Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Recap

This past year had a lot of high highs and some low points too. Here's a month by month:

January
-This was an agonizing month as we waited for court news in Ethiopia.
-We celebrated the wedding of some dear friends, the Sommers.
-We went to the Passion Conference with our college students.


February
-We went to the Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville (more keeping busy!).
-Held a yard sale for our adoption and had a baby shower!
-Finally having court news, we were busy packing for ET!
-Celebrated our 3rd anniversary with a cute dinner where Will got our college students to serve us dinner & set up our wedding video on a big screen.

March
-We went to Ethiopia and met our son! We passed court!
-Left our son in Ethiopia, probably the worst moment of my life.
-Will was ordained.
-I went to the Created for Care retreat (side note: can't wait to go back this January!)

April
-Tried to keep busy as we waited on Embassy news.
-Went to Carowinds for my birthday.
-Finally got embassy clearance, so we started packing for ET again!
-Went on one last date to the Atlanta Braves!


May
-Returned to ET, Israel Biruk was in our arms forever.
-Came home, celebrated with friends and entered the "cocoon".
-Didn't get any sleep for the next four months, but we had a cute kid who made it ok.

June
-Started to venture out with Israel and introduced him to family.
-Still no sleeping, starting to feel a little isolated!
-I went with a college student to watch another one of our students in the Miss Alabama pageant!

July
-Spent a lot of time playing outside and at the pool!
-Israel started physical therapy- Israel started sitting up.
-Got first family photos taken!

August
-Went to NC for Will's school, got to see our friends from Raleigh. During our trip Israel had febrile seizures and was admitted to a Children's Hospital. 


September
-With college students being back in town, we were busy busy!
-Lots of playing and physical therapy for Israel.

October
-Celebrated Israel's birthday with family.
-Went to a wedding for our friends from college.
-First family vacation! Went to Georgia. 

November
 -Israel got glasses.
-Went on our first date with a non-family member babysitting Israel.
-Will and I took a special trip to talk about our future.
-Spent the Thanksgiving holiday with Will's family.

December
-Had lots of Christmas adventures!


Overall, a lot of this last year was a blur and it almost seemed impossible to say what we DID each month. It just went so fast. The day to day life isn't necessarily eventful or blogworthy, but the big picture has been one of grace and blessing. There was a lot of pain in the last year- from waiting to have our son, to dealing with adjustment when he came home. We're so glad that Israel's little heart seems to be healing from all of his transitions. For myself, this last year was probably the loneliest I've ever experienced. I'm not sure if it is just being a full time SAHM or pastor's wife? I'm hoping this next year brings deep community and that I can have contentment either way.

Looking ahead, I hope this next year is marked with lots of developmental milestones for Israel. I anticipate more therapies and intentional activities in our daily life. I hope that our home life provides a great environment for Will to thrive in his ministry and school. I hope that I can set and reach some personal goals that give me some achievement and purpose. Also, I hope that I become a better mother and wife. So much growth is needed in my heart!

What about you? Any big themes from the last year? Hopes for the next?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Recap

I love December. I love the anticipation of Advent and the general cheer that everyone has. I love the decorations and movies and parties.

Here are a few of our Christmas activities:

  • Scottsboro Christmas Play- This was our second year to visit Will's parents' church to watch their annual Christmas Dinner Theater. This year was extra special because my father in law WROTE and directed the play! It was awesome! We were so thankful to get the opportunity to go. 

  • Meeting Santa- We didn't do any "santa" in our house this year, but there were two photo opportunities for Israel to meet Santa, and I was shocked that Israel did so well on his lap. No tears at all! 
  • Christmas Parade- this was technically at the end of November, but our little small town had a cute parade, complete with Shriners and a Confederate Soldier group (what??). Israel loved the lights and the bands!

  •  College Christmas Parties- My husband is a college pastor at our church, and we hosted quite a few gatherings! Israel made appearances at several of them, and even matched his daddy once. 

  •  Classic Christmas Movies- this year we watched "the Nativity Story" with our small group, "It's a Wonderful Life" with some of our college couples, and "Home Alone" outside via projector during our college Christmas party. It was fun to share those movies with friends. 
  • McGee Christmas- Will's family came down to our house the Saturday before Christmas, when we exchanged gifts and ate a ton! My favorite part was watching our niece Lottie and Israel play together. Can't wait to meet our newest niece this spring- it is going to be even more fun next year with more kids!

