To Love a Rose: An Ethiopian Adoption Journal

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

World AIDS Day 2010

Tomorrow is World AIDS Day, and my heart and mind have really been touched this year.  I'm sure it's mostly because Mr. C and I were recently tested for HIV for the adoption, but it's something that's been weighing on me for several years now.

When I was 24, in 2005, I was raped.  In the weeks and months that followed, I was terrified that the rapist had given me an STI/STD.  I had been checked over by a nurse not long after the rape, but I lived in fear and shame for months before I finally went to a clinic to be tested for more than just the outward physical scars.

Even though there were many STI's that I could have contracted during the rape, all I could think of was, "What if he gave me HIV?  What if I'M HIV-positive?"  Possibly being HIV-positive seemed like a nail in the coffin to me.  I literally thought my world was ending.  I was over-wrought with sadness and fear, totally lost in what I perceived to be life-ending possibilities.  I can honestly say that if I had been positive, at that very unstable time in my life I may have considered ending it all.  That's how misinformed and frightened I was of living a life with HIV and having my family reject me (which I was just sure would be the case).

I was NOT positive, and soon after, I began Christian counseling, which lasted almost a year.  Through my counseling, I came to terms with my life and circumstances; and I am so much stronger and wiser for it!  I wish everyone struggling with wondering if they have HIV and those who are living with the virus already could get the same love and support that I received.  NOBODY deserves to go through that alone!

To top it all off, we are adopting a baby from Ethiopia - a country that has a rampant HIV problem, as (unfortunately) many African nations have.  This is due to lack of information and education.  You can't fight an enemy you know nothing about.  This year, I pledged on the World AIDS Day website to talk about our adoption, my rape story and testing, and the outcome of it all.  So, I am here, spreading the word.  I hope it helps someone - anyone - even if only one person.

The main thing I hope for the future is that there is more honesty and truth spread about this virus.  You CAN prevent HIV.  You CAN live with HIV.  You CAN make a difference.  We CAN end prejudice.  We CAN help those in need who are struggling with HIV all over the world - in Africa, South America, Europe, the US, your next door neighbor, your own body!  You are NOT alone; people love and care about you more than you know!  Please do not think that your life is over...there is SO MUCH HOPE!

Here is a link to the official World AIDS Day site's Facts and Stats Section.  They are dedicated to renouncing myths and spreading the truth about HIV and AIDS and those living with these diseases.  Very cool site!

Here's a video that I found on Youtube with some good information:

This one is a link to a place called Project Hopeful and their "Truth Pandemic".  They give support and information to families who are adopting HIV positive children from the US and around the world:  Project Hopeful.

If you see this, please spread information, love, and hope instead of spreading hate, ignorance, and fear.

Love, Love, and more LOVE,

1 comment:

  1. Wow, Mandie, what a step out to share this part of your life story. Kudos.

    I found this article yesterday and when you posted today, I thought you might like to see it. A Chicago couple adopted multiple HIV+ children:,CST-NWS-ADOPT1126.article
    I know it was inspiring for me. :)

    Thanks again for sharing.