I have been so personally challenged lately by two families that I don't even know! I wanted to share about these people and let you go check out their blogs. I've been thinking a lot recently about our own little family, about adoption, about our family's future. Once we had Anna we decided that we wanted a large family. Then our hearts were moved to adopt and we decided we wanted an even larger family that would include children from far away places that truly needed families.
Enat comments sometimes here on this blog. She has a blog called Bringing Desta Home. Enat and her husband just adopted a beautiful girl from Ethiopia, who happens to be HIV+. I don't remember how I came across the blog in the first place several months ago, but I was floored by this family and their amazing hearts. While pursuing the adoption of a boy from Ethiopia, they began sponsoring a girl at AHOPE, Desta. When they traveled to pick up their son, they visited Desta at AHOPE. And decided that they wanted to adopt her. I've learned a lot reading this blog: about what HIV is and isn't, about the public perception of HIV and AIDS, and what it means to live out your beliefs. Go read their blog!
And more recently, I've been learning about Erin. She and her husband have nine children, some biological and some adopted. On their recent adoption trip to Ethiopia to pick up their new son, they visited AHOPE. Erin fell in love with a little girl there, also HIV+, and now they are adopting her! Erin has a blog where she has been sharing their journey of deciding to adopt this beautiful girl. I read the entries yesterday and they brought tears to my eyes (scroll down and read the entries titled "Deciding to adopt Belane.") I am totally challenged by this family's faith and their hearts. Talk about living out the gospel of Jesus. I found myself feeling so completely convicted reading these journal entries, and memories of the children at AHOPE flooded my mind. One of the things that struck me in visiting AHOPE was that here were kids, active, healthy, that look and play just like any other children, and yet because of a health condition there is a good chance that many of them will never have a mom or a dad and will possibly live an abbreviated life as the ARV's are harder to come by in Ethiopia. Now, reading Erin's blog, I remember those kids and remember feeling frustrated that they will have a harder time finding families. Yet utterly convicted because until pursuing Ethiopian adoption, I myself believed all sorts of false myths about HIV and would never have remotely considered adopting an HIV + child.
Did you know that Yosef and Biniam have a biological sister? She's about a year older than Anna, so she's probably about three and half years old now. As far as we know, she is still with their birth mother. We hope to make contact with them soon, through our agency. Something Kevin and I have talked about is eventually, if their mother were to become unable to care for the little girl (which of course we hope doesn't happen), we would love her to join our family as well. Maybe it's a longshot, maybe it's already too late to locate them, I don't know. We obviously don't know anything about this little girl, her health, etc., it's totally hypothetical. There is of course always the chance that she herself could be HIV+. But she's family. Even though we've never met her, she is part of our family, our sons' sister.
I'm not sure how any of these jumbled thoughts will play out in the future. I find myself totally uncomfortable reading some of these blog entries I've read. Why, you ask? Well, because I sit and read and think, more people ought to think like this, and be open to this. God loves these children, has a plan for their life, and He created children to be raised in families who love them. I read about HIV and think, wow, it is very manageable, many people go on to live full, long lives when they have access to the proper drugs. But of course I'm not doing it. I don't just mean HIV either. Special needs in general. Like most other people I want healthy, "easy" kids. I want a family that "fits in" (too late for that, I realize) and to be honest I'm not a big risk taker. I fear change, care too much about what others think of me, and am a control freak. Not a good candidate for any sort of special needs adoption, right?
Ah, if only it were that simple. God's ideas about things are so different from mine. Like I said I don't know if/how any of this will ever play out. We know we want to continue adopting from Ethiopia, we've talked about special needs, older children, and HIV+ kids. One thing I have discovered on our own adoption journey is that I don't want to live a "safe" life. I don't want to shy away from things that seem daunting (well obviously part of me does) and I don't want to get to the end of my life feeling like I only lived for myself. I want to die a person who spent every last part of themselves.
What a long post! Whew! So now it's your turn, you tell me what moves you, what makes you "uncomfortable," what have you read/seen lately that has you thinking???