Friday, December 01, 2006

Talkin' 'bout a revolution

I didn't want today to go by without acknowleding that it's World AIDS Day. Up until recently I'd never known of anyone personally with AIDS (that was not a celebrity) and would never have imagined that it could ever touch my life--no matter how direct/indirectly--but we now have two sons whose birthmother is HIV-positive. Sadly we've never met her but we do know her full name, her situation and her heart-wrenching story, perhaps a little unusual to have so much background information on internationally adopted babies. What a blessing and gift.

It is ultimately because of AIDS that this woman was unable to keep Yosef and Biniam for longer than the month and a half that she did. I wish their family's tragic story was an exception or an example of a really extreme situation. Unfortunately it's life as usual in many parts of the world, including Ethiopia.

HIV and AIDS have been off the media's radar screen in the US for awhile now, in large part because we are blessed by having access to amazing drugs that have led to HIV now being classified as simply a "chronic, manageable disease" as opposed to a fatal one. HIV-positive people who take the medications can lead long and fulfilling lives now.

But in other parts of the world these special drugs are not available. 6,000 new children are orphaned every day by this disease world-wide. Many, many children are also living with the disease themselves, and a lot of those kids are orphans, too. Basically, it is an understatement to say that AIDS is a major, major problem and that the Western world truly needs to wake up, reach out and help (starting with myself of course.)

This is an excellent article, written by Richard Stearns, CEO of World Vision. I think that like so many other things, fighting this disease has to begin with our hearts being transformed, people like you and me coming to a place where we recognize the huge need for help and where we commit to meet that need. One easy way to do that is by sponsoring a child at AHOPE in Ethiopia or making a donation to them. This facility does an amazing work, taking in orphans with HIV. We visited back in February and it is a precious place, and the children there are even receiving the ARV medications.

It is also possible to adopt a child from Ethiopia with HIV now! It is so exciting as more and more families are adopting children who happen to be HIV-positive. Check out this blog to read about Erin, whose family just brought home a two year old girl from AHOPE. This blog belongs to a family traveling to bring home two sisters from Ethiopia, one of which is coming from AHOPE as well.

One of my favorite books of all time is There is No Me Without You, which was just recently written by a fellow adoptive mom with kids from Ethiopia. It is an EXCELLENT book on the subject of AIDS and the effect it's having in Ethiopia. I treasure this book as well because it is a precious glimpse into the lives of my kids. I really, really recommend reading this; I couldn't put it down and it is truly an eye opener.

There's an old song by Tracy Chapman that the kids (and I) love called "Talkin' Bout a Revolution." The lyrics describe the poor rising up to take their share and includes the line "finally the tables are starting to turn/talkin' bout a revolution". I just recently did some research and discovered that our sons' birth mother's name means, of all things, "revolution" in Amharic. This floored me because this adoption journey, trip to Africa, all of it has brought so much revolution about in our hearts. We remain changed because of it.

And my prayer is that many, many hearts (including ours!) will continue to be transformed and desire to see revolution come about in terms of loving our brothers and sisters and reaching out to help them. I would love to see the tables start to turn, one heart at a time, fighting the stigma of HIV and AIDS, fighting the horrible notion that it's a "disease of sinners", finding ways to reach other countries with treatment so families won't have to be torn apart. I think God is all about revolution, bringing change and transformation, "making all things new." So on World AIDS Day I pray He can use me to help in this way!


Rachel said...

i just saw an HIV/AIDS awareness commercial on COmedy Central. It depicted a well educated white male who had contracted the diesease and then had a lot of statistics. It wasn't about Africa, but it was still on TV.

Anonymous said...

Well said.

Anonymous said...

Just watched a really cool documentary following Ashley Judd to Madagascar and India Arie to Kenya on VH1 last night. Very eye opening piece on AIDS in Africa.

Lara Laity said...

Thank you for your courage and taking the lead in making change in a culture that is unconcerned with (or maybe just hopeless about) the dire circumstances in the rest of the world.

I also LOVED "There is no me without you". Darin and I have been moved to do our part as well. Have you been following the ONE Campaign? I think I'm going to call my congress representative to ask them to support the President's request for PEPFAR and the Senate's request for the Global Fund. I've never called a government representative before. I'm a little scared.
Here's the ONE Campaign link:


andrena said...

thank you

Anonymous said...

I have been checking out your blog, and have really enjoyed it. It is amazing to see someone living my dream (2 Afrian boys). I would love to ask you some questions. I would like to email you, or I could just post questions. If email would be ok with you, contact me at Thanks, and I look forward to reading more!

Lara Laity said...

I did it! I called the senator and left a message for her to support PEPFAER and the senates request for the Global Fund. It wasn't that scary after all. =)


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