Sofia was an orphan with Down syndrome in Eastern Europe and now has a forever family.
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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Mini Update

Life is SO incredibly busy. Having four children is SO incredibly hard. The days are long and full and busy and tiring and fun and frustrating. There are moments of bliss like today....having a picnic lunch on our front lawn watching a cement mixer truck make a new pathway for our neighbors yard. Joaquin napping peacefully after a busy morning of therapy. Sofia playing with her hands and her shadow on the picnic blanket. Diego and Mateo getting along, giggling, eating their lunch happily, mesmerized by the construction project going on across the street. And then there are moments of complete CHAOS...a huge dirty diaper explosion from Sofia right before needing to get all the kids in the car to drop off the big boys to soccer camp in time. Joaquin escaping out the door after destroying every room he came in contact with on the way out the door. Diego and Mateo fighting over who is better or faster or smarter or gets to go first or gets to go last, you name it they fight it.

It's hard work being a stay at home mom to four children ages 7 and under. It's exhausting. But I signed up for this so I show up to work every day and put in my best effort. Sometimes I do a pretty good job, some days not so much. But I try to go easy on myself...this is an adjustment for me and for Hector as well as for the kids and for Sofia. We are all evolving as a family of six now.

There are days when I get in a bit of a panic about Sofia's delays. She is making incredible progress and everyone agrees she is doing so well, but I can't help but worry and fear that she has so far to go and is so far behind. What I see at her core is a girl who is smart and capable and strong and determined when she wants to be...but sometimes I also see her lethargy or apathy for things...ghosts from her past where her little spirit may have been damaged and still needs repair. An orphanage is no place for a child...especially a child with special needs.

Sofia is still in the process of having all medical related issues checked out and ruled out. We have seen her pediatrician and an endocrinologist but we still have her cardiology appointment, ENT appointment, audiology appointment and opthomology appointment. She is currently receiving 2 hours of Physical Therapy a week and 1 hour of Occupational Therapy a week and a 1/2 hour of Music Therapy. Starting next week we will add 1 hour of Speech Therapy a week and we will see an Oral Motor Therapist once a month. She is eating all sorts of different foods and textures. And she just started self feeding this week. She learned that she can hold a cracker and put it to her mouth and eat, seems so simple but she never knew this before as everything she ever ate in the orphanage came in a bottle. We are working on the straw drinking but no luck yet. It will take some diligence and effort on my part to switch over to a sippy cup but that is her next goal for feeding. She is still VERY verbal and has excellent mimicking skills. We are still working on independent sitting...she prefers to sit in a tripod. She just started army crawling as a form of transportation...maybe up to 3 feet or so to get to a toy or food. We have so many goals for her and I try not to get overwhelmed.

Most importantly she is loved and is not lacking for love. She's also a bit famous here in Sacramento. I've had strangers stop me and ask "Is that Sofia?" and I've had people stop us in doctor's offices saying they saw Sofia on TV. She has a cult following and if you meet Sofia in person you will see that she takes the job seriously. She puts on her best smiley face and will wave to the crowds. You should see her in the stroller...waves like she's on parade. She's hilarious!

Anyway, just a little update on our baby girl. She continues to grow in our hearts each and every day. I'm still getting used to saying "the kids" instead of "the boys" and it's becoming more and more real that we have a daughter now.  I hope to share more about some deeper thoughts on adoption and special needs and having a girl with DS versus having a boy as time permits and when I get a moment to really assimilate everything that has happened since the beginning of the year. I have so much more to share and talk about. Oh boy, it's been a big year for the Sanchez family. At the end of the day, we are SO blessed and SO fortunate and for that I am SO grateful.


  1. I can only imagine how busy you are- I have 3 and that's busy enough for me! As for fighting, I think Emily and Ben have been reading the same manual as your big boys!!! Good to hear it's not just mine then :)

  2. She sounds like she is doing amazingly well....better than my 3 y.o.! You are a good mom, it's obvious. Take a deep breath and remember that Sofia will be just who she is, orphanage residual or not. We are doing all of the doctors and all of the therapies, too. Stas isn't hearing us, no wonder he isn't talking, responding, etc...surprise. We just plug along and leave the rest to God. My thoughts anyway!

    Blessings....she is so darn beautiful. It has been an adjustment with an extra one around here...tiring...yes. Best to you.

  3. Sofia is amazing! And it seems that she is doing so, so well. She's really young. Try not to stress too much about her delays. You are doing all the right things. And she is coming along beautifully...she's only been home for a few months. The ghosts will recede. One step in front of the other. Don't look too far into the future...just be patient with her and with yourself! You guys are doing great!

    I hear you about the long days with so much to do. Add two teenagers to the mix and you have life over here ;). We too have those moments of chaos of calm (I think all families do), but me being on the computer was adding to the feeling of being out-of-control busy...and is why I am not actively blogging right now. The break was needed...and so helpful.

