About adopting children with HIV

HIV Quiz Giveaway

Congratulations to Elizabeth, the winner of an exclusive ‘Send Me’ tee in the HIV Quiz from our post on Friday! Your name was drawn from the list of entries giving the correct answers to the questions.

Here again is the quiz, along with the correct answers:

1.) What are the three main ways HIV is transmitted?

Through unprotected sexual contact, through injection drug use or the sharing of needles, or through mother to child transmission during birth or breastfeeding.

2.) What does HIV stand for?

Human Immunodeficiency Virus

3.) What does AIDS stand for?

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome

4.) Are children with HIV/AIDS who are receiving proper medical care expected to die early?

No. Individuals with HIV/AIDS who are receiving proper medical care are expected to live a normal lifespan.

5.) Has HIV ever been transmitted among family members under normal living circumstances?

No.  It has NEVER been transmitted among family members under normal living circumstances.


Our thanks to everyone who participated!

The Truth is Contagious. Spread it!

If you’ve seen our Toyota 100 Cars for Good Campaign video, it may be that you’ve wondered “’Send Me?’… Send them where?”  Perhaps you’ve been wondering how all of the threads of Project HOPEFUL tie together.

Project HOPEFUL is dedicated to educating people about HIV/AIDS and helping prospective adoptive parents understand the practicalities of raising children with the virus. We have over five years experience successfully enabling individuals and families to adopt children with HIV. Our parent workshops held in partnership with the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital Adoption Center have been hugely successful. We are pleased to say that over 95% of families who attend our forums complete adoptions of children with HIV/AIDS.

Project HOPEFUL seeks to support adoption agencies as well. Project HOPEFUL can work with agency staff to coordinate webinars for families where Project HOPEFUL staff members can answer questions about adoption and HIV+ parenting. Using our Your Questions Answered booklet as a mini curriculum and following our open Q&A format we can equip prospective adoptive parents with basic facts about HIV/AIDS and help clear up any myths surrounding the virus or parenting these children.

Project HOPEFUL is also working to partner with Local Pediatric Infectious Disease (PID) specialists in every state available to replicate our educational workshops like the ones we hold with the University of Chicago in order provide access for prospective adoptive families to the medical professionals in their area.

We at Project HOPEFUL believe that we can make an enormous impact on the future of children around the world who are HIV+ through our efforts to eradicate social stigma in every state, but we lack funding.  One way that you can make a great difference is to visit our store. […]

Parenting Without A Parachute

Project HOPEFUL was featured on the Parenting Without a Parachute blog. You can read the article HERE.

HOPEFUL Profile: Scott Pusey and Family

Last November our organization “Vision to Becca” attended the Mid-Atlantic Orphans Summit in Hershey, PA where we met Carolyn and Project Hopeful. We all chose different break out sessions and my wife happened to chose the HIV session. When we met afterward my wife told me all about it and all of the great things she learned about Orphans with HIV. She also commented that the people doing the presentation we Extremely Passionate about what they told everyone… Our kind of people…lol.

To be honest, before hearing what my wife told me about Orphans with HIV I had never really thought of it or considered it too much… Or had I???

The previous May/June I was on a Missions trip in Southeast Asia, where my organization is working. We helped an american family move back to care for the worst case medical needs of orphans. Before we left they were asked to take in their first child, a 2 year old girl that was just left alone in the world because her mom died from AIDS the month before. They had never cared for a child with HIV before so we prayed with them long and hard about it… And before we left they decided it was God’s will.
Several months past and God laid a burden on my heart for this little girl. I would pray for her and end up in tears… Pleading with God for her life. I contacted our friends about whether or not she was available for adoption. They told us that it was not… It seems that the girl had a known […]

State Associates Make A Difference

Project HOPEFUL has initiated a program called State Associations to expand our support system to reach families adopting across the US by replicating the successful Parent Forum we created in partnership with the University of Chicago Adoption Clinic. State Associate, Deanna Jones Falchook, is working with Duke University to bring educational resources, medical, and emotional support to North Carolina families. You can read all about the exciting advancements on the Project HOPEFUL NC Blog HERE.


