Friday, April 20, 2012

No Shame

I've been trying to figure out how and when to tell this information. I knew I would--I just wasn't sure about the details. Recently, I watched a video that convinced me that this is the right time. If you are my friend in real life, you already know this information. Telling it to the world--even just our little part of the blog world--is harder for some reason. Maybe because I have bought into the lie that this should be kept a secret. Maybe because I have been afraid that Manno would be hurt by this. But the truth is, secrets are usually kept because of shame and Manno has already been hurt by this. So has Daniel.
I'm talking about HIV. Manno is HIV+. He did nothing wrong to contract it (it wouldn't matter if he had) and he has nothing to be ashamed of. Daniel is also part of our family because of HIV. It is a thread that is woven throughout our family.
The only way to stop the shame of HIV is to tell our story and educate others about the disease. I had a lot of questions when I first decided to adopt Manno. One of the places I found answers to my questions was through Project Hopeful. They are actively working to eradicate the shame attached to HIV and AIDS. 
I could list all the facts about HIV/AIDS here but Carolyn Tweitmeyer and her crew at Project Hopeful have already done it in a much more entertaining way.

One of the things I have learned about this disease is that it is not the contagious, death sentence that it was once believed to be. It is manageable and Manno's new brothers are not in danger of contracting it.

We have an amazing support system made up of family and friends. Manno will be loved. He might also be hated and misunderstood by those who are ignorant of the facts about HIV. This knowledge already causes me pain but we will deal with it together, as a family, and we will rely on the support of the people who love us. 

Please take a moment to watch both of the videos in this post. And please feel free to ask questions. If I don't know the answers, I will find them for you.  


  1. You are so blessed to have these 3 beautiful boys, they are so blessed to have each other and blessed to have you for their mom. I am blessed to know you! I love how we are creating families from around the world!

  2. Ruthanne -- although I applaud your honesty on the web, this means nothing to us at all. If Manno was from Mars and had green skin we'd feel the same way. He's a lovely, lucky, spark-plug of a boy and we're thrilled to be able to count him as friend once he lands in Chicago. Sammy is obsessed with Andrew and Daniel and I've no doubt it will be the same with Manno. So Manno will have some extra doctor visits and maybe some meds, big deal. He's a Focht and that's all that matters to us. Oh, Sammy says if he likes Firetrucks that's a plus as well.

  3. I just stumbled across your blog and wanted to tell you we are in the exact same place as you! I just did a post about our sweet daughter's HIV. We are leaving soon to meet her! I'm glad there are other families out there speaking up for their positive kiddos!