Disclosure, stigma, undetectable, viral load...

Those words are all part of our daily vocabulary now.  From the title some of you may understand exactly what I am talking about but for those who don't, let me start at the beginning.

You have heard me talk about the mounds of paperwork involved with adoption.  One of the very first pieces of paperwork is the medical stuff.  Not just for us but regarding the child we want to adopt.  This particular paper is a medical check list.  It is a list of medical conditions ranging from mild to severe.  Many of the things on this list we had never heard of.  So, with Google up on the computer we began checking of the special needs we would be willing to deal with, for lack of a better term.  This is not an easy thing to do.  How do you say no to any child?  Unfortunately there were some needs that we just didn't feel comfortable taking on.  Under the label, COMMUNICABLE DISEASES,  we checked no to all of them.  We had a family and felt that was a risk we weren't willing to take.
Fast forward several months.  We switch from the Korea program to the Ghana program and we are matched with two adorable children.  There was very little information in their file.  We received their measurements and were told our daughter has an umbilical hernia.  We did ask if either one of them had a communicable disease and were told no.  Four months later we finally start receiving medical information.  First for our little guy.  Other than malnutrition, he is healthy.  A few weeks later I received an email from our agency regarding our daughter.  It is a moment I will never forget but not because I was shocked or upset.  Because this is the first time I realized the profound love I have for these children that I have never even met.  Our agency informed us that our daughter did test positive for HIV.  They still needed to do another test to confirm which we take some time to get the results.  In the meantime we were to decide if we wanted to continue with the adoption.  Here is where that profound love comes in.  YES.WITH.OUT.A.DOUBT.IN.MY.MIND.YES!!!
This was no different to me than if a doctor had told me there was something wrong with a child I was carrying in utero.  This is my child, a precious gift from above. 
The next few weeks involved lots or research and reaching out to other adoptive families with HIV positive children.  What did I learn?
HIV is no longer considered a terminal illness, but instead it is a manageable disease.
HIV has never been contracted in a casual setting such as in the home, church, school, et.
HIV,with the correct treatment plan, can acutally be undetectable in the blood!!!

I was amazed by the advancements that had been made and saddened by the fact that there has been so little education about HIV/AIDS since the 1980's. 
Next came the issue of disclosure.  To tell, or not to tell.  I read blogs, I asked other moms and I prayed.  This is not a subject to be taken lightly and there is no correct answer.  Since you are reading this it is obvious that our decision was to disclose.  We told our family members right away and then a couple months later we told our church family.  We have received nothing but support and encouragement.  We have been blessed!  Due to the military, we relocate every few years.  We do not plan to tell each church we attend.  We chose to do so here because our church family has played a vital role in our adoption process.  We chose to post it on this blog because we covet your prayers and hope to connect with other families parenting a positive child.  What we are not looking for is your pity or your discouragement.  You know the saying, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all"?  Yep, that applies here. :) 
Right now our daughter is not on medication and is doing just fine.  Our first few months home will consist of numerous doctor visits.  We have already been in contact with her Pediatric Infectious Disease doctor and he is wonderful.  I look forward to the day I can type the word undetectable in HUGE letters!  Please join us in loving and praying for our sweet children on the other side of the world.

Thank you!

Too long...

I have to give KUDOS to mom's who find the time to blog!  My goal this year was to keep up with this blog, chronicling our life and adoption journey but with 4 kiddos, homeschooling, church activities, adoption stuff....I am sure the list goes on...I just can't seem to find the time.  So, with that said, be prepared for a long post full of updates!  Here goes...


Things are finally moving along.  Our homestudy was officially completed (for the second time).  I600a sent and fingerprints done on August 24th.  Now we are just waiting for the approval letter to come.  Once we receive that we can get our dossier sent to Ghana.  We are a bit stuck financially so your prayers would be appreciated.  God has miraculously funded this adoption so far.  While I do have days I struggle to trust in HIM and not be discouraged, I know He has got this.  I need to rely on HIS timing and have complete FAITH that HE will bring my children home. 


We have switched things up here a bit...actually, just going back to a method that worked great for us before.  Occasionally I panic and lose all confidence in my ability to teach my children.  When this happens I tend to go on a curriculum hunt and start buying things I am sure will be better.  We get excited about it, start it, and inevitably we burn out within a few weeks.  I know my children's learning styles and I know my teaching style, so why don't I just stick with what works?  FEAR!  Well, I am done with that.  We have gone back to our Charlotte Mason style of teaching and we are LOVING it!  I do a touch of classical too.  I love the "one room classroom" style of teaching.  I know once my oldest hits high school in a couple years he will be doing a good portion of work on his own so I am relishing in this time of having them gathered around me while I teach. 


We have been here for about 20 months now.  I did not love Hawaii when we first got here, actually for the first year or so. I know, I know...you are thinking in your head right now, HOW COULD SHE NOT LOVE LIVING IN PARADISE???  Well, that is just it.  We LIVE here.  This isn't a vacation, at least not a short one! :)  The weather is pretty much the same every.single.day.  I miss the fall...leaves changing, the cool air, curling up on the couch with a blanket and bowl of soup.  I miss seasons!  We are not very "outdoorsy" people.  This is an "outdoorsy" place.  With all that said, I have been trying to have a better attitude about it.  We have been blessed with an amazing church family.  My husband and I are Sunday School teachers and that has been a huge blessing.  Our church has been wonderful and very supportive during our adoption process. I know God has brought us here for a reason and I am determined to embrace it and enjoy it for the next 16 or so months.

I think that about does it for updates.  Thanks for reading and God Bless!