If you are interested in becoming a Project HOPEFUL State Associate please contact Audrey Baker, audrey@projecthopeful.org, for more information.

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    Your Questions Answered: School Disclosure and Privacy Protections

Your Questions Answered: School Disclosure and Privacy Protections

Written by Jen Sloniger
Your Questions Answered is a blog series which addresses Project HOPEFUL blog readers’ most burning questions. Send your questions to: media@projecthopeful.org

Today we feature related questions from two of our readers :
QUESTION 1:What are the legal implications of sending your children affected by HIV to school? Do you have to offer this information publicly?

QUESTION 2: How do you handle negative and/or hysterical reactions [at school]?
~ Valerie
I’ll Address Andie’s question first because the answer takes a little more time.

Andie, According to a 1993 CDC article1, “no cases of HIV transmission in school have been reported, and current epidemiologic data do not justify excluding children with HIV infection from school or isolating them in school to protect others. Children with HIV infection should be able to participate in all school activities with the same considerations as other children, to the extent that their health permits.”

According to the same CDC article, “despite the large number of persons participating in contact sports, only one case of HIV transmission attributed to sports had been reported worldwide.”

That was in 1993. I hunted all over for any updated numbers but couldn’t find any.

Do you wanna know why I think that was? Because there AREN’T ANY.

Today, the ability for patients to receive HAART makes it extremely likely that those numbers haven’t changed since 1993 . So, if there was only ONE sport related case of transmission WORLDWIDE in 1993, and NO cases of transmission in school, it is safe to say there is no reason for parents to be concerned about transmission in school or during sports activities these days.

As Dr. Steven J. Anderson, Chair of the Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Sports Medicine, and team […]

Your Questions Answered: The Disclosure Decision

Written by: Jen Sloniger
Your Questions Answered is a blog series which addresses Project HOPEFUL blog readers’ most burning questions. Please submit your questions to: media@projecthopeful.org

Today’s question is always a hot one. Several people wrote to ask us:
QUESTION: How do you decide whether or not to disclose your child’s HIV+ status. Who should I tell; who shouldn’t I tell? What is it like to be a disclosing family?

Disclosure is a very personal thing. Many families choose to disclose or not to disclose based on factors like the type of community they live in, the strength of the support system of friends and family around them, their personality type, and many other things.

Of course, Project HOPEFUL is an organization which is filled with advocates, the overwhelming majority having made the decision to disclose our children’s status. If you asked our disclosing staff members I think they’d tell you that a main impetus for disclosing is the desire to flush out stigma. HIV/AIDS is no one’s dirty little secret. The issue of whether or not a family should hide their child’s leukemia, or diabetes, or down syndrome is a NON issue. I’ve never heard anyone talk about it being that child’s story which only they should share. Kids are born with many diseases yet it seems that HIV/AIDS is the singular chronic disease everyone wants to shame children for having or at least quiet everyone from talking about. No one bats an eye when a mother blogs about her child’s congenital heart defect. No one condemns her for sharing such personal information about her child without her child’s consent…. See my point?

Those of us who have disclosed did so knowing there were risks. We realized it might […]

Your Questions Answered: HIV and Reproduction

Written by: Jen Sloniger
Your Questions Answered is a blog series which addresses Project HOPEFUL blog readers’ most burning questions. Send your questions to: media@projecthopeful.org

Question: How does HIV affect an adult who is married (and therefore sexually active) to a person who is HIV-? How would the couple go about having a child who is healthy without compromising the health of the spouse who is HIV-?
A couple where one partner is HIV+ and the other is negative is called an HIV discordant couple. The good news for discordant couples is that there are options available and child-birthing IS possible for them. To help us answer today’s questions regarding conception and reproduction our good friend, Linda Walsh, NP, Clinical Director of the University of Chicago Adoption Center shares some information:
To answer the question about conception depends on which partner (woman or man) is infected with HIV as to what strategy will be utilized. Being on a stable ARV regimen, having an undetectable viral load, not having other STDs all decrease the risk of transmission, but do not eliminate it entirely.

There is a technique called sperm washing [for positive men], also artificial insemination is an option [for protection for either a negative man or a negative woman.] And there is some data on doing it the old fashioned way with an undetectable viral load, etc.

