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Nation's Leading Adoption Agency Develops HIV/AIDS Toolkit to Educate Parents
Bethany Christian Services Provides Essential Resources for Prospective Adoptive Parents
 
Contact: Brian Burch, 616-233-0500
 
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Feb. 1, 2011 /Christian Newswire/ -- It is estimated that there are more than one million orphans around the world living with HIV/AIDS. Bethany Christian Services, the nation's largest adoption agency, today announced the creation of the HIV Adoption Toolkit for couples considering adopting children living with HIV/AIDS.
 
The HIV Adoption Toolkit is Bethany's response to the increase in adoption inquiries it's received regarding children with HIV. The organization discovered that critical educational resources for prospective adoptive parents on this issue were nearly non-existent or scattered and difficult to find.
 
So that prospective adoptive parents would have easy access to the materials they needed to make the best decision for themselves and the child, Bethany put together a team of medical and psycho-social professionals, as well as parents of children with HIV/AIDS, to create the HIV Adoption Toolkit.
 
"The decision to become a forever family for any child should not be made lightly, but when thinking about adopting a child living with HIV/AIDS, there is so much more to consider," said Sara Ruiter, International Services Coordinator with Bethany Christian Services. "Couples need to understand the medical requirements and emotional challenges that the child will face, as well as the impact this decision will have on the entire family. The HIV Adoption Toolkit was developed to provide insight on these matters."
 
The HIV Adoption Toolkit features a variety of resources all in one place to assist prospective adoptive parents throughout the process, from adoption consideration to disclosure to when the child is older and ready to begin dating, the HIV Adoption Toolkit is free to couples working with Bethany Christian Services. The Toolkit is also available at Bethany's online store for a nominal fee.
 
The HIV Adoption Toolkit includes extensive information on the differences of HIV and AIDS, details on treatment, a series of frequently asked questions, advice on building a support network, counsel on disclosure, a look at the stigma of HIV/AIDS, planning for preparing teenagers for sexual decision making, and insight on how to become an educator and advocate.
 
"When we decided to adopt an HIV positive child, we didn't know much about the disease or what would be required of us," said Annette Franklin, adoptive parent. "We've learned that we don't have to be afraid, that HIV is a manageable disease. Our daughter (Gedeleine) is responding beautifully to antiretroviral medication and is healthy and strong. She brings joy to our entire family every day. We are so glad that we didn't let the stigma of HIV scare us away from this amazing little girl."
 
For more information on the HIV Adoption Toolkit, visit www.Bethany.org/hivtoolkit.