Category Archives: Other Topics

Cristina, born with HIV, speaks with Alicia Keys

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Filed under Family Stories, HIV/AIDS News, Other Topics

Take 2 Minutes to Help Russian Orphans Caught in the Adoption Ban

On Sunday, Father’s Day here in America, but Monday in Russia, two men will determine if thousands of Russian orphans will grow up in a family or in an institution. Hundreds of them had already met their families. Many of these precious orphaned children are living with HIV. In fact, at least 20 Russian orphans with HIV had American families in process to adopt them when the adoption ban went into effect.

The G8 Summit is in a few days and although our Congress and Senate have been AMAZING help to families in the adoption process, President Obama has yet to respond. If you would like to write him a note to let him know this matters to you and that it needs to matter to him, that would be great! The link to his correspondence page is below, just click and fill in the info. I placed my comment in the Subject that says Administration at the very bottom under Non Policy Comments. This only takes 2 minutes of your time.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments

Here is a sample comment, although it is always best to personalize:

Dear President Obama,

I am saddened to know that you have yet to respond to letters written to you about the Russian Adoption Ban that 170 Members of Congress and the Senate have, in a rare show of UNIFIED support, signed requesting your involvement in finding a solution to reuniting the Russian orphans that were promised homes with American families. Please make sure this item makes it on your agenda and is discussed with President Putin at the Summit Meeting. Take just one moment and think of the love you had for Malia and Sasha the moment they were placed in your arms. Now think how you would feel if after holding them and loving on them for days, they were taken from you. Your heart would break as it is now for many American families. I know several of those families, all of which were in the process of adopting children with disabilities such as Down Syndrome and HIV. These are children who may never know the love of a family if they remain in Russian orphanages. It is an urgent human rights matter that Russian orphans with disabilities have the opportunity to be adopted by Americans and other international families. 

The Summit meeting is fast approaching. Please make sure this item makes it on your agenda and is discussed with President Putin at the Summit Meeting.

 

Other ways you can help:

‘Like’ 300 Broken Promises on FB to support the families in process.

Support The Dark Matter of Love film campaign and video.

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Grab the Waiting Child Slideshow Button

Please help advocate for orphans with HIV by adding the photolisting slideshow (see left sidebar) to your blogs and social media. Please contact me if you would like help adding the slideshow to your websites or if the slideshow is too wide for your sidebar. In blogger, I believe you add an html widget (not a slideshow widget).

Here are the Codes:

STANDARD SLIDESHOW CODE:

<object type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” data=”http://www.slideroll.com/player.swf?s=0jjqnyh0&nocache=1&nologo=0&#8243; id=”slideshow” base=”http://www.slideroll.com&#8221; width=”250″ height=”250″ wmode=”transparent” scale=”noscale” salign=”tl” allowScriptAccess=”always” allowNetworking=”all”> <param name=”base” value=”http://www.slideroll.com&#8221; /> <param name=”movie” value=”http://www.slideroll.com/player.swf?s=0jjqnyh0&nologo=0&#8243; /> <param name=”s” value=”0jjqnyh0″ /> <param name=”scale” value=”noscale” /> <param name=”salign” value=”tl” /> <param name=”wmode” value=”transparent” /> <param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true” /> <param name=”allowScriptAccess” value=”always” /> <param name=”allowNetworking” value=”all” /><!– embedded thumbnail –><a href=”http://slideroll.com/?s=0jjqnyh0&#8243; target=”_blank”><img src=”http://slideroll.com/users/group708/user708504_20110217224539/thumbs/proj440300.jpg&#8221; alt=”Adoption Photolisting” /><br />View Photo Slideshow</a><!– end thumbnail –> </object>

WordPress.com: (via Gigya) REMOVE THE SPACES FOR END-CAPS

[ gigya src=http://www.slideroll.com/player.swf?s=0jjqnyh0 ]

Google Gadget URL:

http://www.slideroll.com/google-gadget.php?s=0jjqnyh0

Facebook Static FBML (?) for Pages:

<fb:swf swfsrc=’http://www.slideroll.com/player.swf’ imgsrc=’http://slideroll.com/users/group708/user708504_20110217224539/thumbs/proj440300.jpg’ flashvars=’s=0jjqnyh0&cs=1′ wmode=’transparent’ swfbgcolor=’ffffff’ waitforclick=’false’width=’250′ height=’250′ salign=’tl’ scale=’showall&#8217; /><div align=”center” style=”width: 250px; color: #999;”>   Click image to view slideshow.</div>


NEW MYSPACE CODE:

<div align=”center”><object type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” data=”http://www.slideroll.com/player.php?s=0jjqnyh0&#8243; id=”slideshow” base=”http://www.slideroll.com&#8221; width=”250″ height=”250″ wmode=”transparent” scale=”noscale” salign=”tl”> <param name=”movie” value=”http://www.slideroll.com/player.php?s=0jjqnyh0&#8243; /> <param name=”allownetworking” value=”internal” /> <param name=”allowScriptAccess” value=”never” /> <param name=”enableJSURL” value=”false” /> <param name=”enableHREF” value=”false” /> <param name=”saveEmbedTags” value=”true” /> <param name=”base” value=”http://www.slideroll.com&#8221; /> <param name=”wmode” value=”transparent” /> <param name=”salign” value=”tl” /> <param name=”scale” value=”noscale” /> <param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true” /> </object></div>


Simple Embed Code:

<div align=”center”>http://www.slideroll.com/player.php?s=0jjqnyh0</div>

ALTERNATE JAVASCRIPT INCLUDE:

<script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://slideroll.com/slideroll.php?s=0jjqnyh0″></script><span style=”display: none;”><a href=”http://slideroll.com/?s=0jjqnyh0″>View Photo Slideshow</a></span>


NOTE: If your slideshow runs slowly, remove the wmode=”transparent” and <param name=”wmode” value”transparent” /> tags from the code.

