It's been almost 2 months since our last update. I apologize for the lack of posting! I promise to try to do it more. It's been hard because there wasn't much new going on with our adoption process. We've been on the waitlist for 4 1/2 months now, and we were stuck at the same number since we started, but since last week, we have moved up to #43! We still have a ways to go, but we are SO excited to finally see some movement! We're also very excited to see several other families in our agency group preparing to travel to go get their babies after a long, enduring wait!
Also, if you notice up at the top, our blog address has changed. It is no longer ourcalltoadoption.blogspot.com and we finally have our own domain name of www.DefendingTheCauseOfTheFatherless.com :) I'll be doing a "facelift" to the blog in the next several days as well...
As for our big update... Michael and I have been struggling, praying, and talking about whether to do this or not... We've been struggling whether we should make it known. We decided that we needed to. That it was important for us, for our family, and for our friends and family...
As you obviously know, we were adopting a "healthy" little girl or boy, age 0-2. I began to really feel lead to do more. I felt God calling us to love a child lots of families may overlook. A child with HIV. Many people don't know or understand the facts about HIV and immediately panic about the thought. Did you know that HIV canNOT be spread by sharing food or drinks, shaking hands, sharing toys, sneezing or coughing, bathing, changing diapers, swimming or any other casual way. HIV and AIDS can only be spread through sexual contact, birth, breastfeeding and blood to blood contact (such as sharing needles).- HIV is now considered a chronic but manageable disease. With treatment, people who are HIV+ can live indefinitely without developing AIDS and can live long and full lives. Did you know that in this "day and age", with medication, the HIV can be virtually undetectable in the child's bloodstream? Treatment is usually medication taken twice a day and doctors visits quarterly.
As I look back on our life, I really see how God has prepared us for this. While my kids do not have HIV, they do have medical problems (Ilana being born with a cleft palate and kidney issues and Aydan being born 9 weeks early) and we've been to more doctors appointments than the average parents, been through surgeries (and preparing for another in January), and have had to give them lots of various medications. We're used to going to Children's Hospitals, we're used to doctors, we're used to the worry, we're used to having to give it all to God. While we won't know for sure what it'll be like to have a child with HIV, we do feel like God has prepared us by allowing us to go through trials with our children (and yes, I said allowing us to. While it's been difficult, I've known all along that God would use it for His glory. That He would use it for good. And now I'm seeing the good!)
When we first decided to adopt, we knew we wanted to partner with a ministry to bring supplies with us to take to Ethiopia with us. I began googling different ministries and one of the very first ones I found was AHOPE. As I looked around their website, I began to feel like this was the one we needed to bring supplies to. I showed Michael and he decided that's who we would choose. This was months ago... I told our homeschool co-op about it, as our co-op is doing a few missions projects and this was going to be one of them. The kids were going to bring supplies for us to take with us to give to AHOPE. (You all will be able to help as well! More details later!) Some of the pictures and information from AHOPE's site would continually come to mind as the weeks went on. The more and more I thought about it, the more I began to question things... As I began to research HIV/AIDS, the more my heart broke. These children are dying alone, with no medical care and no family! When with the love of a family and simple medication, they could very easily live a normal life! But many are afraid when they hear the term HIV. I'll admit - I was, too! Until I researched in depth and the more confident I felt. I shared my heart with Michael and he was nervous and scared, too. We prayed, talked, prayed more, and listened for God to guide us.
On a Sunday evening, after listening to a sermon online together a couple weeks ago, we came up with two things that were kinda the deal breaker and told God that if this WAS His will for us, that He would open the right doors, and if it was not His will, that He would shut those doors and we'd continue with what we had originally planned. The "deal breakers"? What would it take for us to be able to adopt? Did we need to redo our homestudy? If that was the case, we'd have to also redo our I-171H form and both would have to be re-notarized, state authenticated and then authenticated in DC. We estimated that it would cost about $2000. We told God if that was the case, we weren't sure if we could afford it. Our other concern was insurance-wise. Would it be covered? Either way, Michael and I were on fire for God and His plan!
We went to bed and had a not so good night with Ilana waking up with terrible nightmares. She's always had an issue with nightmares ever since she was tiny, but they've gotten worse here and there. We've found that it occurs when big things are going to happen. It's as if Satan is trying hard to attack us, and that's the best way he can. (And these are not your average child nightmares. I won't even get into the details, but it's not just a cute silly monster in the closet.) The following day I felt horribly sick to my stomach and had an awful headache. I could barely function, but was determined to find out the information to know what God's plan was for us. As I began emailing our agency to ask about what we needed to do paperwork/home study wise, I began to feel even more sick. I quickly finished the email and clicked "Send" and had to lay down. I figured I could try calling the insurance while laying down and as I was on hold waiting for a REAL person to talk to, my head felt like it would explode so I had to hang up. Michael, was also sick at work, feeling the same way as I was. When Michael got home, we began to realize that us adopting an HIV+ child must be part of God's plan because we were most definitely being spiritually attacked (it is SO real, for those who aren't so sure about it! I know it sounds like we're nuts! :) ). As we prayed together as a couple and then as a family, Michael and I both began to feel better and Ilana slept peacefully that night...
The following day, I woke up feeling perfectly fine and at total peace on whatever God would make happen that day. I got a response back from our agency, saying that in our homestudy, it would need to say we were approved for special needs and then the I-171H would have to say that we qualify for special needs as well. She had looked at our documents and amazingly, our home study case worker had written that we were approved for special needs, which then made the US Government put on our I-171H that we were approved for special needs. God knew months ago that He would change our hearts to adopt a child with HIV and made it possible from the start. Without us even knowing!!
While on a high, I called the insurance agency. Not only would it be covered by the insurance our kids are already on, but there's an actual program through the insurance that is specifically for HIV+ children. With not only medical care, but counseling, peer groups, etc. How was that NOT an answer to prayer? How was that NOT God saying "Here you go. I've opened the doors wide! Step on through with your eyes wide open to what I have in store for you."
I called Michael and told him what all was said and he said "There's our answers. Tell Angie (our caseworker with our adoption agency) to put us on the list for HIV+."
So... We are officially on the list to adopt an HIV+ child. We could still get a child without HIV, if one become available before one with HIV does, but either way, we know God's plan and we will trust it 100%. We are prepared for people to not be okay with it (we've had that from the beginning, just because we're adopting) and we're prepared for people to have questions (please feel free to ask! We're open to ANY questions!) and we're prepared for people to feel uncomfortable about the idea. God's Word has prepared us for persecution, and we're okay with it. We know that ultimately -- we're living for an audience of One. That God's opinion is truly the only one that matters.
I will explain in another post soon about the reason why we've decided to make it known. Some people may disagree with this decision and feel like we should let our child decide when and who to tell. Disclosing it is not for every family adopting an HIV+ child, but for us, it was. More on that later as this is getting long. Just continue praying for us and praying for our child!
A very special thank you to everyone who has supported us all along the way! We appreciate your love, support, prayers, and kind words SO much!