adopting-hiv-positive-children Would you adopt a child who is HIV-positive?

My husband and I discuss adoption frequently. The beauty and courage involved is alluring. It’s a dream we both share. But we’ve never considered this:

Would we be willing to adopt a child who is HIV-positive?

My gut reaction is,

“Of course! I wouldn’t even give it a second thought!”

But I’ve had the privilege of spending a week with a group of Ugandan children, all of whom were HIV-positive. I would have happily taken home one of those precious children.

But then, the follow-up questions arise.

  • What ramifications, both financially and medically, would we have to consider?
  • How might it affect any other children we may have?
  • Are we prepared to deal with the social stigma, fear and ignorance surrounding HIV, possibly for many years to come?

We never reached a decision, mostly because it was a question that arose from a book I had finished reading rather than a desire to adopt a child here and now.

But it was good to discuss and prayerfully consider, because arguably an orphan who is HIV-positive has a more recognizable need for the love of a family and the hope of Jesus Christ.

So, what do you think? Would you be willing to adopt a child who is HIV-positive?

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    Katy works in our International Program Group as the Africa Communications and Administrative Specialist.

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  1. Ken M.
    Nov 1, 2011
    at 4:36 am

    There is a part of me that wants to give the right Christian answer and say yes. There is this part of me that wants to appear to be the good Christian. It is like some people I see in church who are hurting inside but they will put on that smile and act like they have all the faith in the world but won’t be honest about their true feelings.

    All I can say is that I pray to be able to do the right thing. I’d pray for the heart to love the child, the strength to rise above other’s negative comments and thoughts, and for the funds to take care of the child. Right now I can’t say yes or no.

    • Katy Causey
      Nov 1, 2011
      at 11:43 am

      Hi Ken,

      Thanks for your honesty.

      I don’t believe there’s a right or wrong answer to this question. I think you’re right on track about asking great questions.

  2. Jo Anna Crawford
    Nov 1, 2011
    at 5:56 am

    Hi Katy, there is a great organization called
    Project Hopeful. Have you heard of it??? Project HOPEFUL’s Mission is to educate, encourage, and enable families and individuals to advocate for and adopt children with HIV/AIDS.
    We are in process of adopting 2 brothers from the Philippines, the younger is deaf. We never thought we would adopt a “special needs” child. But God is bigger than what we think. He confirms and leads us in unchartered waters for our family. Much prayer and Scripture reading has confirmed this path for our family. We are all growing in Christ. I do believe God has a sense of humor and the phrase “I will never…” is no longer used in my vocabulary. haha

    • Katy Causey
      Nov 1, 2011
      at 11:45 am

      Hi Jo Anna! Sounds like the Lord is taking you and your family on a beautiful journey.

      I will check out Project Hopeful!

  3. Michael
    Nov 1, 2011
    at 7:52 am

    If I had medical insurance I would in a heartbeat. I don’t have any other children right now and I my uncle who had raised me had HIV, so I am used to the questions and stigmas that come with the territory. To take on any adopted child is difficult and you would need to be sure that you had a strong foundation in Christ yourself and that you had a strong support in your community. It truly does take a village to raise a child, so make sure you have one handy!!

  4. Brooke Burkman
    Nov 1, 2011
    at 8:25 am

    I would definitely adopt a child with HIV!

  5. Ted Adams
    Nov 1, 2011
    at 8:33 am

    My wife and I have already gone through almost all of the certification process, locally, and would love to adopt 1 or 4.

  6. Jennifer Kooshian
    Nov 1, 2011
    at 9:09 am

    Absolutely! HIV is a chronic, but manageable disease – it’s not the scary death sentence it was 20 years ago. Medicine has advanced so much for those with HIV/AIDS, that anyone on medication has every expectation to live a long and healthy life even being able to safely marry and have children of their own!

    Insurance companies consider any condition that a child you adopt has to be the same as if they were in your home from Day one and HIV does not fall under pre-existing conditions the way we would assume, so the twice-daily medications and the quarterly doctor visits would be covered.

    Children that we already have are completely safe – there has never been a case of HIV spreading between family members in a normal family situation, EVER. HIV is spread in three main ways: sexual transmission (not going to happen between my children), mother-to-baby transmission (which doesn’t often happen anymore in the US because of the advances in medication) and needle-sharing (I don’t plan on my children sharing drug needles ;-) ). They would be safe! The liklihood of HIV being spread because of a bloodspill is next to nothing because the virus dies almost immediately when exposed to air; it’s a very fragile virus. Universal precautions in the home can virtually eliminate even this remote possibility.

    As for stigma, we as Christians should be foremost in spreading the truth about HIV/AIDS and breaking down the walls of fear and ignorance in our churches. It is unacceptable that we continue to hide our heads in the sand and believe the ridiculous lies that we believed in the 80’s. Yes, adopting children with HIV may mean becoming an advocate, but that’s the case for almost every parent of an adopted child….you will encounter ignorance, fear and stigma and you will have to choose to be a spokesperson for Truth, even if just within your own family, community and church.

    So my answer is YES. We would, and I hope that God allows us the privilege.

    (for more information, be sure to visit http://www.projecthopeful.org/get-involved/truth-pandemic- It was life-changing for me!! )

    • Katy Causey
      Nov 1, 2011
      at 11:45 am

      Thanks for the web address, Jennifer. Between the blog and our Facebook page, it sounds like others have been touched by Project Hopeful. I will definitely look into it!

  7. Nov 1, 2011
    at 8:04 pm

    In May of 2007 my wife and I made the decision to adopt a child from Haiti. This is one of those decisions that has to be made. After much thought, and prayer we sent the orphanage a list of we’ll medical conditions we could handle, and what just seemed like too much for us.

    We had been very interested in one particular child. When we asked about her we were told that we weren’t eligible to adopt that child because she had tested HIV+. My heart sank. Though we had not met this child. We had only read about her and had seen photos, but I was already attached to her. I was certain that some day she would be my daughter. Actually I felt as though she already was. After a night of tossing and turning, praying together, and reading insurance documents we decided that we were as well equipped to care for an HIV+ child as anyone. We called the orphanage and told them we were committed to Daniela.

    Three weeks after we made our commitment to Daniela we received an e-mail from her orphanage that her blood work had been sent to Johns Hopkins, and came back HIV negative.

    So yes, when we were faced with it, we ultimately decided we could adopt an HIV+ child. That was not what God had planned for us.

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