Thursday, April 30, 2009

HIV misconceptions

Answers to misconceptions regarding HIV.

  • HIV is not a death sentence.
  • HIV does not always turn into AIDS.
  • You can't get HIV from kissing or household contact.
  • Once on the medications and responding well, chances are extremely slim of contracting HIV through sex or blood to blood contact (1 in 300) - though precautions should be taken.
  • HIV is a fragile disease. You have to try to "catch" it. Once outside the body, it dies very quickly unlike the flu virus.
  • HIV is extremely manageable. It is said to be preferred to diabetes regarding manageability.
  • One with HIV can live a long and healthy life.

HIV

Thomas and I first chose to adopt a "healthy" child, but after much prayer and research, decided to adopt a child who tests HIV+. Soon after, we received information on a beautiful little girl named Rahel Enawgaw. Her Mother suffered for a very long time in a hospital with AIDS before she died. Rahel's older sister's blood tests negative for HIV, and Rahel's tests positive. The father of Rahel's sister took her in, and felt that Rahel would get the care and medication she needed if she were adopted by an American family. This must have been heart wrenching to split the sisters, but in order for Rahel to survive and live a long and happy life, she needs the medications that we have the ability to provide for her. We hope to bring Rahel back to ET to visit her sister as often as money allows. It was a brave and selfless step for them to take, I'm not sure I would have had the strength to sacrafice like they have. We are eternally greatful that they did and now we get to share in Rahel's life story.

Below is a link to a video that you all should watch. It answers many questions and explains our reasons for adopting a child who tests positive for HIV. I haven't timed it, but I think the video is about 20 minutes long. Set aside some time and watch it - it's very informative.

http://www.facinglife.tv/episode/season_3/episode_7/episode_307_video_full.htm

HIV

We have finally made our decision regarding education on Rahel's health. Rahel's blood tests positive for HIV. We have decided to make this public knowledge for a number of reasons that we won't list here. This may be a shock to some of you, but I hope you read on before getting scared into keeping away.

Most of us were educated about HIV in the 1980's, when HIV was running wild. Our education on the virus was to scare us into stopping the disease in its tracks, which worked! Now, however, things are much different for those carrying HIV. Medicine has made many breakthroughs regarding HIV and AIDS.

This is the first of a few educational posts we will be posting regarding HIV and Rahel's condition. PLEASE read ALL of our posts on HIV education. This will help put any questions and worries at ease. Also, please feel free to post your questions in our comment sections.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Referral

We got our referral today for Rahel!!! She's ours to pursue:) Every step has fallen into place for us. We know that Rahel belongs in our family and that the Lord is part of this decision and process. He knows what's best for us and for Rahel and has led us to her. We are forever grateful. YAY!!!!!!!!!

If you're dying for a picture, we can email one to you. Ethiopian government is very strict about not allowing pictures of their orphans on the web though so you would need to make sure not to ever post her pictures online even on a blog until the adoption is final. They allow emails to close family and friends.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Mouse bites, 2 Skunks and a Name

Saturday proved to be quite the day for us. We actually got a lot accomplished, but not quite what we were planning!

Faith came crying to me with an owie on her hand. She was bleeding and it seemed to her the end of the world (doesn't blood always mean the end of the world?). She told Thomas that a mouse bit her. Thomas found the cats and sure enough, they were playing with a dead mouse. Honestly! I guess Asia caught a mouse and Faith picked it up before it was dead. Well, Mooshu finished the mouse off and we took Faith, mouse and all to the instacare clinic to wait for 2 hours. Anyway, all is well and Faith is okay.




(Asia after her Tomato bath)
So, Asia got skunked for the 2nd time in two weeks. Aarrrrggggghhhhhh! Tomato sauce only goes so far in taking out the HORRIBLE smell. When it's so strong, it smells like burning rubber and onions. The kittens smell like skunk from their mama, therefore Faith and her friends who find it impossible not to drag the poor kittens around all day smell like skunk. I'm constantly changing Faith's clothes and washing her to get the skunk off of her. Anybody want a cat? How about a cat and 3 kittens? Wait... How about 2 cats and 3 kittens!



