A 7-year-old California girl is touching millions of hearts with a powerful message about the value of people with special needs.
Sofia Sanchez has Down syndrome, and every year for Down Syndrome Awareness Month in October, her mother tries to find new and creative ways to educate her family and friends about the chromosomal abnormality, ABC News 7 reports.
This year, Jennifer Sanchez created a short video where she asked Sofia questions about Down syndrome. Since Sanchez posted it online, more than 6 million people have watched Sofia’s simple yet powerful comments about Down syndrome, according to the report.
“Is Down syndrome scary?” Jennifer asked in the video.
“Noooooo, it’s not scary, it’s so exciting!” Sofia replied. “I can do anything!”
Jennifer and Hector adopted Sofia from an orphanage in Ukraine when she was a toddler, according to USA Today. When they met Sofia for the first time in the orphanage, they said she was not receiving the proper care or attention that a baby needs. The Sanchezes said many of the babies in the orphanage had Down syndrome and other disabilities; some, like Sofia, had been abandoned at birth because of their special needs.
Through their adoption journey, the Sanchez family said they learned that babies who have special needs often are “not seen as a blessing but a curse.”
This discriminatory attitude is a problem across the globe. While babies like Sofia may be abandoned at birth in countries like Ukraine, unborn babies diagnosed with disabilities in the U.S. and other first world nations often are aborted. One study estimated that as many as 90 percent of unborn babies with Down syndrome are aborted.
To the Sanchezes, Sofia is a blessing – and one that they want the world to recognize. Her mother said she is an energetic 7-year-old who likes to play soccer and dance just like any other child.
“She is basically being a self-advocate for people with disability and that they have a love of life,” her mother said.