December 1st is World AIDS Day. Does it matter to us? Should it matter? Many of us have lived unaffected by HIV/AIDS, but in Ethiopia, my children’s birthplace, there may not be a single person who can say that. Every day children are orphaned by this incurable but treatable disease; they are left to raise their siblings, left on the street, left to a neighbor’s kindness,or left at the gate of an orphanage. They cry, they starve, they suffer, and many of them do not yet know that they too are infected with this virus.
What can you do?
If you only have time to read one book, I recommend There Is No Me Without You: One Woman’s Odyssey to Rescue Her Country’s Children. Written by an adoptive mother, the book tells the story of one Ethiopian woman who responded to the AIDS orphan crisis with practical compassion. It is a compelling and interesting read.
If you have time for two books, get 28: Stories of AIDS in Africa by Stephanie Nolen. My exposure to AIDS in Africa had been limited primarily to Ethiopia, but this book features a short story about 28 different people across the continent and how AIDS has affected them. 28: Stories of AIDS in Africa will give you a quick education about HIV/AIDS in a captivating style.
Visit the From HIV to Home website, to find great information including our free webinar and audioconference. You can also read Family Stories about families who have adopted children living with HIV.
If you have 30 seconds, go to my HIV Fact page and get the facts.
Take three minutes to watch Truth Pandemic by Project Hopeful; make sure your knowledge about HIV/AIDS isn’t stuck in the eighties.
Shop with a purpose. Christmas will be here soon and this year you can purchase gifts that will benefit children with HIV/AIDS.
If it all seems remote to you, take a few moments to watch my family’s video of our Ethiopian adoption. I know I don’t write about HIV/AIDS much, but our lives have been forever changed by this virus. I am so thankful to God that we learned there was nothing to fear about HIV, and I feel honored that God trusted us to adopt our children who are HIV+.
Consider adopting an HIV+ child. It isn’t as hard as you think! The last four years have seen an explosion in the number of families adopting HIV+ children. When we began the process, a handful of HIV+ children had been adopted from our daughters’ orphanage. Now, the children are finding families very quickly. For more information on HIV+ adoption, contact Adoption Advocates International or one of the other agencies placing HIV+ children.
Don’t wait until December 1st to wear a red ribbon. Do something today and when World AIDS Day arrives, you will be ready to tell somebody else what it is all about. Please feel free to share this post and spread the word about World AIDS Day. My family thanks you for caring.