The Blanket Party: May 1st update

The Blanket Party was three months ago, but now and then a donation still trickles in, most recently $500 from a groups of preschoolers!! That donation and the many others from all you kind people have brought the total to $4008. Thank you so much, everyone!

$2500 for a washer has already been delivered to the Sodo Hospital in Ethiopia. The staff there ended up deciding that a commercial washer would not be the best way to meet the laundry need. Electricity comes and goes there, and the specialized parts needed for any repairs would be expensive and slow to arrive. Instead they were able to purchase two wringer-style washers (much easier to repair as needed) plus one dryer, which should be of great assistance especially during the rainy season when it can take days for clothes to dry on the clothesline.

The rest of the money will be divided equally between baby blankets, the projects of Dr. Mary , (a devoted worker there in Ethiopia), and the Soddo Hospital surgery fund. That fund was set up for the many patients who cannot afford to have surgery. $80 is all it takes, but most people cannot afford even that.

My sister leaves for Ethiopia May 30th, and my parents leave in early July. If you’re so inclined, please pray that their preparations go smoothly and that their work there is productive. And thanks so much to all of you who were moved to help people in need.

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Do you know? The facts about HIV

I have a friend named Erin whose family looks a lot like mine: a mix of adopted African and Asian kids along with several kids born to her. One difference, however, is that two of her precious Ethiopian children, Belane and Solomon, are HIV+. She asked readers of her blog to share these facts about HIV with two other people. Maybe some of you will consider passing on this information as well.

Today I have heard from several different parents of HIV+ children who are facing negative reactions to their adoptions based on the stigma and ignorance surrounding HIV. It is extremely frustrating to me that in 2008 there is still so much unfounded fear caused by a lack of education, that results in nasty, ugly and mean treatment of people who are HIV+ and their families. The reason people in the U.S. are not educated about HIV is that most people don’t care, because most people in this country are not affected by it. People still see it as the problem of homosexuals, drug users and people in Africa.

The reality is, HIV/AIDS is everyone’s problem. It is a devastating problem in Africa and many countries, but there are many, many Americans living with this disease as well. In fact, new cases of HIV in the U.S. are now being seen in the largest numbers in heterosexual women. HIV/AIDS is a HUMAN problem.

Living with this nasty disease is hard enough, but compounding that with the misguided fear and judgment of society is beyond tragic, and as the mom of two HIV+ children, it is sad and frustrating.

So, if you are one of the many who check in to this blog every day, I am asking you to do me a favor. I want you to tell at least two people about HIV.

Spread the word that…

– HIV can NOT be spread through causal/household contact.

HIV is not spread through hugging, kissing, shaking hands, sharing toys, sneezing, coughing, sharing food, sharing drinks, bathing, swimming or any other causal way.

It has been proven that HIV and AIDS can only be spread through sexual contact, birth, breastfeeding and blood to blood contact (such as sharing needles).

– HIV is now considered a chronic but manageable disease. With treatment, people who are HIV+ can live indefinitely without developing AIDS and can live long and full lives.

– People who are HIV+ deserve to be treated with love, respect, support and acceptance as all people do.

If anyone wants more info on transmission, there is great info on the Center for Disease Control website at http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/transmission.htm

Help me spread the truth about HIV, and take a tiny stab at the stigma against HIV. Tell your friend when you talk on the phone. Tell your spouse. Tell your parents. Post it on your blog and ask other people to tell their readers. Ask them to pass it on as well. I would love to see this spread beyond the adoption blogs.

Even if you have no real interest in HIV/AIDS, even if you are not involved in adoption, even if you don’t think you know anyone who is HIV+… education and knowledge are always a good thing. It is so easy to say to someone, “hey, guess what I learned today?” and it is even easier to put it on a blog or in an email.Do it for me. Do it for the other adoptive families and the HIV+ orphans that are waiting for homes. Do it for Belane and Solomon. Do it for all of the other people on this planet living with HIV. If everyone that reads this blog tells at least two people, that is a whole bunch of people we can reach and a little bit of difference we can make.

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