Most of my patients, who are young adults/adolescents, have not used the sperm washing technique. All have been young women who’ve had children that are thus far HIV negative. I have no knowledge of any of their partners becoming positive.
Avert.org tells us more about sperm washing:
This involves separating sperm cells from seminal fluid, and then testing these […]

Your Questions Answered: Injuries and Clean-Up

Written by: Jen Sloniger
We hope you enjoy the first post in our Your Questions Answered blog series. Please submit your questions to: media@projecthopeful.org

Today’s question comes from Rachel. She writes:

As a mom of 5 children, I know I’ve had situations where my children are bleeding and as I rush to help them, I inevitably get their blood on my clothing, skin, etc. As the mom of an HIV positive child, how do you handle these situations? Do you grab a pair of gloves first? Or do you take some kind of drug to counteract the HIV if you do end up directly
handling their blood?
Great question Rachel.

Families with HIV+ children practice Universal Precautions whenever there is a blood spill. However, it is a good idea for all families to model responsible handling of blood for their children no matter the HIV status of their family members. Kids need to learn that we never touch anyone’s blood. Teaching them about Universal Precautions enables them to offer assistance to injured persons in a safe and healthy way.

Because our family practices Universal Precautions we have a couple of kits set up in strategic places should we require them. Our main “Clean Up Kit”, as we call it, is in our kitchen. It contains a box of gloves, some antibiotic ointment, a variety of shapes and sizes of band-aids, and a few other common first-aid type ointments. I also keep baggies filled with some gloves, a few paper towels, and a variety of band-aids in my purse and in the glove box of my car.

In Universal Precautions it is suggested that an additional barrier be added between your skin and any body fluid from another […]

‘So what if we have 7 other kids?’

Carolyn Twietmeyer and her husband, Kiel, had seven children when they decided to adopt just one more. So how did they end up with six adopted children from Africa, including two who are HIV-positive? It wasn’t an easy road, Carolyn Twietmeyer writes — but it’s been worth it

Check out the Twietmeyer’s special blog post on the TODAYMoms Blog!

Parent Forum February 12th

Are you interested in learning more about adoptive parenting of children with HIV/AIDS? Project HOPEFUL and University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital Adoption Clinic have created an informative Parent Forum you won’t want to miss! Come learn from medical professionals and Project HOPEFUL staff. Extended family members are invited too.

Visit our WEBSITE to learn more and to register.


HOPE for Yordi

From the Herald News (Illinois)

HOPE for Yordi: Joliet family raising money to adopt girl from Ethiopia
May 29, 2008

By Denise Baran-Unland Special to the Herald News
With seven biological children of their own and room in their hearts for one more, the Twietmeyer family of Joliet decided to adopt their next child — a special needs girl from India.

But the Oak Park adoption agency they contacted suggested that they adopt an HIV-positive orphan from Ethiopia and the child’s two siblings, which the Twietmeyers did in July 2007.

The frustrations they encountered during the adoption process led them to found Project H.O.P.E.F.U.L (Helping Orphans and Parents Eliminate Further Unnecessary Loss…of time, dignity and Life) to assist families in adopting HIV-positive children. The family also worked with a Washington, D.C., lawyer to expedite the entry of adopted HIV positive children into the United States.

The Twietmeyers will soon finalize the adoption of another HIV-positive child, Yordi, who they say weighs only 39 pounds at age 10.
Quest to get Yordi
To raise the $8,000 they still need for travel expenses to and from Ethiopia to get her, Carolyn Twietmeyer said the family will host a garage sale and raffle of a hand-dyed batik quilt at their home May 29-31.

A family friend and her internationally adopted children created the quilt for the Twietmeyers’ raffle. Any money raised above and beyond their travel expenses will be given to another Project H.O.P.E.F.U.L. family.

Yordi herself will draw the winning name once she is safely home.

“We’re praying, God willing, to get her the end of June or the first part of July,” Carolyn said. “But it’s very expensive to do.”

The family recently received a $4,000 grant from Shaohannah’s Hope, an organization founded by contemporary Christian music artist […]