Not my will, but your's be done.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Your Sunday Afternoon Homework

I would like to share some information about the two newest additions to our adoption. As I mentioned in my last post, we found them on the Reece's Rainbow website. All the children on Reece's Rainbow have a special need of some sort. Reece's Rainbow was orignially set up to advocate for orphans with Down syndrome, but they have expanded and now advocate for orphans with many differnt special needs. Praise the Lord! They are providing HOPE for these children for which adoption is there only hope. What an incredible thing.

Since all the children on Reece's Rainbow have a special need of some sort, that means our two new angels do too. Parker and Josslyn are both HIV+. I know that a large percentage of you who read my blog are already educated about HIV, so this isn't any kind of shocking news. But I am sure that there are a few of you, that those 3 little letters just made your head spin, as it did mine when I first learned that there were HIV+ orphans available for adoption. My first thought was, "Why in the world would anyone adopt a child with HIV?? Aren't folks with HIV sickly, and contagious, and just sitting around waiting to die?" I was very clueless. I have since educated myself, and found that I was completely ignorant on the topic all together. Before judging us, rejecting our precious children, or jumping to any conclusions, I am asking if you will please educate yourself on the topic of HIV too.

After you read the rest of this blog post, please mosey your way over to Positively Orphaned, From HIV to Home, and Project Hopeful, to find out more information about HIV. Or heck, you could just skip my post all together and go do some research for yourself. Either way is fine with me, but PLEASE do some research.

For those of you who decided to stick around, here is just a little bit of information:

-First, and possibly most importantly, HIV is NOT AIDS. For many, the term HIV is synonymous with AIDS. They are two very different things. HIV is the virus that can cause AIDS, if it is left untreated.

-Children with HIV are the same as all other kids, with the addition of daily medication to keep their immune systems strong.

-HIV is now considered a chronic but manageble disease. With treatment, people who are HIV+ can live indefinitely without developing AIDS and can live long full lives.

-HIV can NOT be spread through casual/household contact. HIV is NOT spread through hugging, kissing, shaking hands, sharing toys, sharing towels, sneezing, coughing, sharing food, sharing drinks, bathing, swimming, or any other casual way. It has been proven that HIV and AIDS can only be spread through sexual contact, birth, breastfeeding, and blood to blood contact, such as sharing needles.(Now go back to the beginning of this one and read it again. Keep re-reading it until it sinks in and dispells any fears you may have.)

-Children with HIV who receive medication live normal healthy lives. They can play sports, have sleep overs, go to camp, attend day care and public school, etc. They look like other children and play like other children. They take medicine in the morning and evening. They will have 4 or more appointments a year with a specialist that monitors their blood levels to make sure the medication is working properly.

-The biggest medical concerns for children with HIV is taking their medication and seeing the doctor every 3 months. When they get colds, bacterial infections, and viruses like other children, they can take over the counter medications or perscription medication(Neither of these interfere with there HIV meds.) There illness typically last the same length and are the same severity of non-HIV children.

-HIV+ children and adults who are on proper medication, usually have undetectable HIV. Meaning that the levels of HIV in their blood is so low that it is undetectable.

-Life expectancy is close to normal with proper treatment. Doctors claim that children with HIV can expect to live as long as any other child with a long term chronic illness, such as diabetes, although HIV is generally considered a more manageable condition.

-People who are HIV+ deserve to be treated with love, respect, support, and acceptance as all people do. If any one wants more information on tranmission, there is great information on the Center for Disease Control website.

There is a TON of other good information out there about HIV. I urge you to do your own research to set your mind at ease of any concerns you may have for us, our children, your children, or yourself. I was uneasy when I first felt God calling us in this direction. I knew nothing about HIV and I had the typical misconceptions that the majority of people who are not educated about HIV have. After educating myself, I can honestly say that I no longer have any concerns whatsoever about tranmission to my children or others. I would never do something to intentionally put Luke, Ray, or Kellen at risk of harm. We didn't jump in to this on a whim, the Lord led us to these children. We also did plenty of praying and researching before we officially committed to adopt them. We read, prayed, enlisted an awesome prayer warrior, and talked to parents who have already adopted children who are HIV+. Once again, I ask you to please take some time to do some research and educate yourselves before you jump to any conclusions.

Thank you so much for your support and excitement about our newest additions! I can't wait to get them home and watch them blossom!


Anonymous said...

Congratulations! Oh I am so excited for your family and those precious kiddos. HIV is soo not a big deal and it is sad that so many kids are waiting because of such a manageable condition. My Aunt is an HIV specialist and three of her patients left for college this year! We have come a long ways :) Congrats again,
Lauren Hubbard

Becky said...

Big smiles. Loving this post. But, really, lady... homework on a weekend?? ;P

Lisa (DanielsMommy) said...

Jessica, you may already know her, but I wanted to make sure you knew Charissa Urban and her beautiful princess Zoya. This summer, she went to adopt Joseph (with Ds) and while she was there, she fell in love with Zoya and brought her home too. Zoya is also HIV+. If you don't already know each other, I'd be happy to 'connect' you. Here is her blog...they are an amazing family and she is a great blog writer too!!

Mel said...

You KNOW how I feel about your little ones!! I LOVE them ALL!!! I can't wait to love on them when we all meet! Especially Josslyn & Parker since I didn't get a chance to love on them when I was at the orphanage. hehe Although, just try to keep me away from little Daniel.