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Filed under Children Waiting for Families, Media, Non-Profit Organizations, Other Topics

Two Opinions on Disclosure

Here are 2 stories written by 2 different families on opposing sides of the disclosure topic.

Written by a family who chooses to disclose their child’s HIV status:

When my husband and I were considering adopting our daughter, who has HIV, one of the first things that we discussed was the issue of disclosure. Whom would we tell? How would we go about telling people? I had volunteered for five summers at a camp for children with/from families dealing with HIV. I had also worked for two years as a case manager at an AIDS service organization. I had witnessed many, many individuals and families who kept the status of their HIV+ family member secret, and I had watched many individuals and families struggle greatly with the stress of doing so. I met children who lived in fear of accidentally “outing” an HIV+ sibling or parent. I met HIV+ children who lived in terror of their friends finding out their secret and abandoning them. I met parents who felt that they had no one to trust and who carried the burden of their and/or their child’s status alone. My husband and I considered these scenarios carefully, both to determine what we wanted for our child but also what we wanted for ourselves. We felt that living with HIV was not just our child’s issue; it would become a family issue, and it would affect the emotional climate of our family.

What we determined was that we did not want our child to live in fear. We did not want her to fear that her friends and the people in her life only loved a part of her and that they would disappear if they knew all of her. We did not want her to live with a huge secret. We did not want her to wonder what people would think if they knew she had HIV. We wanted our child to be secure in the knowledge that the people in her life loved and accepted her, all of her, exactly as she is that no one in her life is afraid of her. In addition, we didn’t want our younger children to feel that our family lived with a secret that might destroy us if it were found out. We did not want our kids to feel responsible for being the gatekeepers of such a secret. We did not want our children, any of them, to feel isolated and alone with the stress of living with HIV. And finally, neither my husband nor I felt comfortable with the idea of perpetuating the stigma of HIV by living as though it was something that needed to be a secret. We are familiar with the argument that HIV isn’t a secret but that it is personal information that shouldn’t be shared. We asked ourselves whether we would disclose that one of our children had cystic fibrosis or diabetes or any other health issue that would affect our children’s lives and emotions. Our answer was yes, we would, because no one blames children for having these illnesses, and everyone expects that the child and family living with these illnesses needs support. We feel that HIV is the same and that it’s the social stigma of HIV that makes it seem different. My husband and I did not want to have to come up with ways of stretching the truth when necessary. We did not want to have to lie if our child were to become ill and need to be hospitalized. We did not want those in our lives to feel betrayed if/when they found out that we had kept this information from them. We had the feeling that, if we told people that our child had HIV, it might be a big deal, but if we didn’t tell people and then they found out, it would most likely be a HUGE deal. We felt that the backlash from keeping such a secret would most likely be far greater than the reaction to an initial disclosure.

Most of our close friends and family members knew that we were sponsoring an HIV+ child. Disclosing to them consisted mainly of telling them that we would be adopting this child and offering the opportunity to discuss their concerns with us. I wrote up an information sheet about HIV, how it is transmitted (and how it is not transmitted), how it is treated, and the likely prognosis for our daughter. I offered this to our friends and family when we told them of our plans to adopt our daughter. No one took the information sheet, and with very, very few exceptions, everyone was extremely supportive. We presented the information in a straightforward manner and with the expectation that our friends and loved ones were already educated about HIV or would be willing to become educated. We did have some family members who were quite opposed to the idea and concerned that we were putting them, their children, ourselves, and our other children at risk. One family member was concerned about how it would affect her children if our child died. We handled people’s concerns by continuing to provide factual information in a calm manner while communicating clearly that our decision was our decision and that we were committed to adopting our daughter with or without their blessing. Although some family members remained opposed to the adoption to the very end, all of them have ended up welcoming our daughter into the family and none of the threats of ceasing contact with our family have materialized.

We had planned to homeschool our daughter, so we felt that the situation would be fairly well controlled. All the families in our homeschool group were aware of our daughter’s status before she came, and all were supportive. In the end, the best choice for our daughter was to go to school. We have been open with both of the schools she has attended, and the the administration and the teachers have been very supportive. We have presented the information in the context of the whole picture of our daughter and how her life experiences have affected her emotional and educational life. Our daughter has chosen not to disclose to her school friends. She has told me that she doesn’t trust her school friends well enough to disclose to them, and we recently had a very anxiety-inducing situation when our daughter was invited to spend the night with a school friend and was very anxious about her friend discovering her medication and asking about it. Although we talked about various ways of handling the situation and the medication was never discovered or commented on, we felt that this situation gave us a glimpse into what life would be like if we had chosen to keep our daughter’s status a secret, and we remain satisfied with our choice to disclose. Our daughter’s opinion is that although she chooses not to disclose to school friends, she is glad that “everyone else” knows that she has HIV and that they “aren’t afraid” of her.

