Friday, October 21, 2011

Down syndrome......through a new light

I asked some of our closest family and friends to share with me how Sophia has changed their lives and their outlook on Down syndrome.  Here is what some of them said.......

***  When I see Sophia, I see a very beautiful, special little granddaughter with a beautiful smile, beautiful blue eyes and beautiful blonde hair.  Perfect in every way.  Just as I see all my grandchildren who are special in every single way.  I don't see an extra chromosome, I see a special child with special needs, as all my grandchildren, and children, have special needs.  As all children have special needs.  God gives us situations in life to build our character, not to destroy us.  It is what we do with it that matters.  It is an attitude, a choice, it is to strenghten us.  Be happy, love life, love this little gifted "star" from God.  Sophia has inspired me to be better at being myself.  Accepting myself for my own challenges in life.  Every time I think I can't do something, I think of Sophia and all the challenges she has gone through before the age of one, and I know I can do whatever I need to do.  God sends us children to teach us how to be humble, how to accept ourselves for who we are and how not to judge.  Life is a gift, and God does not make mistakes.  Sophia is everything she is meant to be, and more.      -Sophia's Nana

***  Sophia Grace changed my life forever on the day she was born.  Growing up, there were several kids with Down syndrome that went to my school.  All I knew about them was that they were in the Special Ed. classes and that they all had the same "look" about them.  I know that it sounds unbelievably naive and cold, but I am being honest.  I just didn't know any better.  I had no idea that they may have been born with holes in their hearts that would require serious, open-heart surgeries to fix.  I didn't know that many have stomach issues as well and that they sometimes need to eat via feeding tube.  I didn't know that many people with Down syndrome have hearing problems and low muscle tone.  All I knew about Down syndrome was what I could physically SEE with my eyes....the small stature and upward slanted eyes.  What I couldn't SEE about those kids in my school was that many of their symptoms of their condition are treatable, that they are incredibly sweet, loving individuals, and that they are capable of leading amazing, so-called "normal" lives.  I think that the best thing I've learned about Down syndrome is that the life expectancy has increased so dramatically since I was a kid.  People with Down syndrome can now expect to live well into their sixties.  This makes my heart so happy, because I know that Soph is going to be here with all of us for a very long time, and that she will get to have a life that is long, fulfilling, and packed with potential!  Just like everyone else :)  The only thing is, Sophia is not like everyone else.  She has the biggest heart.  And in the same ways I couldn't "see" all of the wonderful things about those other kids in school, Sophia can't "see" all of the negative things about us "normal" people.  She is so blessed for that.  And we are so blessed to have her in our lives!!!!!      -Sophia's Aunt

***  We have learned alot about Down syndrome since Sophia was born.  She has been through so much in her young life and has come out well.  We love her dearly.  We will be behind her all the way!     
-Sophia's Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa 

***  I remember when Sophia was born, the word Down syndrome didn't worry me as much as the thought of a little girl having to endure so many surgeries.  That broke my heart.  I didn't know very much about Down syndrome.  I knew that kids with Down syndrome would have different obstacles than other kids, but I did not understand the extent that those would be.  Sophia has opened my eyes to some of the challenges (surgeries) that I didn't realize is pretty common with Down syndrome.  Parents just want their kids to have a happy, healthy life.  To undergo so many surgeries at an early age always scared me for Sophia.  Through everything, she was always a trooper.  It has been a blessing to see her grow and change into a little girl.  It illustrates the fact that she is going to continue to grow and change and be a gift to society.  She has helped me see this in all kids/people, that might have a medical condition of any sort.  I can't assume anything based on looks.  I need to look at the person.      -Sophia's Uncle

***  Has it already been two years?  It's hard to remember or imagine my life without her in it!  The one thing that Sophia has taught me is unconditional love.  No matter how bad a day I have had or how overwhelmed I feel, just one hug or kiss from Lofa can make me forget about all of it.  This AMAZING little girl has had to endure more in her short two years of life then most do in a lifetime and she does it all with a smile on her face.  She is inspiring in so many ways.  When I think about Sophia I don't think of a little girl with Down syndrome, I think of a beautiful, smart, determined soul who makes me think anything is possible.  I feel very blessed to have Sophia in my life and thank God for sending this gift to us.     
-Sophia's Friend

***  I never knew much about Down syndrome until I met Sophia.  I never knew about all the complications that came along with it.  Sophia is the strongest, most special little girl I know.  It is hard to imagine that someone so little has already been through so much.  Looking at her, you would never know how many surgeries she has had, all you see when you look at her are her sweetest eyes, the prettiest smile, and how special she can make you feel.  God gave Sophia to the most amazing family and they have all changed my life with their incredible strength.      -Sophia's Friend

Sophia has touched so many lives already in her journey of life and I know that she will continue to inspire people in the years to come.  Sophia truly is a blessing sent from God, and my family is extremely grateful to have been given this amazing little girl!  Through all of the surgeries and hospital stays and doctor appointments and therapy sessions and struggles that we have gone through, I wouldn't trade one of those things for anything.  All of these things have made us the family that we are today.  Sophia has shown me so much strength and determination.  She has shown me a love and an innocence that gets bigger and bigger each and every day.  She has shown me that anything is possible, when you set your mind to it.  And most of all, Sophia has shown me a new love for God.  I have always been a believer and God has always been a part of my life, but since Sophia has come along I have felt a new connection with Him and how He truly does make ALL THINGS BEAUTIFUL!      -Sophia's Mommy

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