    I am working on a blog post to re-cap and bring everyone up to date on our transition home, but the first few months back in the States were incredibly exhausting for me as well (for many reasons...summertime and everyone at home included). The good news is that we are pulling out of post-adoption fog. Medicals, school evals and paperwork is beginning to slow (quite a bit)...and that makes a big difference! It gets better. Promise. Take care of yourself. Hugs to Hector and the kids. xo, Lisa

  4. I'm sure you are aware, but I just want to mention to check with the feeding specialist before moving to a sippy cup. I know we were always told to stay away from those with Courtney.
    Sounds like you are doing so great-we can't wait to meet the little princess. By the way, I think it is cute/funny that you are getting use to having to say "kids" vs. "boys". With 3 girls myself we ALWAYS refer to them as "girls"...that would certainly be an adjustment!
    And are wise not to be hard on yourself-you are doing an amazing job!

  5. Sounds like you're dealing with a LOT right now... a busy season in life. I KNOW (from experience) it is hard to find that "ahhhhhh..." moment with lots of little ones underfoot. I have my days where I know I fail miserably, and then before I know it, I am back on top of it again! Try to remember on those exhausting, frustrating days that "this too shall pass." So easy to say, so hard to do, I know! Thinking of you and praying for your "ahhhhh..." moment. God Bless You All!

  6. I recently started visiting your blog. I live outside of (but work in) Sacramento; hope to run into you and Sofia sometime! My husband and I are thinking and praying about adopting a DS child internationally, so those "deeper thoughts" you refer to??? I can't wait to hear them!
    God bless.

  7. I am one of those strangers! :) Saw you walk by a few Saturdays ago while I was chatting on my front porch. I of course recongizd Sofia right away. She's so cute, and so are the boys. It was really fun for me to meet you in person. We've prayed for your journey and love watching the way God faithfully answers. Hope to run into you someday on another neighborhood walk.

  8. LOL - I have a teen with ADHD, a 7-year-old with Aspergers and an almost 4-year-old with DS. I can honestly say there have been mornings my kids have eaten Goldfish Crackers for breakfast. Don't try to be perfect, but if you can keep 'em all alive, you're doing great! (this is meant as a joke, for all those literal minded moms out there :o)

  9. Thank you for your sweet comment! The headband is beautiful and she is so incredibly lovely. What a journey you've been on. Yes, I have met a few other mamas in the area here and we keep in touch and have met up a couple times. Such great resources to have!

  10. Don't be so hard on yourself Jen! Look at the big picture of how far she's come already and all the advances she wouldn't be making if she wasn't home with you. She's not going to go to the prom still drinking from a bottle. And when she's all grown up it won't matter if she drank from a bottle (or learned to sit independently or crawled or walked) until she was 18 months or 3 years. She'll get there in her own time. You're a great mama!

  11. Oh, Jen, I can only imagine how long your days must feel! But the years will fly by and before long, you'll be missing those adorable little faces and all the crazy cute things they do now as they transform into big kids! I know I do that already with my little girls.

    You probably already know this, but a tip I've picked up through work re: straw-drinking is to use those little plastic honey bears so you can squeeze the liquid into the mouth as the child "sips" through the opening.

    -Jenny T

  12. Sounds like you are so busy from sun up to sun down. I am sure you are doing an AMAZING job.

    Thank you for sharing with us. I love to read your updates and often wonder how you guys are doing.

  13. And don't forget those precious little kissy lips! Such a beautiful girl and so social! Joaquin sounds like John Michael right now... disaster-prone like a cyclone destroying everything in his path and then escaping. I just may have gray hair under my salon blonde!!! As for the older boys, have you ever read "You Are My Purplest"? It's a great story about 2 brothers who compete for their mom's love and she answers them perfectly and individually. I'll let you borrow it sometime.

  14. hi! just popped over from another blog i was reading and i love your story. sofia is beautiful and SO lucky to have an amazing mother and family that loves her so much. :) i'm partial to her name, i've got a sophia!

  15. Well, sounds like you are dealing with what most adoptive parents of children with special needs deal with!
    Not only are you adjusting to having an extra child (everyone in the family needs time to adjust to that!) You are adding a child with special needs, and although familiar to you, you still have one more.
    I think it took me a while to realize that with adopting Nina, although I was prepared for her special needs, living it was real, and I still have to grieve her diagnosis. Sounds weird, huh? But once i had a friend say this to me it made sense. This is quite normal! As parents, we do want the best for our kids and we want to see them grow, develop, and make progress.
    She has been with you for only a few months, and it takes time to adjust, it will also take time for Sofia to "get it". Those first months after we returned home were some of the hardest of my life. I would say you are doing this and doing it beautifully! We all have much to learn from you :)

  16. Dear Jen,
    my baby Owen is a Great Mimicker (?spelling) and a big positive of that is that he has been very easy to teach signing to.

  17. I understand what you mean, I have 4 under six and times are CRAZY... alot, but crazy is a way of life and we modify and do what we need to do to make things work for us. Our children have lots of love,good morals, etc. You and Hector are doing great as well as your little ones. Chaos is just a part of it when you have multiple little ones. I just think of it like this: one day I will be longing for these hectic days and my babies will be grown.

  18. It's a busy and trying time, having children that are so young. I have nine children, and the last six are under 10. There are some days when it's so chaotic around here that I just want to go hide in the closet. Then there are the other days that are wonderful, like the one you had with the picnic on your front lawn. The good days more than make up for the bad ones.

    You daughter is doing so amazingly well. She's such a beauty :)


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