My husband and I both know that disclosure is an issue that will affect different families in different ways, and we respect that different families will handle it differently. As a guest blogger for Positively Orphaned, I welcome the opportunity to share my family’s journey in the hope that it would be of benefit to other families who are considering this issue.

Written by a family who chooses NOT to disclose their child’s HIV status:

I am a very open person, and have been known to share probably more than is necessary throughout my life. In late 2006 my husband and I made a decision that would ultimately challenge and limit my open nature. Our decision was to adopt another child. This time we were adopting an HIV positive child and there was another layer of research and decision making to be done that reached far beyond the experience we had with our first adoption. One of the most important decisions to make was whether or not to disclose our child’s HIV status.

We started the process being fairly open about the fact that we were adopting an HIV positive child. A few friends, some colleagues at work and our immediate family were informed. Our news was always received with support and interest. We live in a very diverse and socially progressive part of the country and most of the people we interact with are well educated and knowledgeable about HIV/AIDS. We felt comfortable talking about it, and did not meet any ignorance within our closest circles.

Things started to change after we brought our daughter home. We learned that she was completely unaware of her own HIV status and really had no understanding of this disease. We began having regrets about our initial rush to disclose. We realized that we, too hastily, had made an important life decision about a small child that we did not even know. We did not feel confident that our disclosing had even had any impact on reducing the stigma. We simply could not find a compelling reason to disclose anymore.

I began doing some research to gather information about how children, whose status had been exposed by their parents while they were young, were faring as teenagers and adults. There was not much data to gather, and the little I did find was not very encouraging. Most of the adoptive families I have connected with during our process have chosen to disclose, but their children are young, just as mine are. I felt that I did not have insights from young adults on how their parents decision to disclose had affected their self image. We decided that we were not willing to take a risk with our daughter’s self image and her trust in us as her parents.

We spent the next many months getting to know her and falling in love with her. She began immersing herself in her new life and in school. In the summer we spent time with our extended family and unfortunately, it turned out that some of the family members who initially were understanding about her status were now treating her differently than they treated our other kids. It was subtle, but our daughter noticed it. I noticed it. It broke my heart. My relatives had a new baby and would not allow our daughter to touch her. The parents guarded over their baby and refused to interact with my daughter. It was shocking to me and once again I regretted ever having disclosed her status. We had spent countless hours educating this family about HIV prior to them meeting her. They even expressed quite a bit of knowledge about the disease themselves. Even with knowledge of the facts about HIV and stigma, the fear still abounds. Seeing the hurt and confused look on her little face that day made me vow to myself that I never again would use my daughter to educate others about HIV. This is not my job. If anyone asks me if my daughter is HIV positive, I answer honestly by saying that she is healthy- because she is.

My daughter is only 7 years old and going through an immense transition right now. Together with our Pediatric Infectious Disease doctor we are still in the early stages of explaining HIV to her. This is our priority right now. Informing those around us of her status is not important. They are not at risk, and I take comfort in knowing that the law is on our side. When she is a teenager and an adult I want her to look back on this time knowing that we focused on building her self confidence and empowering her to make strong decisions about her own life. That we protected her privacy, just as we protected her sibling’s and our own privacy. That we would not let her be known by her status and that the decision to disclose would be fully hers to make. I am not HIV positive and I do not presume to know what it is like to live with this disease. I can only try to guide her to a place where she can find the strength and the courage to be comfortable in her own body- with this disease. When she is mature enough to understand the medical and social aspects of this illness and is able to make an informed opinion about disclosure, it will be with the support of her parents.

We also do not regard our daughters HIV status as a secret, just as we do not regard our other child’s ADD status a secret. This is just private information. Should someone find out about anything private in our family we will certainly use that opportunity to educate. If one of our children tells someone about a sibling’s status, we will use that opportunity to teach our children about respecting other people’s privacy. We will not make a big deal out of it.

I have found that joining the effort to fight HIV stigma without disclosing my child’s status is not difficult. I have been involved in various efforts to remove the HIV immigration ban, I have met with policy makers as well as with HIV positive people in our community. I am in the process of starting a non-profit and with this will continue to do whatever I can to raise HIV awareness and fight discrimination. Perhaps one day my daughter will join me, but I will let it be entirely up to her.



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Fabulous Giveaway w/ more than 100 Prizes to Raise Money for Grant

Adeye, otherwise known as No Greater Joy Mom is hosting a fabulous giveaway which includes fantastic prizes such as a new Kindle, $100 Amazon gift card, $50 and $100 Gift Certificates, artwork, jewelry, Vera Bradley bag, quilts, girls clothing and accessories, and tons of other stuff – more than 100 prizes total. She is raising funds for an adoption grant for Vanya with HIV in Ukr*ine, to help him find an adoptive family. The giveaway ends April 13th, so CHECK IT OUT, spread the word and enter to help Vanya and win some fantastic prizes! It’s very easy to enter – even a $1 donation or blogging about the giveaway will get you entered into the giveaway.  At the time of this writing, Adeye has raised $7,000 with a goal of $20K.

