Positively Adopted

Life with children who have HIV

Mary & Gary's Family

We had talked about adopting for years and it always seemed so overwhelming. It was something we looked at and thought “That would be amazing to do someday” and it was just kind of always out there. When some good friends of ours adopted it really stirred those feelings in us again. Then they adopted again and, wow, it all came back! THEN, they started an orphanage in Ethiopia, and that was it!! We started praying and it became really clear that now was the time for us.

  • We discussed adopting a child living with HIV right away and decided it was not for us. We also quickly recognized that we had no idea what that actually looked like, so we prayed. 

We prayed for God’s will, His plan for us. We told Him we want what He wants for our lives, and if adopting an HIV+ child was His plan for us we needed Him. We needed Him to open our minds and our hearts and for Him to speak clearly to us. After we finished praying we turned to our favorite earthly place for info: google. We started reading about what life would look like with an HIV+ child in our home. We found answers to our questions. And then God just started speaking to us. He led us to our children, and one of them is HIV+. That doesn’t change the fact that they belong to us.

When we decided to adopt a child who was HIV+ it quickly became obvious that we had a big decision ahead of us regarding disclosure. We had a lot of questions - are we required to let the school know? What about the dentist? We read HIV/AIDS resources that assured us we did not have to tell anyone. So we didn't have to tell anyone, but did we want to tell people? To be honest, in the beginning, no. We did not want to tell ANYONE! We were afraid of what people would think, of what they would say, worried that people would be afraid of us and our child. We knew the facts about HIV and how it is and isn't spread - but what about everyone else? Who will react in kindness and love and who will react out of fear and ignorance? We realized that we can't control how people react and we had to let go of any expectation and let people feel the way they are going to feel. 

As we started to imagine life with our HIV+ child it became very obvious that for our family it is right to live openly. 

  • One thing that is very important to us is that our child live proud of who he is. It really came down to one fact: We did not know how to raise our child to be unashamed of a disease he has no control over, while at the same time making sure no one ever finds out he has this disease.

It just made sense for us, and what we have found has amazed us! Our family and friends have been so supportive and loving. Sometimes they have questions, and we love that and encourage that! An unasked question is an open door for wrong information or ideas. 

Our son is loved by so many people and there is no reason to wonder: what if they knew about the HIV? Would they still be here? Would they still love him? We know that everyone that is in our life is there because they love him, every part of him. 

- Mary & Gary

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