Jessica, I am so happy for your family, and so proud of you for educating yourself (and your family). HIV+ status has nothing to do with how much you love your children, or how much they love and need their parents and family. I pray that those people in your life who have doubts will open themselves to being educated first of all, but more importantly than that, I hope they will not let it stand in the way of loving your sweet little Parker & Josslyn. They are beautiful, wonderful little people.

Love ya girlie!!

Sarah said...

A few months ago, I was curious and started doing my own research into it. I was very ignorant, and thought that adopting HIV+ would be potentially harming our bio kids. After actually educating myself about it, I realized that having HIV+ and non-HIV+ kids together, even with how much rough-housing can occur, is really not a big deal. It really opened my eyes and made me realize just how little the general public knows about this very manageable illness (which is kind of hard to even call an illness, considering how manageable it is and how healthy kids can be with it!)
I so hope that your friends and family all educate themselves so that they realize this is not anything to fear. This is a great decision and I'm so excited for the whole bunch of you!!

Michelle Z said...

I'm so excited for your family and these THREE beautiful children you are bringing home! Amazing!!

You're right, there is so much education that needs to be done about HIV+ - I learned so much from other parents this summer. I hope to return to EE again some day & adopt again.


The Stern Family said...

Love your blog. Very informative information you just posted. My hubby just left to go finish our adoption. Olivia is 3 1/2 and HIV+. I am encouraging people to also do homework. We have learned so much about HIV since the 80's! I can't wait to follow your journey!

Monica said...

How wonderful tahta you are adopting 3 beautiful kids! And I'm so glad you are being open about the HIV. So many people are ignorant and need to learn that HIV is not the death sentence it once was.

Micah said...

Maaaaan... I thought we were gonna get to think of middle names! lol
No fear here but a necessary post I suppose. Very good info!

Leanne said...

Jessica! I am so, so thrilled to see that YOU are going to be adopting thse 2 adorable ones! I remember the first time I found Reeces Rainbow and seeing these gorgeous kids - I was disappointed they had HIV - for them AND for me. How could I expose my own kids to the danger of HIV? THAT was before I started educating myself and reading actual facts and statistics, and it opened my eyes WIDE to the silly things I believed (much like MANY people believe!) - superstitions, really - about HIV. I now understand why the US and Canada opened up their borders to people with HIV. THANK the LORD for modern medicine, and how manageable HIV has become (AND virtually impossible to casually pass on). They're both gorgeous, and so fortunate to have you as their mom (and family!). Can't wait to see them come home along with Danil :) You're in my prayers!
ps: I know your email got hacked, can you email me your new address? I still need to reply to your email (about nursing and baby-wearing).

Molly said...

So excited for Lisa and Parker! We just got home with our HIV+ kiddos. Even talking to other parents with HIV+ kids and being told how it's not a big deal, I still expected it to affect us more day to day. Not at all, only time we think about it is when we do meds. Congrats!

Natalie said...


momto6kids said...

Such cutie pies!! Congratulations You guys!!! HIV is such a non-issue. Enjoy these perfect treasures that God has given you! They are precious!

mom to 8, 3 with Ds
Matthew and Michael home 12-24-10

Anonymous said...

Congratulations!!! It's amazing the strides that medicine has made with the management of HIV. We have a friend with an HIV+ child and he's healthy as can be. It's great that they'll be a part of your family and where they can get better medical care.

Rhonda Sloup

Sara Beamish said...

Wow, I'm SO happy for you guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a beautiful bunch of children to bring home to join your other beauties.

I wasn't clueless about HIV when I found RR, but there was no way that I would consider adopting an HIV+ child when I first found the site. Since then, I too have learnt so much that I didn't know. It's sad that the information is not more mainstream so that everyone can be fully educated.

These kids are children first, and they all deserve loving families of their own. I am so happy that you have been so blessed to be adding two of them to ours:)

Tracy said...

Congratulations Jessica!! Like you I did not realize the advances that had taken place in the treatment of HIV until I learned more about HIV+ adoption. I have a bloggy friend whose daughter is HIV+ and it was through her willingness to share their story that I first learned more. Praying for your journey!!

ukraine09 said...

So excited for you and the kiddos. Our HIV+ daughter has been one of the most POSITIVE blessings in our life. HIV barely affects our life - it literally takes less than 30 seconds each day for Victoria to take her medicine and that is it. If any of your family or friends wants to ask questions of someone that has a child with HIV, I'd be happy to try to answer them -


schoolmother said...

Very great news about adopting 3. I used to be so scared of the HIV label but have learned a lot in recent months about how manageable it really is. May God continue to lead and guide and provide for your family.
Joy, friend from Reece's Rainbow

Organized Chaos said...

I am so excited for you guys and all 3 of your newbies! HIV is such a manageable condition here, definitely not the life sentence it used to be and the chances of casual transmission are so low. We are so excited we will be welcoming home 2 children out of the same orphanage as yours, who both also happen to have HIV. Can't wait to get these kids home!

The Buricks said...

Woohoo!!! Parker and Josslyn are the luckiest kids ever to have you and Josh as parents. And you will be SO blessed by them. I think it is awesome that you are bringing home three!!! And HIV is so treatable now -- it's like having anything else you have to take meds for! Congratulations!!!! Three!!! Love you! :)

Rooney's Little Musings said...


I am so thrilled for you and your family! 3 beautiful children to love on!

I have loved watching your journey, and I so respect and admire how you and your husband have been willing to open yourselves to God's will.

I feel so privileged to call you friend.

Laci said...

I am so thrilled you are adding these precious children to your family! Thank you for being obediant to God's calling in your life, He is definitely blessing you guys big time! I can't wait to follow along on your journey.