  • Christmas Eve Service- this is a tradition I love, because my family always participated in Christmas Eve services growing up (my dad is a pastor). This year I participated in the handbell choir! Israel sat with us in the pew with us and even let out some of his own musical notes during the service (he's rarely quiet!). 

  • Christmas in Opelika- after the service on Christmas Eve we drove to Opelika, my hometown, and stayed two days with my family. My sister and her family came down on Christmas night, and we had a great time celebrating Jesus with our family! We also had separate girls and boys outings to see Les Miserables (which was amazing). It was a full house with lots of excitement, and we were exhausted by the time we drove home, ha!  
  • Christmas Sickness- ok this is not a fun update, but we spent a good bit of December under the weather! In fact, we're still not 100%. Between teething, stomach bugs, ear infections, head colds, and carsickness, we have had our share of yucky moments. I must say that the strongest one of the bunch is definitely my husband! He has shown such sacrificial service even when he hasn't been feeling good himself. I don't know what I would do without him.
  • The gifts- Israel was given SO much for Christmas! Our family was so generous to spoil him (and us!) that Will and I haven't even given Israel his three gifts from us yet. We decided to just wait until Ethiopian Christmas (Melkam Gena) which is on January 7th!
How was your Christmas Holiday?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Elizabeth Allison... home for Christmas!

One of the beautiful things about our church in Raleigh was the broad adoptive community. One amazing couple was Catherine & Matt Allison. They began the adoption process for a son from Rwanda at the same time as we started our Ethiopian adoption. If I listed all of the hurdles that they endured over their three year journey to their child (who ended up being a daughter from the Congo!) you wouldn't believe it. They remained faithful in their calling to adopt despite setbacks and set the bar for most you can endure and still want to adopt, ha. Their testimony is humbling and encouraging!

For a more detailed view of their story, check out this post with a summary from one of the pastors at our former church.

A friend of theirs did a video project of their final weeks prior to Elizabeth's arrival. This is such a beautiful tribute to their family and God's grace. Check it out, and keep some tissues handy.


Take Me Home from UNC | Carolina Photojournalism on Vimeo.

If you are in the adoption process and are at all overwhelmed that things don't seem to be in your favor or that ever door isn't opening smoothly- trust in God's faithfulness! 

Love you guys, Allison family! Celebrating with you from afar that your daughter is finally home!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Inconveniences of Motherhood

I'm pretty sure the roughest part of transitioning to motherhood has been the reality of selflessness that it requires. Well, lack of sleep comes in a close second, but overall selfishness probably covers that too, ha.

The past few weeks have been a reality check into my sin nature. Israel has not been easy lately. He has been super fussy while experiencing some awful teething. He has not napped well, and he has made me wish for naptime or bedtime more than I would like to admit. Additionally, Christmastime has lots of events and activities that are at night and we have had to figure out how we can keep Israel up past bedtime or what to do with him so we can attend events. The strain of his developmental needs has been exhausting me, and sometimes the days are so long that I wish I had some place to escape to!

Then there's church. We are finally starting to leave Israel for small periods of time in the nursery so I can participate in worship without distractions. There has only been one successful attempt, and this past Sunday we were "kicked out" (I say jokingly) of nursery AND the service because he couldn't be happy/quiet in either place. I finally just went home with him and felt that it had almost been a waste of a Sunday because I wasn't even really there mentally.

So, have you joined in my pity party yet? You buying in to my selfishness? Want to give me a break? :)

Well... then the shooting in Connecticut happened. And every mother held her babies tighter and realized the brevity of life and the impact that a broken world has on our safety net for our kids. And then, I read a blog post of an adoption mama friend who has waited 27 months to see her daughter's face. And I realized, that my selfishness needed to take a back seat, and gratitude needed to replace it.

What a joy it is to have a child at all. What a blessing that my son now lives in a country and home that provides access for care for his special needs. What a gift that we have events to be invited to, people to love and spend the holidays with. What a privilege it is to stay home with my son and know the details of his entire day!

So if you see me in a rut please remind me that gratitude trumps selfishness! It is much more energizing to be thankful than to be selfish.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Readoption

On November 13 (a month ago- yikes I'm behind on blogging!), we went to court for Israel's readoption hearing. Readoption procedures vary from county to county and state to state. In Calhoun County, AL- they made a point to tell us that this was just a simple photo opportunity and that Calhoun County views Israel's adoption as fully complete from our Ethiopia court date.