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Life Expectancy for Children Born with HIV

One of the big questions I hear when people are considering parenting a child with HIV is “what will their life expectancy be?” Dr. McComsey says “relatively normal life expectancy” and Dr. Gallant says “close to normal”. Medical professionals don’t know the exact answer because children born with HIV/AIDS are nearing 30 years of age at the most (HIV/AIDS was first discovered in this country in the early 1980s). Sadly, many of the children born with HIV in the early days died of AIDS because there were no adequate treatment options. However, children born today with HIV have an excellent prognosis due to the antiretroviral medications. Studies regarding life expectancy are done on adults and it is extremely important to remember that the participants in these studies are often in vastly different situations than children growing up in adoptive families. For example, they have other risk factors that affect their life expectancy in addition to HIV such as poor nutrition, co-infections, IV drug use, homelessness, low socioeconomic status, unhealthy lifestyles and poor adherence to treatment.

Only the most recent studies are worth reading since HIV/AIDS research changes all the time as the treatment options get better. Studies from 2005 indicate anywhere from 6 years less than normal to 21 years less than normal. The average between these 2 extremes is 13.5 years less than the normal US lifespan (78) which is an average life expectancy of 64.5 years (2005). These studies are already 6 years old and the numbers get higher all the time as the medications get better. This means that  children born with HIV can live long enough to meet their grandchildren. The best thing we can do to increase life expectancy is encourage our children to lead a healthy lifestyle and diligently adhere to their medications.

TheBody.com

 

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Children Born with HIV who are Now Adults

There is a new section of links in the right column titled “Grew Up with HIV”.

Now that HIV/AIDS has been around for nearly 30 years, there are adults who have had HIV all their lives. Thankfully, they are speaking out about their lives and inspiring others. These people were born at a time when anti-retroviral medications were not yet available (before 1996) and they know the heartbreak of losing loved ones who did not live long enough to access ARVs. Those who survived the early days with very few treatment options eventually got access to ARVs and many lead normal healthy lives now. However, some adults in this same situation were not as lucky and their disease progressed to AIDS before ARV treatment was an option which has lead to health problems or cognitive issues. Others did not grow up in advantageous living conditions (some examples – parents who were not attentive to medication regimes, neglectful situations, and/or living with HIV+ parents in extremely low socio-economic positions without nutrition among other disadvantages)…their stories can also be found online, but I am choosing to feature individuals who grew up in optimal environments similar to those that adoptive families provide, as I feel their stories are most relevant to our topic. This post is open to comments and discussion.

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Hydeia Broadbent Interview

I interviewed Hydeia Broadbent and published the post on my old blog in February 2009. It’s not an active link anymore so I’m republishing the interview here with a few extras.

 

Interview With Hydeia Broadbent

Hydeia ~ Thank you so much for this opportunity to interview you. I admire you and your family so much. Your story is fascinating to me, as this website is all about finding homes, families and sponsorship for children with HIV/AIDS. To my knowledge, you may have been one of the very first babies in the United States born with HIV and adopted. What year were you born? Also, do you or did you know of any others born before you who had HIV and were adopted or fostered?

I was born in 1984 to a woman who was addicted to intravenous drugs. I was left in the hospital and turned over to the state of Nevada.  My family was told I was the first child born with HIV in the state of Nevada.  I don’t know of any children born before me who were adopted. My mother worked together with parents of children born after me to start a daycare center for children infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.

You and your family have been very open about your HIV status since you were first born, which was extremely rare in the 1980s and 1990s. Did you ever feel upset that your parents didn’t give you a ‘choice’ about disclosure?

I feel my parents made the right choice because I’ve seen so many kids my age dealing with depression and trying to cover up lies because they were keeping secrets about why they were at the hospital or why they were taking medicine. Being public showed our family who was loyal and which friends weren’t quite as trustworthy. Take me as I am! Being public made it easier for me as an adult dealing with dating because I never had to sit someone down and have the “ I have AIDS speech.” They already knew what they were getting into…well somewhat!

Things were much different 25 years ago then they are today, and although the stigma is still great, I can’t imagine how it was when you were growing up. Would you mind sharing any stories about how you were treated and how that compares with a child growing up with HIV now?

For me growing up, I really did not face any problems which I can remember. My mother and father dealt with some things, like my kindergarten teacher spraying me with bleach because I sneezed and she mistakenly thought the virus was air born! In another incident, people changed seats on an airplane because I told them I had AIDS after they nosily asked why I was taking medicine.  My mother played it off and said “oh look we have an extra seat – now we can stretch out and get some sleep”. My parents never made a big deal of things when people were acting weird because they did not want me to feel like something was wrong with me.

Do you remember any doctor’s predictions on how long your life expectancy would be? What is your prognosis now?

My prognosis now if fine; I just have to take care of myself and stay on top of my medicine and eat well.  When I was three, the doctors told my parents I would not make it past the age of five! I even coded blue a few times, but after living past what the doctors feared would be my final days, we decided that no one really knows when your time is up until your time is up.

