“Our beautiful Sophia was born on Election Day in November of 2008. It was a big day for our country with historical changes. It would also turn out to be a big day for our family of 5 with significant life changes. I never would have imagined that not only would we have our first African-American
President, but I would also give birth to a baby girl with Down syndrome.
The initial shock of finding out Sophia had Down syndrome was probably the same for most parents with tears, pain and many unanswered questions. I felt defenseless, helpless and alone, I focused on the negative and all of the things I thought she would never be able to do. My life felt like a bad dream and it was all so heartbreaking. It was a dream I wanted to change but didn’t know how and I remember asking myself “why me” and “what did I do wrong”.
That was then, and this is now, and I don’t want to focus my Sophia’s Great Story on the negative but instead on the impact she has had on me and my family in these past wonderful almost 9 years. I look back at those days and think, if I only knew back then what I know now. Sophia is beyond perfect and a brilliant addition to our family. It is hard to put into words the joy she brings to everyone around her. Sophia can bring a smile to my face regardless of how crazy my day is or how much screaming and arguing is going on in my house. My Sophia somehow manages to do something that makes us stop fighting and remember to laugh. We don’t see Down syndrome anymore; all we see is a beautiful little princess growing up so fast. My family has learned to praise and treasure every milestone she accomplishes and we look forward to watching her grow up to be a beautiful young lady. I can only wish for her to be the best Sophia she can be.
Sophia has impacted her older siblings, in tremendous ways. Eric (18), Susana (15) and Dahlia (10) are part of a unique group that has the privilege of growing up with Down syndrome in their family. It has made them much stronger and more compassionate with the knowledge that some grown-ups will never know.
All my thoughts of what she couldn’t do have turned into “Oh my God, look what Sophia just did or said (although naughty at times)!!” Sophia has extreme energy like the energizer bunny and seems to only stop to nap and eat. She has a love for music and dancing, put on a beat, and she’s moving to it. My baby’s smile lights up a room and her kisses are just like butter.
This November 2017 Ms. Sophia will be celebrating her 9th birthday. She has been ready for the big day since the day after her 8th birthday. Every day is her birthday!!! Thank you for these amazing 9 years we cannot wait to see what the future has in store for us! I can tell you that with Sophia in our lives, there will be many years of laughter and love to come!
21 Strong has provided opportunities for my family to connect with other local families who also have children with Ds. We especially like the annual World Down Syndrome Day celebration and Parent's Night's Out events.”