The real reason for Israel's readoption hearing was to legally change his name, and to get American paperwork to coincide with his Ethiopian paperwork (birth certificate, adoption decree, etc) because we only have ONE original copy of the Ethiopian paperwork, and Almaz made it clear to us that it would be almost impossible to get additional original copies.

The hearing lasted just a few minutes. Present were my Mother-in-Law (not pictured), our attorney, his paralegal and the Judge.


I'm glad that we are officially finished with Israel's adoption paperwork (we still have post-adoption reports to do... for the next 18 years). 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Fourteen Months!

Israel,

Today you are 14 months old! You are such a blessing and we have been told all month long by family and friends that you are the "sweetest baby" ever. We are so proud of you.

You cut your fourth tooth on Thanksgiving Day. You now have two top and two bottom teeth, with two more teeth on top coming soon! You are eating all table food but you still have a sensitive gag reflex, so things have to be cut up pretty small. You will eat anything! We had a rough month with some potty issues. We are trying to figure out if you have a lactose problem so we're switching up your milk for bottles. Aside from making faces at the new milk flavor, you don't seem to mind.

You just finished your PT at the outpatient office for the year. We've really loved Miss Jill and Miss Susan who have worked so hard with you! They have become dear friends to me. I'm not sure what the plan will be in the coming months but we are going to continue to work hard on your physical development. You are making huge strides in your muscle development, and will stand for a few minutes and will even push up on your feet now when we're trying to get you to stand up! You push up on your arms every time we do tummy time. At night, when you're laying on your back in your crib, sometimes you will have rotated around the entire crib and will wake up in completely opposite corners, facing opposite direction of where we laid you down at night!

Regarding sleep, you've continued to be a great sleeper! You sleep around 11-12 hours at night. You are still taking two naps a day, the morning nap lasting between 30 minutes - an hour and the afternoon nap lasting up to two hours sometimes! I remember those first months where you NEVER slept more than 25-40 minutes and I'm so thankful that you are a good napper now!

We have been a lot of places this month and you've been out of your routine a lot. Thanksgiving we went to Gran and Bowie's house for lunch, then spent a few days at GaGa and Pop's. You and Lottie played together! We had a date night out one night and your favorite friend Elaina kept you! She even put you to bed - she's the first non-family person to babysit you while you were awake. You love the college students in our ministry and have certain ones that just make you smile so much. You were present at a few college ministry events this month and you made your presence known by showing off your yelling, clapping, and smiling tricks.

You still love your musical puppy, but this yellow toy with gears that turn is your new favorite. You will play with that for hours! You also love your rocking giraffe and the Baby Einstein movies that you watch. You will be mesmerized in front of them! So far you've seen "Meet the Orchestra" and "First Words" and you love them both. You will giggle at the puppets on the screen. You are babbling all the time! You still only say "mama" and "dada" (and maybe GaGa?) but that doesn't stop you from chatting all the time. We hope we can understand what you're saying soon!

This month you have grown so much. You're now wearing 18 month clothes (still 12 month tops) and you just LOOK big now. You are not a baby anymore! You still have ridiculously tiny feet, wearing sizes 2-3 shoes. You still wear the shoes that we brought you home in 7 months ago!

Speaking of 7 months, you have now been WITH us longer than you have been WITHOUT us! We are so thankful for that. We seriously cannot imagine life without you. This month we had a few moments away from you and we couldn't stop talking about you every time. You're a part of us, sweet one. We love you so much and we are so thankful to be your parents. Over a year ago we received a referral for a tiny Biruk, and we are so glad that our bubbly Israel Biruk is finally home.

With so much love for you,

Mama

Monday, December 10, 2012

Israel's Glasses

You know I've been slowly catching up on blogging because I have neglected to formally introduce you to the cuteness that is Israel Biruk in glasses!!


Israel received his glasses on November 1, and it was truly amazing to see him light up the second they were put on his face. He started clapping and smiling immediately.


In early October, we started to see that Israel was constantly rubbing his eyes. At first, we thought it was because he was tired- but he was doing it at times that I knew he wasn't tired. Then, he started crossing one of his eyes. We asked our pediatrician and were referred to the eye doctor. Our pediatrician also noticed the "eye patching" that Israel was doing, as well as one of our therapists. It's great to have a support system to help us stay on top of Israel's care! The eye doctor affirmed that Israel had some eye problems, and we found out that he was farsighted, which means he has trouble seeing up close.


