"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls knows that we know, and holds us responsible to ACT"...Proverbs 24:12

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Background

If you read my last post you would know that a book about AIDS in Ethiopia changed my life.  If you didn't read those statistics and figures nor learned what is NOT being done about it- go back and read it!

After reading this book I literally could not get through a day without crying.  I would start crying at the most random times too- not during some deep thought provoking alone time (because remember, I'm a mom and those times aren't allowed)

During this time I got involved with a non-profit agency called, "Project Hopeful." I became their Connecticut state representative and Im really excited about what the future holds for this!


I started looking into HIV adoptions.  Here is where I learned the TRUTH about HIV. 

 *HIV is a chronic but manageable disease.

  * Many people still mistakenly believe people can contract the HIV virus through casual contact or a family setting.

  * People are unaware that HIV has Never been transmitted in a normal household setting.

  *children with access to medicine can live a long normal life (yes including marriage and  family!)

   *I also learned that 'Stigma' is the worst thing that comes along with this disease and is usually the hardest part!

  *  Most HIV orphans never get adopted and therefore never gain access to life saving meds.

Long story short:  I became passionate about this cause, Mike really  thought I was nuts, I kept praying, Mike kept saying no, I kept praying, Mike started listening, I kept praying, Mike started asking ?'s, I kept praying, Mike said, 'let's change our homestudy to include HIV children.'

The twins do not have HIV so at first I was a bit confused on what all the above was about then.  That was a long year of praying- but Im glad we went through that conflict.  It not only is a testimony that prayer works (lets just say there was initial STRONG oppositions:) but we now have an involvement in Project Hopeful that is bringing hope to HIV orphans all over the word (you can check out the above website to see all that they do.)

But now we can see a part of the bigger picture...

The twins father passed away from AIDS shortly after the girls were born.

Their widow mother has raised them herself...not a small feat in eastern Africa.

She held on as long as she could but a few months ago she had to relinquish the girls because AIDS has taken over her health...she could no longer care for her girls.

 The roles reversed and these girls were caring for their mother...instead of school they would stay home and look after her...at 9 years old. 

This region is highly devastated by this disease and therefore there were no family members who could take in the girls. 

The twins have been living in an orphanage for the past few months, they are healthy and do not have HIV, but they are broken hearted and I would say that it's safe to say that they have seen and experienced more suffering and sorrow than most grown adults I know.

The girls have actually been 'lucky enough' to even make it into an orphanage.  Most orphanages are overcrowded and cant even take children in.  The children then take to the streets and it would not be long before the girls would have been in strong danger of prostitution for survival or sold into sex slavery.   Also most rural Ethiopian girls marry very young- some just 12 years old.  The men are usually much older.  Many girls die is childbirth because there bodies are so small from mal-nutrition.  Many girls contract HIV from their husbands.  And thus the cycle continues.

This is not a sweet- goose bumpy adoption story.  To be quite honest it's not the story we would have picked!  But in reality all adoptions stem from a loss.  In a perfect world children stay with their parents. But this is a broken world.

It is unfathomable what their birth-mother most be going through.  In Ethiopia, people with this disease are treated like lepers- they are shunned.  If God did not give us a clear understanding about this disease- who know's, maybe I would have been one of those who shunned her.

 But the Truth does set us free...and I pray that we will be able to travel to her and break that stigma- all I want to do is give that woman hugs and kisses and tell her that she is my hero.  She raised these girls on her own until she no longer could hold on.  I am going to tell her to save a nice spot in heaven for us and that her legacy will live on in her beautiful daughters lives.

Now you can see why I covet your prayers for these girls.

I lost my father when I was the girls age.  Although I believe they are experiencing a higher sense of trauma- I also know what this loss feels like as a young girl.  It is a painfully sad place that when I re-visit those days in my head- the tears can flow like it was only yesterday.  I can never forget him and always miss him.

And so as an adoptive mother to these girls- I will always know that they miss their birth mom, and that they will carry that with them for the rest of their lives.  And that's the way it should be.  Im sure we will eventually gain turf  in the girls hearts but we are more than happy to share that place with the woman who gave them life. 

  Like I mentioned in the earlier post- patents on HIV drugs and the fact that Africa is vanishing while we continue on boils my blood...now I will have 2 new daughters in my life because of this fact.  I love them already but I would give my right arm for them to have not have had to say good bye to their dying mother because she has no access to medicine. 

To me this is injustice.  This just should not be.

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