“HIV does not make people dangerous to know, so you can shake their hands and give them a hug: Heaven knows they need it” – Princess Diana
One inspirational family went a step further and welcomed an HIV+ child into their home. Her name was Lily.
Lily had been abandoned twice, repeatedly rejected from local orphanages and left in a cold, silent hospital isolation ward for 40 days, at just three years old. As her adoptive father Matt said, she just “needed a home, needed a forever family”.
When Matt and Heather Peterson adopted Lily, the first few months proved a steep learning curve for both, teaching her English and understanding each other’s culture. However, she quickly became a part of the family, loved as much as Matt and Heather’s biological children. Other than the regular medication and blood checks, Lily now leads a perfectly happy, ordinary life. Matt reports that she’s smart, funny, enjoys being creative and bridges the age gap between his other two children.
The family concedes that they had some initial fears and concerns about her HIV+ status but soon realised these were due to a lack of education. Lily’s story proves that with medication and better understanding, children with HIV can live long and fulfilling lives, as part of normal families. Watch this video to hear the family’s experience first-hand:
Giving children with HIV a better life
The Lily Project, soon to register as a non-profit organisation, was founded to help HIV+ children like Lily, through research, care and community education. It is setting up a foster home for orphans affected by HIV and AIDS, initially helping 3 to 4 children, but with expected capacity of up to 20 kids. It will help the children adopt family-like units and assist them with physical and emotional issues they may have. The foster home hopes to equip itself for this challenge with the help of live-in nannies, parents, nurses and the community. To learn more about the project, please click here: http://www.bryonlippincott.com/blog/2014/12/the-lily-project
If you wish to donate to the cause, here’s a link to the fundraising page: http://www.gofundme.com/bov70o