I've been asked several times how the doctor knew what his prescription was. They dilated Israel's eyes, then shone a flash light in them. He held up several lenses and looked at Israel's eye through them with the flash light. He has different prescriptions for each eye!


So far he's been doing GREAT with his glasses. We got the Mira Flex glasses that are "indestructible" and have a strap on the back so they will stay on. He typically doesn't take them off, unless they are shifted and not on his face right. He will also take them off if the sun is in his eyes. I was bragging to my mother-in-law just a few weeks ago that we really haven't had to do much disciplining with Israel because he's not moving around to get into stuff. Well, I spoke too soon because the next day he started defiantly pulling them off! He will look at me and then slowly reach up and get them. Sometimes a firm "No" will upset him, but sometimes it just makes him laugh. Ugh, so it begins.


I have to say, we have always thought he was incredibly cute, but the glasses just put him over the edge of cuteness!! We love them.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Social Media Explosion

In taking inspiration from a fellow mama blogger, I'd love to expand the social media interaction around here. I have made some amazing friendships through this blog community and I'd love to connect with you readers more.

Here are a few ways to connect!

Instagram or Twitter: follow me @rebekahmcgee
(Although I am really a twitter novice- not quite sure how to work it!).




Facebook PAGE: "Saying Yes to Adoption" - like the page! Meet fellow readers! Let's encourage each other in our faithfulness to say YES to what God's calling each of us to!

Blog: You're a winner, you've already got this one down if you're reading this! Click the "follow" tab on the right side of the page to have the posts sent directly to your blog feed. (Not sure what I'm talking about? Try "Google Reader" for gmail users!

Looking forward to connecting more ;)

There are some exciting things coming up this year! Can't wait to share and to work together to live faithfully in saying YES to what God calls us to!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Post-Adoption: Does it {heartache, pain, anxiety, memories} all vanish when it's over?

Our adoption process was about two years + three months. Now, this may seem like a long time for some of you, but others are already passing those marks and don't have an end in sight. Adoption, no matter the length, is HARD stuff. The wait is awful for most families. There are certainly some speedy, miraculous adoption stories (and trust me: those who are knee-deep in the waiting trenches DO NOT like to hear about those stories). For most adoptive families, the journey is marked by patience, testing, trials, victories, hopes, and changed expectations. Some liken it to a roller coaster, and that is an analogy I certainly understood.

Often times I would hear things such as "once your son is home, this will all be a distant memory" or "you will forget all the hardships".

Being home six months now, I feel like I can speak on that.

My joy in having my son home does not evaporate the pain of the adoption. There are several pains I am referring to here, folks. First, the pain of the wait. I never experienced child birth or contractions, but I experienced so many sleepless nights, times when I sobbed myself to sleep over the ache for a child I didn't know, and days where I felt like I was in a fog while a member of my family was separated from me by an ocean. The pain was real, friends. And although I am so happy now that my son will NEVER be in an orphanage again, and that I don't have to wonder about his safety or well-being... those days were real, and those seasons shaped me. My heart was being knit to my son's before I knew him. And after I met him, and had to leave him in Ethiopia... ugh those were the worst months of my life. I don't think I can look back onto 2011 (and into 2012) without cringing. It was a tough year, yall. Having my son home now does not make me forget the emotions that came with the process.

Second, the pain of loss. Adoption is beautiful! There is so much gained in adoption, such as a family for an orphan, a child for a family, etc. But preceding every adoption is loss. For our son, the loss of his heritage, his birth family, strong ties to his Ethiopian culture. For us, the loss of the first 7 months of his life, any background knowledge on him, and the gaps in his story. There are some things we will never know, and never be able to teach to our son. There is a part of Israel Biruk's heritage that we will never be able to accurately teach him. There are some big questions we have that will never be answered. Every milestone my son will have, including birthdays, I will be reminded of what he has lost. When I see my friends with full pregnant bellies, I feel the loss of carrying Israel and knowing him as a baby.

So, do we forget those difficult things? Of course not. They shape us, make us into better parents and increase our faith. I have known God in a new way as a parent who aches for a child to be reconciled. I have seen God stretch me and have relied on the Holy Spirit more in my daily living.

If it is so hard, and you don't ever forget it, then why is it worth it?  

First and foremost, adoption is a picture of the gospel. Our family sacrificed, advocated and traveled to bring one child into our family because that child had no one to claim him. In a much, much bigger way, God sent his only son Jesus to die for us, so that we sinners would have a way to be in God's family. Any smidgen of pain, loss, or heartache we experienced we consider a blessing because we were able to be identified with Christ and his suffering. Our family's story points to the gospel and that, my friends, is something we never want to forget.

