This week our founder Carolyn Tweitmeyer and her daughter Selah were on The Doctors.  The show was taped a few weeks ago but aired all over the country on Monday.  The segment can be watched in full at The Doctors site  and we encourage you to watch it.

The title of the segment was “should a child’s HIV status be a secret?” and we believe that decision is a very personal one made by the family.  There are both pros and cons to disclosure.  Jenn M. another guest during the segment and author of, “My HIV Child is Playing With Your Child” has chosen not to disclose.  She is afraid of the impact it will have in the way that others treat their family, specifically her daughter who is positive.  Paige Rawl author of Positive a memoir talked about finding out and sharing her status causing others to bully her through school. Selah and Carolyn talked about being open about the status with family and friends because of the shame secrecy might bring.  Selah said it was a relief that she could be open about it growing up.

Although the segment featured the question “should HIV be a secret?” we all have common ground raising children with HIV, both parents that disclose and those that don’t.  We all love our children  and we want the same thing for them and others living with HIV;  we want a stigma free environment.  We all want to be able to say HIV and not have others flinch.  We all want to be able to openly talk about living with a chronic condition like talking about cancer or diabetes, because in truth living with HIV is easier than those except for the stigma […]

We Proudly Announce…

The newest member of the Twietmeyer clan, Sofia Hope!
Sweet little Sofia is blessed with an extra chromosome and is made in the image of her Creator! She is a true gift and brings joy to all she meets. Sofia is ten weeks old and came home through a private adoption. No details about the adoption are being released.

So many have asked if gifts for Sofia are needed. Sofia says she’d like more children to find homes. Please consider giving to a waiting child’s FIG adoption fund.

‘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!

Carolyn on Debbie Chavez Show

You can listen to the archive broadcast here:

Project HOPEFUL in People Magazine

Project HOPEFUL Founder/Executive Director, Carolyn Twietmeyer, husband Kiel, and their 13 children are featured in the December 6th issue of People Magazine (available on newsstands November 26th)

Carolyn answers a few questions about the interview experience:

So what was it like being featured in an article in the largest magazine in the world?
CT: It was intimidating but incredible to imagine the people who could be reached with the reality about HIV/AIDS and orphans waiting for families. The truth is adopting these children to totally DOABLE. Now millions of people will have the chance to learn about it.

What do you hope is accomplished through the People article?
CT: I hope that many more families will step forward to advocate for and adopt children waiting now. I hope the Truth Pandemic campaign will transform people’s ways of thinking about HIV/AIDS and help break down social stigma.

Did anything funny or embarrassing happen during the interview or photo shoot?
CT: There was an impromptu break dancing session that occurred. Actually it was mentioned in the article by the author. It was crazy! Kids were doing the worm, busting’ a move, and clapping all over the place.

What’s next for Project HOPEFUL?
CT: We’ve just launched two amazing programs to advocate for children and families. The Family in the Gap (FIG)Program partners waiting children with advocates willing to support them in the process of searching for a forever family. The HOPE+ Sisterhood offers hope and a future to HIV+ mothers and their children. It’s Project HOPEFUL’s way of preventing children from being orphaned by HIV/AIDS

By |November 22nd, 2010|Press|3 Comments|

And Baby Makes Eleven

From ABC7 Chicago

May 10, 2009 (CHICAGO) (WLS) — This Mother’s Day, ABC7 Chicago is introducing its viewers to one mom who has made it her life’s mission to care for children in her home and to effect change for those across the globe.

The woman’s husband describes her as “the most driven person” he knows, and her teenage daughter calls her “amazing.” But Carolyn Twietmeyer shies away from praise. She says faith and family are what drives her to open her heart and her home.

The sound of children playing can warm even the coldest heart. As parents, Kiel and Carolyn Twietmeyer get to enjoy that pleasure 11 times over.
“When I hit the door at the end of work, there are a ton of children that can’t wait to see me, and I don’t know anyone that fortunate,” Kiel Twietmeyer said.
They are a truly blended family. The Joliet couple already had seven biological children when they decided to adopt another from Ethiopia. One child turned into three — Rachel, Samuel and Seth — when Carolyn saw a picture of the family. The children’s parents had passed away.

“I laid eyes on them&and I saw that they would likely be separated, and again, my simple mind said, ‘No.’ So, I said, ‘I need to do what I need to do to fix this,’ and hopefully my husband would go along with it,” Carolyn Twietmeyer said.

Then, the family learned that Sam, now 6 years old, was infected with HIV. The couple got a tough lesson on the rigors of the immigration process when they tried to bring him home in 2007. […]

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 […]