You must have been involved in many clinical and drug trials? How have you handled all the medication over the years? Do you get pill fatigue? Have you been able to take a ‘break’ from meds?
Some people who are infected with HIV/AIDS are able to not take medication for a while without any real health problems but I am not one of them. I tried taking a break a few years ago but my viral load got too high.  When I was younger, taking medicine was something I always did and never knew anything different so I did not complain about taking pills until I got older and wanted a break. Now I would rather take pills everyday instead of being in the hospital and kept from my everyday life.
I understand you have been an AIDS activist since you were very young. Can you tell us about that experience?
I love being an activist and using my voice and life to try and help as many people as I can. I am willing to work with as many people as possible because my story might stop someone from becoming infected. Also if I can help someone who just found out they are infected or a person who may be sick and depressed and feel like giving up, I find it gives hope to people to look at my life and see that I am 25 and no one believed I would be here today!  Over the years I have gone to so many places I cannot name them all, and I have been on all types of television shows and in magazines, but what I love most is speaking to youth and answering questions they have which they do not feel they can ask their parents.

How old were you when you started dating? Can you tell us a bit about the transition of becoming a teenager, an adult and how HIV relates to an already confusing time of adolescence and dating?

I really did not date much when I was a teenager because I was traveling and going to various conferences. I only went to a public high school for my senior year so that kept me from the drama most teens go through at that age. My first boyfriend was when I was about 16 and we dated for about a year and he traveled with me a few times.  I have been with my present boyfriend on and off since 2003. He travels with me when he can and he comes to my doctor appointments with me and picks up my prescriptions for me when I do not feel well or when I am traveling. He is a big part of my everyday life.
Do you think you might have a family some day?
I believe I will give birth to a child in a few years when I own a home and have some more money saved, then maybe a year or two later I would like to adopt a child because so many kids here in America need homes.

Have you ever had any problems receiving medical care including medications? I think some people worry that their adopted children will have comprehensive coverage until they are 18, yet are concerned about health insurance as they become adults.
No I have been okay with receiving health care and getting my medications but I have had close calls before where I was unsure if I was going to be able to get health care. Sometimes it is very scary when wondering where you are going to get health care or help paying for medication, but there are now so many outreach programs and centers that provide help or can point you in the right direction.

Hydeia Broadbent was one of the earliest pediatric HIV patients at a time when only a handful of children had the infection. At the time, AIDS was just being named and HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, had not yet been discovered. To date, about 9,000 children have contracted the virus from their mothers in the United States and more than 2.3 million worldwide. Hydeia is a living testament to the incredible progess that has been made in HIV research and treatment. More information about Hydeia’s life can be found in the mother/daughter memoir You Get Past The Tears (synopsis) and you can also see her on Extreme Home Makeover. She can be reached through HydeiaBroadbent.com.  Many thanks to Ms. Broadbent for her time and for her honesty and insight.  I hope that this interview will show the excellent quality of life of people born with HIV and lead some adults to a child with HIV in need of parental care.

Here are the extras:

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HIV Adoption Forum February 12th in Chicago

Project Hopeful – HIV Adoption Forum Invitation

Project HOPEFUL in partnership with University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital Adoption Clinic are pleased to offer their first Parent Forum of 2011. These parent forums have been hugely successful educational tools for parents and extended family members who desire to learn more about HIV/AIDS and adoptive parenting.

Come join us February 12th from 10am-noon at the University of Chicago where attendees will benefit from expert medical knowledge regarding the latest in HIV/AIDS treatment and care, along with the opportunity to have specific questions answered by University of Chicago medical staff. Project HOPEFUL will offer real-life practical insights into adopting and raising children who are positive. This parent forum is designed to offer prospective adoptive families a realistic understanding of the joys and challenges of parenting a child or children living with HIV/AIDS.

Topics University of Chicago Adoption Team will Discuss:

  • Medical, developmental, and psychosocial aspects of adoption
  • Thriving with HIV in 2011

Topics Project HOPEFUL will discuss:

  • Day-to-day experiences
  • Medications and medical visits
  • Educating family and friends
  • Preparing for adoption

The session will also feature open Q&A time allowing attendees to question the panel  along with several experienced adoptive parents.

To register for the forum simply click HERE to use the Donate page. Fill out the form and add “Univ of Chi Forum” in the comments section at the bottom of the page. Please be sure to indicate the number of attendees in your party. Registration is only $10.00 per family.

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Men (& Singles) Adopting Children with HIV

Men can adopt internationally, whether single, gay or straight.

Following is an extensive list of country programs which may be open to men and other adopting parents who are not in a traditional married relationship. This article was written in January 2011 and things change in the international adoption world very quickly. Please contact me with any corrections to this information so I can try to keep this article updated. Always do your own research and be diligent in your quest for correct and current information. For example, do not believe that a country program is closed to male adoption because you saw that on one website; you must investigate every possible resource by contacting every agency you can find that works in that country and contacting the governmental source of the information before crossing an adoption program off your list. Adoption.state.gov lists the adoption authority in each country and the embassy can also provide official information about adoptive parent eligibility requirements and licensed agencies in your country of citizenship. Requirements are often agency specific, so if you find an agency you want to work with which does not indicate that men can adopt – ask them to make an exception for an HIV positive orphan or keep searching.

If you are looking for a proven country program which is placing HIV+ children for adoption, choose one of the countries below which is underlined. If you have a pioneering spirit and you are open to trying a new country program, here is a starter (not exhaustive) list of countries to research further. Keep in mind that not all adoption programs are open to people residing in all countries. Please be in touch and I will help you research single father adoption further.

India is open to single men and women and definitely has HIV-positive children registered for international adoption. Try WACAPJourneys of the Heart Adoption Services or Illien Adoptions in America or CAFAC and Children’s Bridge in Canada.  Single Ichild Yahoo Group. Canadians Adopting From India Forum.