We got some more info on Rahel and another picture! She is adorable! Her last name is Enawgaw. Things are working out for us unusually well. We are truly grateful to the Lord for walking us through this adoption and leading us to our Rahel:)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Rahel's story

Rahel has been approved for adoption as a single child! Our Dossier is done and we're just waiting on our I600A to be processed and given a time for fingerprinting. As soon as Rahel's medical report is finished, we will receive a referral and she is ours to pursue!

I don't think I've told everyone Rahel's story, so here it is.

Rahel arrived at the orphanage shortly before we learned of her. Her Mother recently died and her older sister comes from a different father. Rahel's sister's Father decided to take the sister in, but could not take Rahel. Ethiopia rarely allows splitting a sibling pair, but since they were to be separated anyway, by choice of the sister's Father, the government allowed Rahel to be adopted as a single child. We would gladly take her sister, but since her Father wants her, we are very happy that she can be with Family.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A clip from the blog of a friend

Since it was already written so beautifully, I decided to totally steal my friends blog post to explain my sprained ankle and pulled muscle in my arm.

"It's kind of funny to have a less-than-functional left foot and right arm. Those are the same appendages that my friend Intrepid was unable to use after she fell out of her car with her arm around her daughter and her foot caught in a seat belt. Both she and I couldn't drive after our injuries because we both have manual cars." - (by the way, I'm Intrepid in case you were wondering.)

-Thanks friend

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Opposition

Nothing lets you know you're on the right track like Satan throwing fiery darts at you from every direction. Our faith has been tried and we're certainly being forced to rely on the spirit to get us through this adoption. The Lord has guided our every footstep along the way and now to reiterate the fact that this is what's right for our family, Satan is throwing a tantrum and has found yet another one of my weaknesses. This is usually how it happens for me. I guess I'm special that way. yay! When something is very important and very right and has the possibility of being very wonderful and very influential for good, Satan runs rampant trying every option available to him to stop what's good. In doing so, he has given away the secret - this must be REALLY important for us to go through with!

The Lord is very present in our life right now. The more we turn to him, the more He turns to us. I am thankful for his never ending patience, forgiveness and love. He has not left us alone to be taken down. The only power Satan has over us is what we have given him and the minute we decided to take that power away, the spirit of the Lord swims through our home, our heads and our hearts. Our family is a very special unit that must threaten the adversary heavily. Rahel is most definitely meant to be a part of our family and we welcome her with open arms!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

To Rahel's Mother of the womb

To Rahel's Mother of the womb:
I pause and think of you every single day
Of your love and sacrifice before you went away
I thank you for the gift of your sweet Rahel
I will teach her of your love, that In the arms of Jesus you now dwell
I make to you this promise today
That I will raise her up with love, and bring her back to you someday.
In my home, she will feel safe and you can know
We will expand her mind and let her spirit grow.
Our Savior has made the way, suffered what was required
That we can all be united in His house, whole, a family reunited.
Rahel will know us both, I will do my part
You Her Mother of the womb,
And Me Her Mother of the heart
-I love you
Melanie

Rahel

We've found our sweet little girl! I can't believe this is actually happening! In a few months we'll be holding our Rahel in our arms. Things are running quite smoothly. Our dossier will be complete by tomorrow and we'll be one step closer to our sweet Rahel!


Dear Sweet Daughter,
As a girl I had a common dream, to be a mom someday.
My baby would have eyes of blue and hair the hue of hay.
She does and now my dreams transform.
New visions fill my mind.
The new curls that I long to stroke are raven black I find.
And in my dreams those eyes are not so blue I've found.
Now in my dreams they shine bright and cocoa brown.
And in my dreams my arms can stretch across enormous seas.
They reach half-way around the world and hold you close to me.
As you grew in your mother's womb, carefully knit together,
you also grew in my heart, where you will stay forever.
And in my dreams the moment that your mother said good-bye,
I'd be right there to comfort you to hold you as you cried.
Our features may not look alike; we're different as can be.
But still I know the Father has created you for me.
And though I've not yet seen your face, or held your tiny hands,
and though we're half a world apart in very different lands.
I'll be right there to hold you just as soon as I’m allowed.
But til the time is right I give to you this vow.
I'll pray for your protection every night on bended knee.
For our Father will hold you in His arms,
until you're here with me.