Second, our trials as parents are trivial compared to the losses of the kids who need families. It is healthy for me to remember that my son has endured SO MUCH in his short life, and yet he is home forever. There are millions - MILLIONS!!!- of kids that are out there who have endured so much and have no one fighting, crying, aching for them. There are kids who are not in the beautiful transition homes like Hannah's Hope- they are in disgusting, cruel places or are being trafficked or trained to do awful things. Who is praying for these kiddos and crying out to God for them to be brought home? There are many nights that I am brought back to our second trip in Ethiopia, when we saw so many new faces at our son's transition home. I was reminded that just because our son was coming home, there were more kids that needed families.

Finally, the pain of adoption gives us hope for Christ's return. Every time that my husband hears of a child dying, someone with cancer, injustice, etc, he always says "come quickly Lord Jesus." I love this about him and I love that he reminds me that the reason that there is injustice, children without families, parents who cannot care for their kids, etc, is because the world is broken. One day, Christ will return and will redeem and restore the earth once and for all. There will be no more sin, no more pain, no more aching for things to be made right. As Christians, we have this hope and that allows for us to see beyond the pain and trials we experience here.

If you're in the trenches of adoption, if you're in another kind of trial, or even if you're in a season of fruitfulness - I hope that I can encourage you today to just rest in the gospel. Remember that God has a purpose for all the seasons we go through. In my opinion, it is unwise to forget what we have gone through. See how God is using your season to reflect the gospel. And if you cannot see how God is working in your life, then put your hope in Christ and His return.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

First Year Books

I have to be honest, I have not written anything in Israel's baby book since he has come home. If they say it all goes downhill after your first kid, then I fear for the documentation of my future kids' lives.

Although the baby book hasn't really happened, I have been faithful to write monthly update posts since we got his referral, and I have made two really cool books using Shutterfly. I'll gladly praise Shutterfly for its user-friendly, creative book options. Especially because I'm not a scrapbooker.

The first book was a recap of Israel's time at Hannah's Hope. Thanks to the amazing families that traveled before us, we have many pictures of his time in Ethiopia. I was constantly tinkering with the album until he came home, so just a few days after his American arrival I was able to print it out. Want to see?




When Israel came home, I figured keeping a book was just easier than printing pictures and putting them in albums. So I immediately started working on his book, continuing the monthly updates. Check it out:

I'm really proud of these books! They look great in person and I am thankful for an easy way to preserve the memories. I want to make another book that is Israel's whole adoption story, but I haven't had the time to start it yet. I like that I was able to spend a good 30 minutes every month working on his pages for the month, so it wasn't completely time consuming trying to recap an entire 6 month period. I also like that it is just about 6 months of coverage, because I was able to devote enough pages to each month and major activities. The twenty pages provided were enough for what I was doing.

So now that his first year is documented, I'm starting on his next book! Will asked me if I intend to do this every six months, and I told him yes, haha. The great thing about Shutterfly is that there are great deals on books, shipping, etc, that you can capitalize on if you just wait for the right time- never buy anything full price on there!

Last year I also did a bunch of books to document our first few years of marriage. I need to get started on our 2012 book!

*Shutterfly did NOT pay me or perk me to write this post. In fact, Shutterfly has no idea who I am. But I am just hoping to pass along an idea to other non-scrapbooking mamas out there!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Shout Out: The Hill's New Fundraisers!

Our dear friends, the Hills, are adopting from Ukraine. I did a "shout out" post for them back when they started the process, but several exciting things have happened for them. Their paperwork process happened SUPER FAST and instead of taking 1+ years to complete their adoption, it looks like they will be traveling very soon to Ukraine to meet their kids! They have seen God work miracles in the last five months to raise over $12,000 but they still need about $20K more. God is faithful and we trust He will provide!

Here's how you can help be a part of their story as they seek to bring home siblings from Ukraine:

1. Gift Basket giveaway! You will not believe the amount of awesomeness they are giving away on their blog. There are some super cool and unique items up for grabs (one lucky winner will get everything!). From jewelry to personal care items to notecards and a KINDLE FIRE! Entries are $5 each and you can donate as much as you want, with more donations = more entries. Check it out here.

