HIV Adoptions: Oh, Yes You Can!
Carolyn Twietmeyer called her husband at work one day and said she found the children they were supposed to adopt, and one of them is HIV positive. Kiel Twietmeyer didn’t really know how to respond. After about two weeks of contemplation the couple decided they had to go to Ethiopia to adopt the three siblings orphaned by AIDS. Before leaving to come home to the U.S., Carolyn took her son to visit his friends at the orphanage. It was during this visit that she met Selah, also orphaned by AIDS and living with stage four AIDS. Today, as the newest Twietmeyer child, Selah’s health has significantly improved with the help of antiretroviral drugs, a dose of hope, and lots of love from a blended family.
The idea of adopting a child with HIV isn’t rare. Margaret Fleming, founder of Adoption Link and Chances By Choice, an adoption agency for HIV/AIDS orphans, says there are many parents desiring to adopt a child with HIV. Today with the advancement of antiretroviral medications the lifespan of a child living with HIV has greatly increased. Mary Austin, an RN and adoption advocate with the agency says the virus is often times more manageable than diabetes. Margaret has adopted three children with HIV and Mary has adopted one child with HIV.
The United Nations reports there are 14 million AIDS orphans worldwide. 22 million people have died from AIDS with 74% of that population living in sub-Saharan Africa.