October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Every year, it’s a month when Jennifer Sanchez tries to raise awareness about the condition on behalf of her children, Joaquin, 8, and Sofia, 7, both of whom have the disorder.
But this year, it’s Sofia who’s taking over that responsibility, thanks to a video her mom shot of her.
“Little miss, do you have Down syndrome?” Jennifer asks Sofia in the phone-shot video.
“Yes, I do have Down syndrome,” she replies. Sofia explains that Down syndrome is “in your blood,” to which her mom responds, “Does it make your blood special?”
“Yeah!” Sofia exclaims. “Is Down syndrome scary?” Jennifer then asks, and Sofia excitedly motions with her hands while responding, “No, it’s not scary! It’s so exciting!”
Jennifer posted their short conversation on Facebook, where it quickly spread.
“I’ve read message after message saying, ‘It’s so inspiring to hear about someone who loves themselves so much,’” Sanchez told CBS News. “I realized that I don’t think people hear enough from people with the disability describe just how great they feel about themselves.”
Sofia is extra special to the Sanchez family for another reason. After Joaquin, Jennifer’s third son, was born with Down syndrome, she said her family started donating to the Reece’s Rainbow Down Syndrome Adoption Grant Foundation, which helps place orphans with Down syndrome and other special needs by organizing adoption grant funds.
The image of one child they sponsored, a Ukrainian girl with Down syndrome, stayed with Jennifer long after they made their donation. “Why don’t we just adopt her?” Jennifer finally asked her husband.
He agreed, and at 16 months old, Sofia became part of the Sanchez family. Years later, Jennifer says she “can’t imagine my life without her,” gushing over Sofia’s energy and desire to speak up for “her people,” as she puts it. Sofia “loves her life and she loves herself,” Jennifer shared.