Colombia (not Columbia) is open to single men and there are HIV+ children waiting. Contact CHSFS, La Vida or AdopolisAdopt Colombia Yahoo Group. Swedish Colombian Adoption Yahoo Group -En Lista for de som har /kommer att adoptera fran Colombia. Dutch Colombian Adoption Yahoo Group – Adoptie Colombia voor en door aspirant ouders.

Philippines allows single men to adopt according to Children of All Nations. Also see Wide Horizons for Children, maybe Crossroads, Welcome House / Pearl S. Buck Int’l, and Madison Adoption Associates indicates that families are needed for children with HIV, although they specify single women (inquire and show them other agencies which allow men as well as this site which does not restrict men). Hand In Hand has placed HIV+ children from a different country.  Bethany Christian Services (experience with HIV) indicates that single applicants will need pre-approval for a waiting child. Holt International (experience with HIV) indicates single applicants are accepted for children with special needs – perhaps they would be able to locate a child with HIV lacking parental care. If you are in Canada, try Formons Une Famille adoption agency which is currently processing special needs requests only.  Formons Une Famille Philippines Yahoo Group (Canada). Adoption_Phillipines (in French). Adopt Philippines International (if you are outside USA), Adopt Phillipines USA.

Uganda HIV+ children are in need of international parents and single men are allowed to adopt. Some adoption agencies you could start inquiring with include Adoption Advocates International, Americans For African Adoption (AFAA), Children of All Nations and Nightlight Christian Adoptions. Independent adoptions are also allowed. Uganda Adoptions Yahoo Group and Ugandan Adoptive Families.

Estonia is an excellent option for single dads who wish to adopt. There are currently children with HIV waiting for adoptive parents and there have been successful HIV adoptions from this country. Men are welcome to adopt Estonian children. Contact Adoption Hope International. See the Estonian Adoption group and the AdoptingFromEstonia group.

Latvia is another excellent option for adopting single fathers. Children with HIV are currently registered for international adoption. Men are welcome to adopt Latvian children. Some of the agencies to start with include About A Child, One World Adoption Services and Children of All Nations (one in process).

Costa Rica allows single men. See Wide Horizons for Children or Welcome House / Pearl S. Buck to find out if children with HIV are in need of parental care.

Bulgaria is open to single male adoption but at the time of this writing, there were no waiting children with HIV. An adoption agency in Canada such as Sunrise might be able to partner with Vesta for Bulgaria. There are many American adoption agencies working in this country, although the ones that specifically mention “singles” (opposed to “single women”) include: Lifeline, Carolina Adoption Services, Adoptions Together, Hopscotch Adoptions, About A Child, Adopolis, MLJ and Gladney.  That’s just a starter list. Hopefully one of those will be able to represent you and locate an HIV+ child for you, but if not, there are other agencies to contact such as OWAS – point out to them that single men are not restricted by Bulgaria. Inquire with your country’s embassy such as the US Embassy in Bulgaria and Bulgaria’s adoption authority website Ministry of Justice. See the Bulgaria-Adopt Yahoo Group.

Ecuador Single men can adopt although I have not researched waiting children with HIV. Try Terre des Hommes Ontario if you are Canadian or CHSFS and Illien for Americans. All three agencies have experience with HIV adoption and might be able to locate an HIV+ child for you. The central authority is CNNA.gov.ec Consejo Nacional de la Ninez y Adolescencia (CNNA) National Council of Childhood and Adolescence. See also Ecuador-Adopt Yahoo Group and CanEc_Adoption Yahoo Group for Canadians.

Moldova At the time of this writing, The Family Network did not have parent requirements for Moldova on their website, Carolina Adoption Services,Spence-ChapinAdoption Miracle and Adoptions Together all indicated single women (which might be an agency not government preference). I think it’s worth contacting them “just in case” because this might be a potential country program for single men as adoption.state.gov does not state a gender preference. The US Embassy in Moldova or other Moldovan Embassies might also be able to provide you with concrete eligibility policies and point you in the right direction.   HIV-positive orphans ARE currently registered for international adoption (according to CAS). The adoption authority which makes the rules is the Ministry of Labour, Social Protection and Family and the various links lead here. See the Moldova Adoption Yahoo Group

Liberia allows single parents to adopt and does not state a preference between single fathers and single mothers. All Blessings International states that it is one of three adoption agencies licensed to place children with medical needs. The website states there are HIV+ children in the program. However, this particular agency only mentions single women – inquire as adoption.state.gov does not indicate that men are unwelcome. Adopt International accepts male applicants. AdoptingFromLiberia and AdoptAfrica Yahoo Group.

Peru allows single dads to adopt. Children of All Nations has indicated that waiting children with HIV are currently registered for adoption. Other agencies to consider include CHSFSVilla Hope, Carolina Adoption Services, and Illien Adoptions International. The Yahoo Group is PeruAdopt and is open to US, Spain, Italy and other countries.

