This day last year we informed our agency that we would like to adopt Mastewal. This is her official “referral day”.
We had watched her on our agency’s waiting child list for several months, and prayed for a family to step forward and adopt her. Meanwhile God was preparing our hearts to adopt her. We weren’t prepared adopt a toddler/”older child” or a child living with HIV. I remember looking at her photo daily wishing someone would adopt her, because we simply couldn’t because of her HIV status. I started to read as much information and read a few blogs from families who had adopetd HIV+ children. I began to think “if they could do it, surely we could as well”. We realized that Mastewal’s life would not be much different than any other child’s that we would adopt. I had a lot of misconceptions and fears about HIV, itself. The big difference between her and our other children is that she goes to the doctor every 3 to 4 months and has blood drawn and meets with a Pediatric Infectious Disease Doctor. She has not started her ARV therapy/treatment, but when she does we will be giving her medications 2 times a day for the rest of her life. We will likely find out in the next week or so if she will start those meds in the near future based on her counts and viral load from her visit last week with the PID. We handle her blood with gloves, no biggie. We learned that we are not going to “catch” it through household contact, and she is not a “threat” to others just by simply being around them. When we got over our fears about what HIV is and isn’t, we said yes to Mastewal–and became the first family to adopt a HIV+ child from Ethiopia with our agency. There were a lot of unknowns with the process and the additional waiver requirement (for a HIV+ child to be granted a visa to immigrate to the United States). With the help of Project Hopeful we sailed through the process with no glitches. We only waited 3 days for the visa–it can take up to 10 business days!
God really changed our hearts and we are blessed to call her our daughter.
Mastewal’s Waiting Child Picture