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, soothed...it 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 other...partners 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.