In the afternoon, Sonia and Charlotte return home and get ready for the other kids to return from school. She also tries to have dinner ready by 1 p.m., for the kids to “grab and go” in the evening between various therapies, sports and music activities. Each of the children with Down syndrome have about eight hours of therapy every week.
“I probably have about three pages of things to get done, and might get through a quarter of a page each day,” Sonia said. “I’m never caught up, but that’s where the Lord has to keep saying, ‘I’m not asking you to complete the list. I’m just asking you to do what you need to do today.’ And the most important thing I have to do every day is love my kids.”
Though she never imagined she would have four children with Down syndrome, Sonia feels that God has blessed her family with children who are “little love machines,” she shared.
Today, Sonia and Jeff are active in helping other parents who have a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. They invite expecting parents into their home and talk openly about the challenges and joys of parenting children with Down syndrome, as well as adoption plans.
“Our goal has always been to say, ‘If you are a birth parent and you have a prenatal diagnosis, come and meet our family. Come and see what life is like,’” Sonia said. “Because there is this sort of unknown with a stigma attached, and what doctors are telling you, that makes it difficult to decide whether to parent or write an adoption plan.”
The McGarritys’ home study remains open, and Sonia has been active in various Facebook groups to let expectant mothers know that if they have a prenatal diagnosis and are considering an abortion, she is happy to parent their child.
“God has called us to spread the joy of Down syndrome adoption,” she shared.
When asked how she does it all, Sonia credits her husband, a supportive parish, great girlfriends, and good neighbors. She also makes time for frequent confession and encourages her kids to do the same.
“I have a wonderful husband,” she said about Jeff, who works as the director of music for St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Centennial, Colorado. “Everybody who knows us says we make a great team. Our new thing is that every morning when he wakes up, he comes downstairs, gives me a big hug, and he says, ‘Are you ready to do it again today?’ It reminds me that whatever comes our way, we can tackle it, we can take it, and I’m not alone.”
The family ends each day with Compline from the Liturgy of the Hours, singing the Marian antiphon and praying for forgiveness for whatever is on their hearts.
“Number one, I remind myself every day that we live in the ‘valley of tears,’ but this is not our home,” Sonia said.
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“My only job is to get myself and my kids to heaven. I just do the next thing.”