Thursday, August 20, 2009

A little more about our year...

I was thinking as I was reading the responses to the last post about other things I wanted to share.

Just in case someone was thinking of adopting, and more specifically an HIV+ child.

Our E was an exception to the rule, not the norm.

E was infected with some icky stuff in May of 2008 and with his compromised immune system he didn't have the forces he needed to fight off the infections well.

His recovery before we got there to pick him up was nothing short of miraculous really. His medical reports while he was in the hospital in May were not promising. He was not expected to live. So the fact that he was even walking and moving when we got to ET was amazing in and of itself.

The hard part for us at first was the reality. It's 'easy' to be objective and resilient when you are only looking at pictures and getting reports. We had seen his pics from travellers before us, we heard their stories about him, we heard how very bad he looked...and how much better he was looking before we got there. But the reality was harsh.

We weren't turned off by his looks because of vanity, but because of the pain we knew it caused him, and because we knew it was going to be a long road. For him and for us.

When we got to the country and found out about the possible heart issues (these were not true) and saw the burn marks, the impetigo scars, the molluscum and the wound on his head (which ended up being MRSA and a crazy Staph infection) we weren't prepared.

We thought we had prepared for the HIV but I will admit that when we got there and were actually with him, I was scared to death. I wasn't scared of actually contracting it myself... I just became overwhelmed with the thought of all the ramifications. On top of all the other health issues presented I wasn't sure how in the world I would handle it. IF I could handle it.

As I laid on the bed with E, sobbing while he slept, I prayed, D held me and cried too. I cried out to God. I knew He had brought us here... but dog on it if I could figure out why. I didn't think I had the strength in me to do this daunting task...of taking care of this little bitty boy.

God reminded me as I laid there that our prayer when we thought he was going to die in May had been that if His will was for us to adopt him, that he would spare E's life. And spare it He did. So we needed to just trust in Him and move forward.

I can't tell you how many times I cried out to him with those same fears in those 12 days we spent in the Children's Hospital. Or when I was doing IV meds every 6 and 8 hours around the clock while D was out of town. Or when I called our employee mental assitance help line because I had been crying for days and could not stop. Or when I finally had to give in and tell the Dr that we wanted the g-tube for his meds. I was terrified of that G-tube. I am now SO thankful for it.

I used to read other blogs of parents who had adopted children with special needs or found out their children needed all this extra help and think "man, I could never do that" I would stop immediately while reading and pray for them. I would pray for their strength and God's provision. And here I was living that life.

Through this whole time God never left us. He never once left our side. He placed people in our lives that we needed to keep us going. To remind us of His care for us. He held us close and held us up.

Over this past year we have found that we CAN do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

We found that in all the crazy medical stuff the HIV is/was the least of our issues. That part is easy. We aren't wearing rose colored glasses we realize we will run into issues with those that still do not understand the illness. But we feel like God used our time of medical trial to sharpen our resolve in fighting for him. And fight for him we will when we need to, and fight with him when it's appropriate.

Isaiah 40: 28-31 says
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and His understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings of eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

In those days that I wanted to faint, when I was weary, when I just wanted to crawl into bed and not get out. He was right there.

He led us to our E. He gave us a blessing that cannot be replaced, on so very many levels.

So if you have ever thought of adopting, or adopting a child with HIV, please pray about it. Most of the children that come home are really pretty healthy. Some don't even need meds right away. E was the exception, not the rule and we do think he's pretty exceptional! ;o)

We are cautious with his blood, but it doesn't hinder our lives at all. We have learned to make sure he takes his meds on time, and we just make due when we have to be somewhere when it's med time.

Think about it pray about it! ;o)

Life is good. God is good...better than good really... ;o)


Cindy said...

you are an inspiration.
love you so much.

Unknown said...

Your story inspires me! Thank you. Thank you, Thank you!

"Are These Kids All Yours?" said...

WOW such an awesome miracle of God!!!!!!!

Me. Us. She. said...

We are waiting to match with our first child. An HIV+ child. And your first post did scare me. I am scared to be the woman crying on the bed. But your words here are also helpful and comforting and strengthening. Thank you. ~Amanda

Adeye said...

Stunning post, friend. May your story inspire MANY to take the same journey as you have. I absolutely love that you are living your life out loud--for all to see! You are an amazing witness for Christ.

Our journey following Christ said...


You have also inspired me in many ways. Way back, when you posted about E and him being in the hospital when you first came home, I will admit I though, "Man, that would be overwhelming" and I prayed for you every day for strength to fulfill all God called you to do. And He did!

Those verses you shared have also given me much strength during times I felt I couldn't go on. They really apply to Blaine's latest medical crisis.

All these difficult things we go to really build our faith, don't they? We learn that we can completely trust God and that He is faithful to us. We see how true His promises in scripture are to us on a very personal level.

Thanks for sharing your story.


Amy Jo said...

Oh, Andrea, your story brought me to tears. I know our journeys are different in so many ways, but I have been challenged beyond belief in ways I never expected. I know the depth of fear and worries and helpless that come up and I know how faithful God is to always bring us through the fires and make us stronger through the process. It can be SO scary and HARD, but so worth it all. I'm thankful for the faith and love God has blessed you with - and your willingness to share your journey with others.
To God be the glory.
Sweetest blessings, Amy

Andrea Hill said...

I knew before I started reading that post that it was going to be good. I didn't think it made me cry like this. Man, what an open post and how honest and heartfelt. Once again I didn't know so much of what was going on when you were at the hospital and man I wished I could have been there for you. Wow, not just E is a fighter but your whole family is. I am glad you followed up again on the previous post to give parents hope on adopting HIV children. I have to admit that your E. was a very special and unique case. Because had you not come to E's rescue, he would have died there alone like some of those precious other kids already did because they couldn't be adopted fast enough. I do share on thing with you that totally freaked me out was the MERSA/staph infection. Amira had that too when she had her horrible molluscum under her eye and come to find out that the MERSA was in her nose too way before we ever picked her up. They had her on IV's of antibiotics for 3 days. I think that really did freak me out much more than the HIV would ever do.