhelmed with emotion almost daily. It's so hard to imagine but we love Sofia as our own. She is our daughter and we can't wait to meet her, hold her, tell her she is loved and bring her home.

We got word this past week that we will most likely be traveling in mid to late April for our first visit. Both Hector and I will go for about 3 weeks. We will return for about 10 days and then one or both of us will return again for 10-14 days to finish up the adoption and bring Sofia home.

It is my personal hope and prayer that we will have Sofia home by late May. It will be the hardest thing we have EVER done to leave our 3 boys for that length of time here at home but we know this is something we have to do for Sofia.

We ask you all for your prayers at this time. That we continue to successfully fundraise so that there are no financial concerns and that our adoption process continues to go smooth and fast so that this precious baby girl can get the family, home and help that she needs to reach her full potential.

We are so blessed.

World Down Syndrome Day 3-21-10

Happy World Down Syndrome Day....3-21...in honor of that VERY special extra chromosome that seems to be somewhat magical.

We love you Joaquin and everything you have taught us...to appreciate the beauty in all things and to let go of the myth of perfection.

You are a GIFT!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Monday Arrival

Our dossier actually made it to Eastern Europe on Monday, March 15th! How is that for fast transit? GO DHL!!!

So...there is a slight possibility that it could be translated THIS week and submitted THIS week! Maybe the luck of the Irish will be with us and we might hear good news tomorrow. Fingers crossed!

We are really busy this week getting the Saving Sofia Crab Feed & Silent Auction ready for Friday night. I have the most wonderful friends and family EVER! We are close to selling out...we have about 150 people attending and some AMAZING auction items!

Here is a brief list of some of the highlights:

Golf for 2 at Poppy Hills at Pebble Beach

Monterey Weekend Getaway

$1300 Limited Edition "Magick" Gold, Diamond & Enamel Heart Pendant & Chain

BBQ Grill

A Full Day Room Makeover by an Interior Designer

4 Amazing Photography Sessions

Red "Harvey" Seatbelt Handbag

Mommy Makeover Basket with Teeth Whitening Service

and MANY, MANY more wonderful gift baskets, original art, jewelry, hand made items, and gift certificates!

We are overwhelmed with gratitude and can't wait for the big night! Lots to get organized between now and then. Hoping to be able to share some good news on Friday night about the progress for Sofia's adoption!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Dossier En Route!

It's official! Our dossier is en route to Sofia's home country!

It took us almost almost 7 weeks to prepare a stack of documents (worth it's 1 pound weight in GOLD) which gives us permission to adopt a foreign orphan.

This is what was included in our dossier and all of these documents had to be notarized and apostilled:

-Petition for adoption
-Petition to adopt a specific child (Sofia)
-Home study report
-Home study agency license
-Social worker's license
-I-171H form from USCIS
-Employment statement for Hector
-Proof of home ownership (from our mortgage company)
-Proof of home value (from the county assessor's office)
-Medical certificate stating Hector is healthy and free from disease, etc.
-Medical certificate stating that I am healthy and free from disease, etc.
-4 Passport copies of Hector
-4 Passport copies of me
-State police clearance on Hector
-State police clearance on me
-2 Letters of obligation
-5 Power of Attorney documents
-Copy of the medical doctor's license that performed our physicals
-2 Petitions for Interpol
-Copy of our 1040 tax form from last year

Again, all of these documents had to be notarized and THANK YOU to our friends that donated these services to us for free. I think we only had to pay a UPS notary once on a document that we needed at the last minute. Then, all of these documents needed to be apostilled at the Secretary of State Office which is conveniently located here in our hometown of Sacramento and every document listed above (all 32 pieces of paper!) had a fee of $20 per apostille...yikes! California sure knows how to stick it to you! Other states do not charge for multiple copies of the same document (which would have really saved us!) and some states even put a limit on the cost of apostille for adoption purposes (for example I think Texas doesn't charge more than $100 total for adoption dossiers).

Regardless, Sofia is worth every penny and thanks to the amazing support of our community through donations we hope to cover most of these costs!

Now the wait begins. The dossier will probably arrive on Tuesday or Wednesday in Sofia's home country. They will have to translate it and then if everything looks good, it will be submitted around March 25th. Then, after it is approved we will be given a travel date!

Sofia, we are one GIANT step closer to meeting you and bringing you home!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

In the News

We are amazed and thrilled with the local publicity and news coverage on our adoption of Sofia. Here is one of two clips so far this month that have been released. We were also featured on a local news blog. The word is spreading! Thank you especially to Lisa over at Genetically Enhanced who helped me get the press release written and forwarded to all the proper channels (literally and figuratively!). We've also gotten such a warm response from the Kidaround cover article. The Sacramento community is welcoming Sofia with open arms!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My Son Ate My Calendar!

You've all heard the excuse..."My dog ate my homework!"

Well, today I went to go grab my appointment book which I often call my Bible because it holds EVERYTHING I need to know to function on a daily basis! I found it on the floor near the dining room table and there were a few remnants of wet and chewed paper next to it.


He helped himself to two pages...this week and next week...and now I'm totally LOST!!!

I'd be freaking out if it wasn't so darn funny. Silly...and apparently hungry...boy!

Now off to figure out what I had planned and scheduled for this week and next. Yikes! Just happens to be two very important and busy weeks in our lives right now!

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Waiting...patiently...for our sweet baby girl. Here is a picture of the first dress I bought for her. She'll wear it when we baptize her. We can't wait to bring her home!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Saving Sofia Wristbands

Our friend and neighbor Stuart owns a company that makes and distributes awareness bands. He had these bands made for us to help with our fundraising. They are officially available for ANY donation amount. Let me know if you'd like one! Thank you again Stu!

Aren't they darling?!?

Monday, March 1, 2010

KidAround Magazine

Look who made the cover story...our precious Sofia! Thank you Barb at KidAround Magazine for always being a champion for Down syndrome and related stories. You are the best!

KidAround Magazine March-April Issue 2010

An Afghan of Her Own

Today is the one year anniversary of the amazing T21 Traveling Afghan project where one blanket is being shared around the world, connecting children and adults with Down syndrome from everywhere with one common blanket. We were honored to be able to have the blanket last summer and Joaquin LOVED it. You can see photos of him with the blanket here. He loved it so much that we had one made for him by CJ, the creator of the project, that he could keep.

We just confirmed that Sofia too will have an afghan of her own!!! CJ is looking for the perfect yarn for Sofia's very special blanket. We can't WAIT to get it and take it with us to meet her in "hopefully" a few short months.