-Gayle Leubecker (With some changes from Mommy)
Christy – thank you for this beautiful idea

Friday, April 3, 2009

Krecia's lesson in Amharic

Faith and I took Krecia and Cierra out to the Indian Oven for dinner the other night. While we were there, Faith and I were showing the girls how to speak Amharic. I told Faith to say several words including "I love you" and "All gone", all in Amharic. I then told Faith to teach Krecia how to say Hello. She turned and looked very seriously at Krecia and in a clear, strong voice, she said 'He-llooooo'. -Classic! I love my Faithy!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Lord will provide a way

Well, our adoption finance options fell through and on top of that, with the economy dive, Thomas' raises in the future won't quite be what we planned on. We know that this is the right thing for our family and that the Lord will provide a way. He doesn't ask of us anything He doesn't plan on seeing through. I've decided to offer group guitar classes so I can handle more students. 2 hours a week with 10 students certainly sound better than 10 hours a week with individual students. Faith sorta makes that one impossible! We also plan to throw benefit dinners in the near future. Our dossier packet has arrived and we are now working on that. So close yet so far! Things are definitely looking up though. Thank you all for your prayers and your support. Before we know it, our girls will be home and our family will be richer for it.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

" 'all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children' " (3 Nephi 22:13)

I've been doing a little research on how to make conference a meaningful thing for Faith. I couldn't come up with a single thing on my own, so here's what I have gathered. I hope it can help someone else.

The Church always comes out with a general conference packet for the current conference. This is most helpful, but when it comes to the little kids, I find it a bit more challenging to make conference a meaningful experience for Faith and for us (chasing a 3 year old and making her be quiet makes for a not so meaningful conference for mom and dad).

The Ensign gave some great ideas for the small kids. Here are the ones I liked:

* "Complete chores, homework, grocery shopping, and other standard weekend activities by Friday night."

* "Turning a favorite food the family enjoys into a special treat served at conference time, or participating between sessions in a family activity, such as playing games, watching old family videos, taking a walk, or talking about the session that just ended."

* "We pray individually and with our children that our hearts will be prepared for the messages of conference."

* "They remove the center spread with photos of General Authorities from the most
recent conference edition of the Ensign and hang it near the television. Each time a new speaker appears on the screen, the children study the poster and try to find the speaker's picture. They are rewarded with a sticker to place on the poster or in a notebook of their own. "They quickly learn to identify the First Presidency and others by name."

* "Set out a bowl of small treats for each session. Next to the bowl, they place objects that represent key words for that session. Each time the children hear one of those words spoken from the pulpit, they can help themselves to one treat. Sister Sorensen notes: "It's surprising to see how much young children can and do listen. Their enthusiasm is priceless as you hear them say, 'Mommy, he said temples!'"

* " 'all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children' " (3 Nephi 22:13).

* "To set general conference apart as a special event, Brother and Sister Beverley designated the family home evening following conference as "Quiz Night," when each member of the family would ask three questions about the talks, the reports, or things they observed. It quickly became tradition." "When our children were young, we wondered whether questions like 'What color was the prophet's tie?' would really make a difference in their lives, however, Quiz Night established a pattern that has matured with the children."

* One couple used the most recent issue of the Conference Ensign as their Family Home Evening manual, giving each family member a copy of their own. They were given highlighters to highlight the important things to them, and the kids could color what they wanted. They tried to use the pictures to teach the little kids about the talk.

Homestudy Approval

Our homestudy was approved and accepted yesterday! We are on our way! Our dossier is next. Wish us luck! We have received waiting children lists and are excited to find our newest family members!
An appology...We haven't exactly been faithful in keeping up our blog lately. We had to do some serious changing in the way our house functions. We are finished now and it is wonderful! We now have a family/toy room upstairs where the kids can play and make their messes (out of sight). Our bedroom is now downstairs in the office. It all works so much better. That stress has been put at ease. Now on to more paperwork....