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Encouraging your HIV adoption

22 Jan

I just want to encourage anyone contemplating on adopting an HIV child. Our daughter has been home nearly a year and just turned 6. We have been fortunate to have a very healthy girl who contracted HIV from her mother during childbirth. We have had NO medical issues with her whatsoever and have her blood tested every three months. Her CD4 count is 620 and her viral load had plummeted to 7500. These numbers go up and down with every appointment. Each HIV specialist has their own idea of when it’s time to get them on medication. Our doctor feels she is extremely healthy, so there is no need to start HIV meds. We have 5 other children- all of whom have been educated about HIV and do not feel threatened by their sister’s condition. Honestly, it makes those who know our beautiful, sweet daughter love her more!


Living easy with HIV

23 Sep

I must echo the same message that HIV has not been a big deal to our family at all!!  Our daughter just started kindergarten this fall.  I told the school district, principal, nurse, and teacher.  They have welcomed Olivia with open arms and have told us how happy they are to have her in their school.  Our church, friends, and family have reacted the same way.  We were ready for people to reject her because of her HIV status.  I think it makes everyone who KNOWS when they meet her- LOVE HER MORE.  They know what a special miracle she is.  Her teacher said that Olivia is one of the brightest students in her kindergarten class.  Imagine that…after only living in America 6 mths!

We don’t think about her having HIV on a daily basis, since her blood is still in a healthy range,  not requiring medication.  We had a incident at our home last week where she got hit in the nose while on the trampoline.  Her face and dress were covered in blood by the time I got there.  Without gloves, I carefully lifted her off the trampoline and took her into the house.  Did I get blood on my hands?  Yes.  Am I concerned that there’s a possibility that I might have gotten infected.  Not a chance!  (read earlier posts on how this is transmitted)

We are having the time of our lives with our two daughters from Ethiopia.  We’re so thankful that we educated ourselves and realized that it’s not a big deal to adopt a precious HIV child!

The Good Samaritan

23 May

Last week after church my daughter fell on the sidewalk and skinned her knee.  It was one of those awkward moments when I didn’t have my purse (toolbox) with me.  I squatted down, sitting her on my lap and pulled out an old wadded up tissue that I had stuffed in my pocket.  She was crying loudly and no one stopped, although the sidewalk was full of people visiting after church.  I tried to calculate in my mind how long this tissue was going to last before it gave way and whether the cut would clot before that happened. 

A young mother of two was in her car ready to leave, but she saw my distressed look and brought out a first aid kit from her car.  I don’t know this woman very well as she always sits in the back of the church.  She knelt down beside me and started opening up a bandaid.  I told her that my daughter was HIV+ and thanked her for her help.  The young mother asked me if I was nervous living with an HIV child.  I laughed and told her no, except when I’m caught in a moment like this!  She quietly said that her brother was also HIV+ and that his medication was expensive each month.  I’m sure this was the first time she had ever shared with anyone that her brother was gay.  It was really quite a moment that we could both relate to the same secret we both lived with.  I’m amazed that of all the do-good church people that this young lady reached out to me in my time of need.  Now that’s Jesus to me.

Tell me more about HIV

26 Apr

The following information was a handout from

Tell me a bit more about HIV….

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV makes copies of its own genetic material inside human Tcells.

It then uses the T-cells to make more of the virus. This process destroys the healthy t-cells, destroying the immune system. If left untreated, HIV can progress and develop into AIDS.

AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, and occurs when HIV advances and weakens the immune system to the point that the body can no longer fight off illness and infections.

HIV is not AIDS. AIDS can develop as a result of HIV infection.
While there is currently no cure for HIV or AIDS, the medications that are now available to treat HIV are highly effective.

HIV is now considered a chronic illness, rather than a terminal disease. HIV+ individuals who are receiving treatment can live indefinitely without developing AIDS.