2. Local Alabama friends, please join us for a Pancake Fundraiser for the Hills and Caseys (the Casey family is adopting from Ethiopia!). On December 15 at FBC Jacksonville they will be having a pancake breakfast, with tickets being $10/each or $30/family. What a simple way to give to these families and enjoy fellowship together. Buy your tickets from the families (check out their blogs for more info here and here).

We are so excited for our friends and so thankful for a local adoptive community!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Referral Anniversary!

This time last year, we received the call we had been aching for.... we had a son! We were finally parents!


To read the whole story of the special day, click here.

Here are a few of our referral pictures (we had 9 total!):





It was amazing how we could instantly love someone just because of pictures and his story. We treasured those pictures so much.

We are SO thankful that this year has brought so much transformation to our family. Becoming parents to Israel Biruk has been the biggest blessing ever. He is absolutely precious and brings us more joy than we ever thought possible. We are grateful to God for being sovereign in our son's story and for bringing him home to us. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Very Important Day

Today is a special day that I've never taken the time to acknowledge before. World AIDS day. You see, up until this year I never knew anyone who had HIV/AIDS personally. I used to be one of those ignorant people that thought HIV was someone's fault (I cringe typing that- but this is how I used to be). I thought that if people just didn't do drugs, didn't have unprotected sex, etc, that no one would have it. But there's a problem with that thought. What about the babies who are born with HIV?

The reality for me happened when I had friends who were adopting truly precious kids who were HIV positive. They were NORMAL kids - completely loveable, adorable kids who desperately needed families. Not just to thrive- but to LIVE. Did you know that HIV is completely manageable here in the US? That kids with HIV with viral loads in the millions while in orphanages, can have completely UNDETECTABLE HIV status here in the US with medicines? Did you know that undetectable status means that there is less than 1% chance of transferring it to another person? Did you know that those with HIV who have access to medicine can live normal, long lives? Amazing.

Our friend's daughter who is HIV positive- we met her at Hannah's Hope in March. How could you not love this doll face?

The same sweet baby girl, for Halloween at home in the US. Her mama is awesome for making this Star Wars themed costume.

When we were in Ethiopia on our first trip, we fell in love with some girls who were HIV positive. When we got home and found out that they were waiting children, we asked if we could adopt those girls. Seeing their faces and falling in love with them made us realize that age, HIV status, etc could not stop us from wanting them to be in a loving family. God had another family for them, but that sparked a desire in us to one day adopt children who are HIV positive (and to talk to our other adopting friends about the truth behind HIV positive kids).

I'm reminded of this passage in John 9:1-3

"As he (Jesus) went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. "

The man was BORN blind, not as a result of sin, and it occurred "so that the works of God might be displayed in him." Just like the kids who are born with HIV! So now that we have established that having HIV is not necessarily because of someone's sin, let's figure out HOW exactly people get HIV.

You can get HIV through the following ways (and ONLY the following ways): sexual contact, IV drug use through the sharing of dirty needles, and mother-to-infant (during pregnancy, birth, or breast- feeding).

HIV CANNOT be shared through touching, kissing, hugging, living together, contact with bodily fluids such as tears, snot, feces or urine. If someone is not born with HIV (to be born with it, the mom would have HIV and it would be contracted during birth through the vagina), then it is 100% preventable.

If you adopt a child with HIV, your family life will continue to be normal! Aside from medications taken twice daily, and doctor visits every so often, you can continue to parent your HIV kids just like your non-HIV kids. You don't ever have to fear that they will transmit the virus to each other as long as they are not sharing needles, having sex, and breast-feeding each other (not typical family activities for anyone, I would think!).

Watch this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VE9XnX7WRog&feature=player_embedded


Here are some resources for you to read more:

FACTS & FAQS:
http://www.projecthopeful.org/images/stories/PDF_2/yourqspressquality.pdf

ORGS:
www.Projecthopeful.org
http://www.fromhivtohome.org/
http://positivelyorphaned.org/

BLOGS:
http://james127family.blogspot.com/2011/06/as-requested.html
http://www.mandiejoy.com/tag/hiv/
http://www.givenmuchmom.com/2010/05/hiv-our-non-issue.html
http://gillispiefam.blogspot.com/search/label/HIV
http://joiningthejourney.blogspot.com/

Please, educate yourself and share the news that HIV is manageable, preventable, and that the kiddos who have it desperately need families. These are not kids that deserve to be isolated and never adopted. These kids need someone who will step out and advocate for them- or they will die. Will you step up?  Will you advocate? I have ignored this day for too long and I'm sure some of you have too.
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