I definitely feel like Sophia has changed minds and hearts of so many in the past seven years. She is by far her biggest advocate. She shows people every day that her life matters. She fights for what she wants, and loves unconditionally. She learns by example, and passes judgement on no one. She's taught me so much by being my daughter.
Eight years ago, I didn't know anything about Down syndrome. In fact, most people with special needs made me somewhat uncomfortable to be around. I didn't know what to say or how to act. Sometimes I wasn't sure if they would be able to understand what I was saying if I talked to them, and I knew I wouldn't be able to understand them when they talked to me. It was easier to just ignore my surroundings, smile and move on. WHAT A FREAKING IDIOT I WAS! I hate admitting that before Sophia, I was such an ignorant asshole. I hate admitting that all through school and even into adulthood, I used the R-word and never gave it a second thought that I was disrespecting and devaluing a whole group of people. I just didn't know. My intentions were never mean, but I had never been educated.
Knowledge is power. The more you know about something, the more open minded you might be about it. That's why it's so important to me to educate anyone that will listen! I want my daughter to be surrounded by people who understand, and are willing to accept her for exactly who she is. Sophia is a seven year little girl, who wants to be included. She wants to feel accepted and loved. She wants people to listen to her, even when her voice is hard to understand. She wants to be respected as a person who is doing the best that she can. Sophia is very much like you.