The following is a post from blog of American World Adoption.  Posted June 6th, this is a testimony from an adoptive mother of an HIV+ child. 

HIV is Not a Death Sentence

The following testimony was sent to us by a mother who adopted her son two years ago. His name has been changed to protect his identity. Although privacy is desired, this mother is willing to be contacted if you have more questions regarding HIV adoption. Please email blog@awaa.org for more information.

"Since bringing our son “Adam” home from Ethiopia in 2009, we have often been asked by fellow AWAA families about HIV positive adoption and I always have two answers for them. HIV is not the difficult “issue” here, and secondly, “How could it not be God’s will to adopt an HIV positive/special needs child?”  I have never read a verse in the Bible where it says, “Run from the sick, don’t take care of those with special needs, and don’t do anything that is uncomfortable.”

We are the body of Christ. If it isn’t us who will bring these children into our families, then who will?

HIV is not a death sentence. HIV is a chronic, manageable condition that if treated properly is considered easier to manage than diabetes. Every three months we bring our son to see his specialist at the children’s hospital, he gets blood work, then home we go. His medications are adjusted based on his weight gain every three months and we make sure to strictly administer them twice a day. If he cuts himself we simply put on gloves and give a quick band aide. When others become curious or probe for answers that are not needed to be given, we redirect the conversation. Only our closest friends and family are aware of his status, which gives us and our son a support system in which to have total honesty. Maybe one day our son won’t mind sharing his positive status with the neighbor or random person, but for now we are going to be mindful about whom we tell. Once it is let out, he can never get that privacy back. Disclosure of his HIV positive status should be done with his best interest in mind. At the same time, we also want to emphasize that we don’t need to hide or be ashamed of this, so it is a tricky balance.

Believe it or not, that is all I have to say about HIV and that is all I tell families who call me with questions about HIV positive adoption. What I tell them next is something I hope they really take into prayer and think seriously about- the emotional, psychological, physical and spiritual needs of their adopted child. We have focused 10% on Adam’s HIV, and 90% on these other areas. Our son came home to us at only 2 ½ years old, and the trauma he experienced in those years was horrible. The nannies at the transition home were wonderful but everything he experienced in his forming years has affected him.  I have stayed home with Adam since he came home. We have worked through and continue to work through anxiety, fear of African Americans, sleeping difficulties, ADHD behavior, and Sensory Processing Disorder. We have been to occupational therapy, read books, listened to lectures, and really have been doing “therapeutic parenting” since he came home. You can’t expect to bring your child home and just say, “Ok go play, or here’s your class go to school now, or run 100 errands in one day.”  Love, safety, consistency, structure and JESUS is what our children need.

Now have we seen healing in our son? YES! God is miraculous and His Grace is sufficient. He is so faithful and has heard every one of our prayers. Our son has bonded to us amazingly and we share such an extraordinary relationship with him. We would give up our lives in an instant for him and I could say that from the moment we knew about him. His smile is contagious and we sing worship songs together all the time. He knows so many Bible verses and at times of high anxiety we will say them together. We constantly snuggle, cuddle and hug all day long. We bike, read, play, run, laugh and cry together. We love our son so much. None of the difficulty he had in his early years will stand in the way of God’s healing hand. But I think what we need to be aware of is that adoption is difficult, these children have trauma, and HIV should be the least of your worries. How will you restructure your day to meet the needs of your child, will you homeschool if needed, will you lay at night with your child for hours while they sweat in fear and cry so loud that you want to cry yourself, will you continue to pursue them when they reject you, and will you take the time needed to build their trust in you, a total stranger, but now called their parents?

You see, HIV is not the “big deal” in the adoption process. Adoption itself is the “big deal” and all of the things that go along with it. We hardly ever think about the fact that our son is HIV positive but we are reminded daily that he is a 4 year old with way more memories, worries, and fears than a 4 year old should have. So when you consider HIV positive adoption, may you spend just as much if not more time preparing your heart, home and family for meeting the needs of your child. Taking care of their HIV is probably going to be the easiest part. Adoption is Plan A for our family and I would never ask for it to be any other way. In fact, we are anticipating the referral of another HIV positive child knowing the HIV may just be the easiest part of the whole journey. Only by His Grace."


 


Comments


Your comment will be posted after it is approved.


Leave a Reply