Sunday, August 22, 2010

On the MOVE!

She's army crawling! She has been moving on her belly a little bit every day since coming home with us but I can officially say that she is now using belly crawling as a mode of get from Point A to Point B...and we couldn't be more thrilled! She gets up on hands and knees a lot too and rocks or lunges. I also found her sitting up in her crib this morning...she got that way all by herself!!!


Thursday, August 19, 2010


We celebrated many things with a recent trip to Disneyland and one of the BIG reasons was Sofia's homecoming! And what better way to be introduced to the USA but by going to DISNEY!

I wrote a bit more about our trip on Joaquin's blog here and I'm sad to say we don't have many more pictures. This one below, our bathing beauty, I took with my phone. We were just too busy having fun at the parks and meeting up with friends Lisa, Cheri and Denise (thank goodness they had their cameras!) and swimming at the hotel pool.

Sofia was incredible during this entire trip. Not one peep in the 8 hour car ride to LA and back and never once cried during our Disney experience (and we went two days in a row from opening to closing). In fact, I think we have a thrill seeker on our hands! We took her on the sliding car ferris wheel and everyone of us got freaked and a bit motion sick except for Sofia who was laughing out loud and flapping her arms in the air. Every single ride she just soaked in and observed. She waved at everyone and generally just enjoyed the whole experience. She's AMAZING!

Here's our favorite of the trip. Have I told you lately that Miss Sofia LOVES to eat...and she will eat anything! Check her out...all the boys are looking around at something going on and Sofia has her eye on Mateo's lollipop! That's my girl!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Down Syndrome Disney

We just returned from a quick celebration trip to Disneyland. We LOVE it there!

We have had the pleasure of going a couple times the last few years but about a little more than a year ago we took the boys (Joaquin's first trip to Disney) and we were so surprised not to see even one baby, child, teen or adult with DS our entire trip. And I was looking! I remember at the time wanting to see a familiar "face" at Disneyland.

I am happy to report that this trip was quite the opposite. So much so that by the end of the trip when we were in the lobby of our hotel and a teenage boy stopped to say hello and we saw that he too had DS, my mom and I were just laughing about it! We saw a few babies, several toddlers and kids, a TON of teenagers, and one adult woman with DS escorted by her niece. I also had the HUGE pleasure of meeting some of my SoCal sisters and blogging friends Denise, Cheri and Lisa and their amazing kiddos!

It seemed that everywhere we turned, we would see another family touched by DS. I was especially touched by one older teenage boy who was there with his family. I saw him kiss and hug his mom and grandma at least a dozen times in the 5-10 minutes I was watching them. I can totally see Joaquin being like this. He is SUCH a love bug. Then the other group that totally had us smiling was a group of about 5 teenage girls. They were there with their moms and the group of them have been friends since the girls were 2 years old and met through an Early Intervention program. They were celebrating their graduation from middle school and decided that Disneyland was the place to do that. The girls were a hoot and they loved Joaquin and Sofia. I had a great conversation with the moms too! In fact, two of the five girls were adopted by one of the moms. Amazing!

It was a LOVELY experience and so completely different from our last trip. This is how I imagined Disneyland to be...people from all backgrounds and abilities enjoying the happiest place on Earth!

By the way, Joaquin did great at Disney. His favorite by far was It's a Small World! He ADORED Mickey. Not at all afraid of him and was totally curious about his "nose", "eyes" and "ears"! Mickey spent a little extra time with our family which was really nice.

We LOVE Disneyland!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

From A Sister

This is from one of my "sisters" and I think she makes a beautiful statement about parenting a child... special needs or not. Here it is. Thank you Susan for explaining this so beautifully!

When a parent hears the news or finds out their child has a difficulty, there is always a grieving period of the loss of what they thought they had and hoped for their child.  That can come at any time.  Birth, childhood, teenage years, or adulthood.  A difficult diagnosis, death, learned addictions, handicaps, different sexual preferences, whatever comes as a big surprise and possibly affects many of the hopes and dreams you have for your child as well as their quality of life, prosperity & longevity, and/or future generations takes time grieving and support while learning how to understand your part in helping the ones you love.  We feel really grateful for this difficulty because we have learned so many wonderful lessons from our beautiful little girl who has Down syndrome.  She radiates love and in reality it didn't take long at all to see it really isn't all that difficult or different, once we understood.  The initial fear of the unknown scared us, but it wasn't hard to find hope.  We have been seeing a whole new world of possibilities and have connected to amazing and inspiring children, people, families, professionals, and friends that have broaden our understanding and have instilled in life what matters most.  It is such a blessing that such a small little child could open the doors to such a beautiful place that challenges us to want to be better.  Who reminds me all the time what's most important in this life- people, especially those you love.  All children can offer this gift because EVERY child has the potential to stretch and challenge a parent if you accept the invitation whenever they come, the key is to have faith, learn, love, laugh, and work incredibly hard to assist, mentor, and encourage & support the best out of each of them no matter what level that is and to CELEBRATE all the little miracles and wonderful achievements.  Seeing our daughter work hard for everyday life without complaining,  with consistent effort having great spirits about her task.  Well it makes us appreciate and celebrate all the wonderful little things in life we take for granted.  She has the potential to achieve pretty much everything we can with a special thanks to the opportunities in America and those who have gone before us and fought for our kids' rights and for all those who love and support and teach her now- like any other child receives.  We are very lucky living in the day and age we do.  These children are more alike than they are different.  They have a special purpose to teach us "normal" people.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Saint Sophia of Thrace

