So, this weekend, I realized I still have a few strongholds or prejudices I haven't worked through. I attended the T4A Conference. A question was posed by a parent of an adoptee, who is HIV+. She asked, "If your son or daughter made friends with a child at school, who was HIV+, how would you handle that friendship. Would you allow the friendship to grow? Would you encourage it? Would you be fearful? Would you expect your friend's parents to tell you he/she was HIV+?" She continued, "If your child contracted HIV while in the hospital, would you feel inclined to disclose it to his or her friends? Would you tell the schools? Would you tell your church? Would you want to hide it knowing the majority of the public is uneducated in the truth of HIV, and it would surely mean your child suffered from being ostracized? Do you feel there is a difference in what you would expect of HIV+ persons and how you would want your child's health information handled?" I must say, I couldn't answer these questions initially, at least not the way I wanted.
This parent and another of HIV+ adoptees and a PID doctor and nurse practitioner spoke on HIV and AIDS and the myths surrounding them. My knowledge was antiquated. Little did I know that HIV/AIDS no longer carries a title of "terminal disease". Instead, it is a chronic illness, which is easily controlled and readily preventable. In the US, an HIV+ person need only take 2 pills a day to live a long, healthy, uninhibited life. REALLY? There's never been 1 single diagnosed case of HIV transference from family member to family member in a normal family environment. All the myths of cut to cut, accidents riding bikes, bumps on the trampoline, shaving accidents as teenagers, or a bloody car wreck transference was put to bed. I never realized how manageable this disease is!
Why then are millions dying in Sub-Saharan Africa of AIDS? Well, the ARVs and AZT needed to control HIV/AIDS is still not readily available. Those who do receive them do not have them administered properly (as they are usually orphans in group facilities). More over, even when these meds are available, the life saving antibiotics for secondary infections are not available. My heart broke to realize the difference in a child, who is HIV+, being raised in a third world country or America is the difference of life and death. LIFE and DEATH.
Fear of transference doesn't keep me from an HIV+ adoption. I'm going to lay it out there; the fear of social (used loosely) isolation and social martyrdom of my 4 children and husband halts me in my path. I don't want them to be shunned or hurt. I don't want to be the bulls eye. I don't want to ruin my husband's career. I know there's a theme and it circulates around "I". What a sad truth. Due a possible inconvenience or social abandonment, I would forgo adopting a child that God placed on my heart.
Then it also hit me. The spiritual parallel. God came to me when I was suffering from an incurable disease, sin. Had He taken inventory of my status, judged my sicknesses, assessed my risks, considered the stigma of a relationship with me, or not wanted the weight of my current status, I would be left to my own demise. If God had looked to my past to judge my future, I would surely perish. If there ever was a stigma associated with the illness of sin, I carried it. But instead of judging, He made the greatest sacrifice. He gave what was perfect for my life. And I was saved. I cannot move past this yet. I trust there is a reason this resounds in my heart and soul. This story of redemption from a past and the promise of a future. It's all too sweet for me to throw away and discount.
How would you answer that parent's questions?