Living with HIV


While HIV is the diagnosis for one of Shannon and Lee Dingle's children, their child isn't a diagnosis. Their children are simply children ... one of whom happens to take medication twice a day.

One of our precious ones has HIV.

It's a daily part of our lives. At 7:30 am and 7:30 pm, we dole out meds (currently, in Mary Poppins fashion, with a spoonful of sugar) to the child who needs them. These medicines keep the viral load so low that it's undetectable in blood samples. It's not a cure, but it lets our kid be a kid, playing and giggling and wrestling and running like our five children who don't have HIV.

For now, since we can't untell - especially online - about this diagnosis, we're not disclosing which child is affected.

{Honestly, because we're all a family, you could say we're all affected, even though only one of us is infected.}

I'd like to say it's a non-issue, but some friends and family members have faded away. Some have said they won't be coming over anymore. Some have said their kids can't play with our kids.

I'd like to say it doesn't sting each time, but it does. 

Oh, does it sting!

Want to know what would sting more, though? Knowing that we had the opportunity and felt the pull toward HIV+ adoption, but choosing to do nothing out of fear for what people might think about us. My heart aches with each rejection we face because of three letters, but it would ache more if I had chosen the comfort of our old friends over the change to stand up for a child who might not have had the comfort of a family or the hope for a future, given the lack of access to medical care prior to adoption.

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.  {Galatians 1:10}

Our regrets about HIV+ adoption? None. 

We have none.

What do we have? A child who we love, who has changed our lives, who we've gotten to see emerge from the grasp of an illness that was destroying a little body but is now kept at bay by our amazing medical team at Duke. 

(And you know they must be amazing if a mama who graduated from University of North Carolina and a dad who hails from NC State can love them!)

We have much more than we ever had before HIV entered our lives, because while HIV is the diagnosis, our child isn't a diagnosis. Our children are simply children.

Precious, darling, energetic blessings.

One of whom happens to take medication twice a day.


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