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Embracing the Joy of Down Syndrome with the Sanchez Family

Join us as we celebrate World Down Syndrome Day by nurturing love and inclusion every step of the way!💙💛 Today, we have the honor of sharing the heartwarming journey of Jennifer Varanini (Sanchez) and her kids Sofia & Joaquin. Read on to explore and be inspired by their story!

Can you tell us about your family's journey?

We adopted our daughter Sofia about 2 years after having our 3rd biological son Joaquin who was born with Down syndrome. Sofia was abandoned at birth because she was born with Down Syndrome. She lived in an orphanage in Ukraine for the first 16 months of her life. We brought her home in summer of 2010 where she was instantly embraced by her family and community. 

What have been some of the most rewarding moments in raising Sofia and Joaquin?

Seeing the love the Sofia and Joaquin share and how each of them completes the other. It’s like they were always meant to be together. They love and support and nurture each other. Look out for each other. They are both so completely unique and different and have their own strengths and challenges but they teach us everyday how to love and forgive and care for each other.💕 

I feel so lucky to see the world through their eyes. And to also have my eyes opened to the beautiful complex and unique world of Down syndrome and disability. I am a better human because of these two in my life.


Sofia in Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes. Photo source: Sofia Sanchez

Why are important for dolls & toys to represent children like Sofia, and how does Sofia's acting role contribute to representation and inclusion?

Representation matters. 💖 Ever since my two children with DS were little I was in search of ads and commercials featuring other kids with DS. I would scour the internet for any current images of people with DS and there really wasn’t much to find. What I did find was so outdated. Facebook was just getting going and blogs were taking off so it was the beginning of much more awareness and almost a demand for representation and diversity and inclusion. I love that there are dolls and toys and books for every child to access and see themselves represented. It’s truly so beautiful.


Sofia with Paradise Galleries doll Emma

What advice do you have for parents of children with Down syndrome or those expecting a child with Down syndrome?

My advice is to build community and make connections. You are not alone. 😊 Raising children is hard work and having a child with a disability comes with a bit more challenges so building community and friendships will carry you through harder times. Look for your local or national organizations and plug into them when you are ready.

For those who JUST had a baby, enjoy your baby! Spend time bonding and loving on your new baby and don’t worry about the future. Just be in the moment. There is nothing more important that loving, cuddling, singing, connecting, playing and reading with your baby. The rest can wait. You can never get that time back so just take a deep breath and be present with your precious bundle of love. 💕


Celebrate World Down Syndrome Day with Dolls With a Purpose

Meet Noah, Emma, and GiGi!

Join us in celebrating World Down Syndrome Day. Let these precious dolls be a reminder that every individual is special and deserving of love. 😊🌈💕

Visit Dolls With A Purpose Collection
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