Haiti is open for single parent adoption (does not state men or women) and there have been HIV-positive children registered for international adoption in the past. Try Adoption-Link (which experience with HIV adoption and states that exceptions to parent criteria can be made for HIV-positive children), Love Beyond Borders or Carolina Adoption Services to start. There are many other agencies to inquire with although single men are not mentioned on their websites. If you are in Canada, try CAFAC or Sunrise. Outside of US and Canada, contact your country’s adoption authority or the Haitian adoption authority Institut de Bien Etre Social et de Recherches (IBESR) or your embassy such as US Embassy in Haiti. The HaitianAngels Yahoo Adoption Group and the Canadians Adopting From Haiti group might also be of assistance.

Jamaica can be a challenging adoption process according to the Yahoo group. Adopting parents in process say the best way to adopt from Jamaica may be to identify a child yourself and adopt independently. Plan on corresponding with the Jamaicans diligently and traveling there occasionally to keep the paperwork moving along. All single applicants are considered on a case by case basis according to adoption.state.gov. There is at least one HIV orphanage which may be able to help you identify a child. Child Development Agency (CDA) is the central adoption authority. CAFAC in Canada.

Belize is open to single men and women. There are waiting children with HIV currently registered.

Mexico allows single men to adopt according to adoption.state.gov. Try Carolina Adoption Services, International Child FoundationAcross the World Adoptions, All God’s Children, Adoption Related Services  or MLJ Adoptions . Be sure you are using an approved agency. I do not know of specific waiting children with HIV, but the agencies should be able to advise you. Children with special needs including infants are in need of international families. This link says same-sex couples can adopt jointly in Mexico City.

Democratic Republic of the Congo Singles are accepted, with no stated preference toward women. Try Hands Across the Water, One World Adoption Services, Wasatch International Adoption, MLJ and Compassionate Hearts (experience with HIV). Congo Adopt Yahoo Group. Our Hearts in Congo Yahoo Group (Canada?) Adopcion Congo (Spanish language)

Nicaragua MLJ states that single men can adopt from this country. Please inquire with the agency to find out if HIV+ children are in need of adoptive fathers. Nicaragua Adoption Yahoo Group.

Hong Kong does not state a preference between single women and men. I do not know if children living with HIV are registered for international adoption. You could inquire with Bethany Christian Services. The Yahoo Group is HK Adopt

Uzbekistan allows single applicants according to adoption.state.gov. The agency About A Child has an adoption program in this country and this agency has experience with HIV adoption (in other countries). Please inquire with the agency to determine if there are any Uzbek children with HIV in need of international parents. US Embassy in Uzbekistan. There are other agencies as well. See the Uzbekistan Adoption Yahoo Group.

United States of America allows single men and women of any sexual orientation to adopt openly. There are less than 200 HIV-positive babies born in USA per year and most stay with their biological families. Only a couple of children per year seem to be in need of adoptive families. Contact your county or state foster-adopt organization keeping in mind it is rather unlikely you will be matched with child with HIV. Here is a basic overview of the process.

Poland allows single adoptive parents. BVS Adoption Program indicates “singles” without a preference to men or women.  Saint Mary International Adoptions, Huminska’s Anioly and Children’s House International Adoptions are some more agencies working in this country although these sites state single women. However, CHI says the adopting parent requirements are flexible for children with special needs. Catholic Charities may also be able to assist.  At the time of this writing, siblings with HIV were waiting. You may want to indicate to the agency that men are not excluded as per the Poland Embassy in Washington DC, adoption.state.gov and by confirming with the Polish Adoption Authority (contact info at the bottom of the previous link). According to this link and this link, some of the cooperating countries include Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, USA, Italy, Spain, Finland, Norway and Austria (maybe others). If you are located in a different country, the last link indicates they are open to cooperating with additional licensed agencies by signing a mutual cooperation agreement. See the Polish Adoptions Yahoo Group and the Adoption-Poland Group.

Africa Sunrise Adoption in Canada has an HIV program for several countries in Africa. Inquire to see if singles are accepted into the program.

Russia There are MANY orphans with HIV in need of parents right now. There are very limited regions from which men can adopt. I do not know if orphans with HIV are waiting in those regions. I’m happy to help research this topic. Try Adoption Center of Washington and Cradle of Hope. Please let me know if you know of any other agencies. Americans cannot adopt from this country as of January 1, 2013.

Hungary allows single adoptive parents (particularly for older children and those with special needs) and does not state a preference between men and women. Try contacting About A Child or Children’s House International to find out if children with HIV are waiting. Hungarian Adoption Yahoo Group.

Brazil is open to single men and women. I do not know if HIV+ children are currently registered for international adoption. Contact CAFAC in Canada. In America, try One World Adoption Services. Check adoption.State.gov for updates as this country is working on Hague.  This might eventually be a good option for homosexual couples who want to adopt openly as gay adoption is legal in Brazil (if you can find an agency to work with. For example, AWAA is in this country but does not accept applications from single males). OWAS states that it does not discriminate based on marital status or sexual orientation and has a testimonial by a single dad who adopted from Brazil. The agency is located in GA. At the time if this writing, the adoption laws for GA: LGBT individuals can legally adopt and there are no explicit prohibitions against same sex couples from adopting jointly. See the Summary of Laws by Jurisdiction on Wikipedia to be sure LGBT adoption is legal in your state, province or country before inquiring. Gay adoption is legal in most provinces in Canada. If you are outside of Canada or US, you’ll need to do some research to see if Brazil has an adoption agreement with your country. Start your research with your country’s adoption authority and with the State Judiciary Commission of Adoption (CEJA): see “Brazil’s Central Authority” for contact info. If you happen to be in an area where gay adoption is legal such as Belgium, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, and some areas of Canada, US, Australia, etc - perhaps you can adopt openly from Brazil (wild speculation here).