People who are HIV+ have an excellent prognosis (where treatment is available) and studies now show that they can have close to normal life expectancies. HIV+ children can grow up, go to college, get married, have babies, and have every chance of living a long and happy life!

On treatment, the amount of HIV can be brought so low in a person’s blood that it is considered “undetectable. ” HIV is not an airborne or food-borne virus and dies quickly outside the body.

HIV can only be spread through pregnancy and birth; breastmilk; sexual activity that mixes bodily fluids such as blood, semen, and vaginal fluid; and through blood to blood contact (such as sharing needles).

HIV+ children are not a risk to people around them, as HIV cannot be spread through casual contact. HIV is not spread through hugs, shaking hands, holding hands, coughing, sneezing, changing diapers, sharing or preparing food, sharing utensils or dishes, kissing, sharing office or classroom space, mosquito bites, bathing, swimming or any other casual way. HIV is not transmitted through urine, stool, mucous, tears or sweat.

There are no documented cases of HIV being transmitted in a school setting, childcare setting, or through normal household contact in the home.

With the amazing advances in treatment for HIV, many families find that their primary concern has been the fear and stigma that still accompany the disease.

You can change this by learning more and by sharing what you know!

An individual’s HIV status is protected by confidentiality laws. For more information on transmission, see the Center for Disease Control website at http://www.cdc. gov/hiv/resource s/factsheets/ transmission. htm

It’s Not About You

26 Apr

When I look in the rearview mirror, I realize that the biggest risks were the greatest opportunities. Those were the moments that I came alive. Those were the moments when God set the stage and changed the trajectory of my life.

A year ago we didn’t set out to adopt an HIV positive child.  We were only thinking HEALTHY INFANT.  I didn’t want to deal with any “issues”, so I figured this was the safest route.  When our family was getting shots at Public Health for our trip to Ethiopia, the nurse said, “If you get referred an HIV child, don’t worry about it, I’ll help you get through it.”  I thought that was an odd comment, but it stuck with me.  Shortly after we had sent our dossier to Ethiopia I ran across the cutest little sisters on the Waiting Child List.  The older sister was HIV positive.  I felt like these girls could possibly be for us, but there were a few things that didn’t match up with MY PLANS.  They weren’t infants, one had a disease, and there were two of them!  His ways are higher than our ways and his plans are not our plans.  I went back to the core reasons why I set out on this adoption journey to begin with.  I knew I wanted to LIVE out the gospel for my children to see.  And I remembered that THIS WASN’T ABOUT ME! 

I talked to three families who had adopted HIV positive kids, including a pediatrician and pharmacist.  They all said basically the same thing.  It’s a managable disease and HIV was the least of their concerns.  I’m so thankful that they were a resource and source of encouragement for me.  Our newly adopted girls are a total joy for our family!!  HIV is not something I think about on a daily basis because our daughter does not require medication at this time.

I’m so grateful that I didn’t miss this opportunity to adopt these precious girls.  I’m thankful that I didn’t let fear steal my joy.  And I admire all you mothers who LIVE out the gospel everyday with courage and calling.


24 Apr

I had never heard of the highly contagious virus called molluscum until I went to Africa.  There is no cure for it, but there are homeopathic remedies of one kind or another.  Many children we saw in Ethiopia had molluscum on their skin (faces).  They look like worts and are VERY hard to get rid of, but go away over the course of childhood.  Many parents have had the dermatologist scrape them off which makes the molluscum 10x worse.  Our daughter  had three of them on her foot.  They bothered her when wearing certain shoes.  I’m not a doctor, but I play one at home.  I tried the squeeze method which swelled up her entire foot.  I decided to buy “snake oil” medicine off the internet called Zymaderm.  I’ve put it on 2x a day for exactly one month.  I’ve seen a huge improvement in the size of the virus!

It does dry out the surrounding skin.  I’m still using it on her toes.
Our friend, Zymaderm!  It doesn’t burn or hurt in anyway.  And our daughter is ALL SMILES about her foot!