Thursday, February 19, 2009

Disclosure

A dear blogger buddy asked me a question yesterday about disclosure and I thought I would talk about it here a little bit.

When we first started the process to adopt after N, we were very drawn to adopting an HIV+ child. And I have spoken before about our adoption process, and living with E having HIV.

At first only a few very close friends knew that we were adopting a child with HIV. We weren't sure how we felt about the world knowing. We wanted to protect E and quite honestly we weren't sure how the world would react to us. When we chose to tell some immediate family they threw a complete fit. We were deemed stupid, and reckless in our care for our other children. They felt there was no way we could possibly have thought this was a good idea and we better never think our children would be able to play with their cousins. It was pretty ugly.

When we heard all of this we were not deterred from the adoption, but we continued to evaluate how and when we would disclose E's status.

When spent alot of time in prayer, and to be honest in disagreement, and conversation about who should know. I chose in the beginning not to share anything about it on this blog because once it's out there I can't take it back.

After E came home and was so ill, people naturally asked questions, and I began to feel like I was lying. I don't lie well....lol So D and I discussed it some more and decided that it was better for people to know if they ask, rather than keep it a secret.

We don't ever want E to feel ashamed of something he has/had no control over. We want him to be proud of who he is as a human and a child of God. We felt that by our keeping silent we would be sending the message that there was something wrong with him and that he should hide.

There are many local people that read my blog, those of you that our our friends, and others that 'stumble' onto it. ;o) And I will admit to being a little leary of sharing this information publically, but I also felt that it has given me the opportunity to share and include education. Through reading the blog, people will know that HIV is very hard to contract. You can't just 'catch' it like the flu or a cold. After the virus reaches the air it dies pretty quickly. Transmission requires some pretty signifigant blood to blood contact, and frankly that's not probable. Normal every day contact will not endanger any one. As I have said before if we thought there would be the possibility of our other children being at risk we would not have persued this adoption.

Mosquito's aren't carriers, biting doesn't transmit, playing on the playground or with each other's toys won't do it, even a scraped knee properly bandaged isn't a danger. It's ok if he sneezes on you.. it would pretty icky, but you won't contract HIV.

I want people to realize that my child is as loveable as any other, that he along with millions of others deserve to be treated with respect, love and acceptance. If I can change the life of one other child because someone reads this and thinks "I could do that, I could love a child that derserves it" then I feel good. I first thought this was possible because I read the blog of Erin, who is now one of my very dearest friend's.

If I am able to educate just one other person, to kill a little piece of the stigma that still surrounds this disease then I have made a difference to that one person.

Not everyone agrees with us, not everyone thinks it's a good thing to share his illness, but I believe we all have to do what's right for ourselves and our family.

Here is an interview done by Bethany Interview with Hydeia Broadbent. Please take a minute to read it. Hydeia is a young lady who was one of the earliest pediatric HIV patients at a time when only a handful of children had the infection. She was adopted and has been open about her status and is an advocate for people that have HIV. What an inspiration! Thank you Bethany for sharing.

Thank you to those of you that read this blog and love us, and love our E. Maybe each of us can make a difference in just one life through education and love.

7 comments:

blessedmomto7 said...

Your honesty will help educate us all sister! Glad we found each other.
Jen

ShannonC said...

I'm neither a relative nor a neighbor, but I wanted to thank you for this post. There is always a fine line and internal gut check with what to divulge publicly and what to keep to yourselves. It is one more balancing act that we add to our lives. For those in your life that chose to remain ignorant, I offer my sympathy. To you I offer my prayers of strength, wisdom and patience. This is a lovely blog. Thank you for sharing.

Marissa said...

Thanks for writing this. Right now I'm actually really struggling with disclosure and it's nice to know there are other people dealing with it.

SupermomE11 said...

Love you A! you did awesome. :)
Hugs,
E

Matthew and Amanda said...

Thanks Andrea. You decisions and your (and D's) path to them has been so helpful. It seems like such a gray area, but I feel like i have more clarity every day.

Amanda

Tiffany said...

Well written. You do a great job loving your kids (all of them) and educating others.

Nicole Anderson said...

Thank you so much for sharing. I love reading your blog, and you are doing a wonderful job, as a mom, and an educator!