Vietnam At the time of this writing, USA does not have a bilateral agreement with Vietnam so Americans cannot adopt. Vietnamese adoption is still open to citizens of other countries including Canada. Contact Terre des Hommes Ontario which states in a January 20, 2011 update that, although the program is going through major changes, “adoption of special needs children will not be interrupted during this time”. Also Choices in BC, Formons une Famille in Quebec mentions children with HIV/AIDS and mentions “singles” without specifying men or women. TDH Quebec also states “singles” and they will discuss special needs adoptions only at this time. HIV+ children are waiting in Viet Nam. Also see the Vietnam Adoption Canada Yahoo Group. If you are outside of Canada, inquire with your adoption authority to find out if your country has a bilateral agreement with Vietnam.

Panama I have heard of one HIV+ child who has been adopted from Panama by a married American couple. The family indicates there are more waiting children with HIV in Panama. According to the US Embassy in Panama, single persons may adopt a child of either gender. The American agencies working in Panama include Hands Across The Water, Families Through International Adoption and European Adoption Consultants. If you would like to provide official confirmation to an agency that single guys can adopt, you could request the policy directly from Panama’s Adoption Authority (in Spanish language of course): adopciones@mides.gob.pa

El Salvador Single parents are eligible to adopt. If you are American, try Americans for International Aid and Adoption first, followed by All Blessings International (although it states ‘single women’) or Villa Hope (does not specify if singles are allowed). Here is the adoption authority website which lists agencies for citizens of various countries, and here is the US Embassy in El Salvador. Hopefully the agency of your choice will be able to advise you if children with HIV are waiting. ElSalvadorAdopt Yahoo Group and El Salvador Adoption Group

South Africa is open to single adoptive moms and dads. As of summer 2012, this country has only recently opened to parents from USA. The two American adoption agencies with pilot programs are currently Bethany Christian Services and Spence Chapin. Canadians and citizens of other countries which have an adoption agreement with South Africa can also adopt. If you are in a different country and want to find out if you can adopt, you could inquire with your country’s adoption authority and South Africa’s adoption authority Department of Social Development, Registrar of Adoptions and/or The Commissioner of Child Welfare. There are HIV+ orphans in need of parental care. Three organizations which may be able to assist in identifying a waiting child include Acres of Love, Shepherd’s Keep and The Love of Christ (TLC). According to adoption.state.gov; “Both married couples and partners in a life partnership (including same-sex partners) can jointly adopt a child and a single person may also adopt individually.”  However, discretion is advised as many of the agencies and orphanages are faith based. In other words, LGBT adoption is legal in South Africa, so if you live in an area where gay adoption is legal AND which has an adoption agreement with South Africa, you might be able to adopt openly (if you can find an appropriate agency, court and orphanage). In Canada, there are a couple of agencies currently working in South Africa, but none of them (I have found yet) indicate accepting single male applicants. Another option is to try to find out if independent adoption is an option in that country.

St. Vincent Creative Adoptions is the only US adoption agencies working in St. Vincent and it states “single women”. If you are Canadian, you could inquire with CAFAC (experience with HIV adoption)  to see if single men can adopt children with HIV although their website also indicates “single women”.  However, adoption.state.gov indicates “single parents may adopt” which does not exclude men, so it is worth inquiring.  I don’t personally know of any orphans living with HIV in need of parental care in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, but I’m happy to help anyone research this topic. SVG Adopt Yahoo Group

Lesotho HIV+ children are in need of international parents. I do not know if single men are welcome to apply but you may be able to find out from these contacts. If you reside in one of these four countries, please contact your approved agency: in US contact Americans for African Adoption, in Canada contact Sunrise Adoption Services, in the Netherlands, contact  Stichting Kind en Toekomost: skt@xs4all.nl and in Sweden contact Adoption Centrum: birgitta.l@adoptionscentrum.se~ Dutch Yahoo Group: Adoptie Uit Lesotho

Armenia allows single applicants. Inquire with Carolina Adoption Services. The adoption authority and here to find out if children with HIV are registered for international adoption. Armenian Adoption Interest Yahoo Group

Guyana might be a possibility as single individuals are eligible to adopt. Try World View Adoption Association in Canada. Hopefully an adoption agency will be able to inform you if children living with HIV are waiting for families.

You may find it helpful to join online support groups such as Aussie Singles Adopt, HIV Adoption, Single Adopt Vietnam, Single Adopt NY, UK Single Adopters, Children’s Bridge Singles (Canada), Irish Singles Adopt, Gay Dads, Germany or Denmark Single Adoption, Dutch Single Adoption – Adoptie Singles Vlaanderen, Maybe Baby Seattle, Pop Luck Club, etc.

There are many little-known adoption programs from which men can adopt. They are listed above for adopting parents to research further. This post is relevant for single men, single women and all potential adoptive parents adopting as singles including gay, straight, lesbian and homosexual individuals as well as LGBT couples and heterosexual unmarried couples who adopt as single parents.

This document is a work in progress. There are many country programs I am researching and I hope to update this on an ongoing basis, so please be in touch with any information you find in your research so I can update this page. Thank you so much.

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