I was at my parents house this weekend and my dad and I got to talking about saints. We know that Diego, Mateo and Joaquin have a saint associated with them....the cities San Diego, San Mateo and San Joaquin were all named after saints. We wondered if there was a Saint Sophia (Sofia). We certainly don't have a city of Santa Sophia here in California so she must not be a big Latin American saint. But she certainly was somebody important since there is a giant Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine. I knew that the actual name Sofia means "wisdom" and that Sofia is a beautiful name and one of my favorite girl names but I didn't know much more. My dad disappeared for awhile upstairs to his office and a few minutes later he came down with a copy of this.

Imagine my surprise when I read the title...St. Sophia...the Mother of Orphans! My dad and I chuckled...another little sign from God. Do any of you remember this entry? And if you've read my other blog Three's A Charm or read the book Gifts 2, you'll remember this story.

I did a little more research on Saint Sophia of Thrace. She even has a fan page on Facebook! 

I found this lovely synopsis...

Sophia was born in modern-day Bulgaria, in eleventh-century Byzantium. She was known for her beauty and intelligence, and as wealth and high social standing were added to that, her life was set up for happiness. She had six children, and raised them with love.

Then, in her relative young age (her early thirties), a plague hit… and Sophia watched as her husband died, and then her children, one by one. She at first, overcome by grief, wished and prayed that she might die too. We can only imagine the depths to which such a blow would have taken her. Most of the hagiographies seem to pass over this point in relative silence, for obvious reasons. It is something indescribable, personal and somehow sacred.

Eventually, however, a new conviction was formed in her. Or rather, the divine spark in her manifested itself—being who she was, she could only truly respond to such tragedy with love. She made inquiries to local church leaders about how she could best distribute her wealth to the poor, although still keeping her house, which she transformed into a home for the unfortunate, the homeless, and, especially, the orphan. It seems that her love for children never waned after her loss, but instead seemed to grow—she legally adopted over 120 children (she did not only take care of them, love them, and raise them, but bestowed upon them legitimacy in a noble family and, therefore, unheard of opportunity for most abandoned orphans.) Like St. Juliana of Lazarevo, a Russian saint who lived centuries later, she often would go without food herself in order to meet the needs of anyone who came her way.

She became somewhat the equivalent of Mother Teresa for her day, a supreme example of a spiritual ideal. Mothers, caught up in their own troubles, could always compare themselves to Sophia and become truly humbled.

She received monastic tonsure shortly before her death, consciously giving up her life to God. She was fifty-three years old.

The one miracle which is associated with her is represented by the urn which she holds in the icon. She used it to serve wine to her children and guests, and it is said that no matter how many people were present, no matter how little wine there was available, the urn would always fill to the brim with “the best wine”—a second Cana of Galilee. And as with that first miracle of the incarnate God, it is a symbol of infinite giving, even complete self-emptying out of love. He who provided the wine would Himself become the wine of the eternal feast—in His own blood.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sofia's Perfect Heart

Sofia saw a cardiologist on Friday as we move down the list of specialists that we may or may not have to see on a regular basis. We had Sofia's heart checked out, and the ECHO and the EKG both showed that Sofia's heart is in perfect shape! Such a relief.

She was as charming as ever in the waiting room making friends, she babbled and smiled at the nurse doing her vitals and EKG and then again with the ECHO technician. The doctor was mesmerized as well by her sweet disposition.

Children with Down syndrome have a 40% chance of having heart issues and because it had been reported to us that Sofia had an open oval window we were concerned that she may fall into that percentage. Dr. Choy said Sofia beat the odds on that one. He said her heart is "perfectly normal" that she is "obviously thriving" and seems to be "very healthy." GREAT words to hear from a health professional.

Just a few more specialty appointments (ears and eyes) and we will be ready to move on with life as usual!

Here is Sofia on the exam table...such a doll baby!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Special Connection

Today we finally got to meet a very special group of girls and their moms at a water park in Folsom. These are the girls from a local bible study group that worked so hard to fundraise for Sofia earlier this year. It was a very special day and Sofia LOVED every one of them. We had a blast and I literally did not hold Sofia for 2 1/2 hours as she happily went to each and every person who wanted to hold her. She was adorable and so were these girls!

I was really blown away with the love, maturity and overall kindness of these sweet young ladies. I was in awe of them all. I can only imagine what this experience was like for them. To meet Sofia in the flesh and know that they had a part in bringing her home to us. I also wonder how it will touch their lives in the future and if this possibly planted the adoption seed in their hearts.

Here are a few pictures that were snapped by the girls! SO much fun! We can't wait to meet up with them again. I'm thinking that Sofia will have a special connection with this incredible group of girls for many years to come...I hope!

I'm BAAAAACK! Aaarrrgggghh!

Here's our little pirate again! At least we are having fun with all the cool patch designs!