I would never adopt a baby with AIDS ... but I should.
Today is World AIDS Day, and the statistics and images of the millions around the world affected by the deadly diseases are numbing.
In this country it can often seem like a disease of yesterday, because of advancements in treatments and because it's not in the headlines every day anymore. But the fact is it's a pandemic, and it's the innocent babies born into the disease that are most heartbreaking.
According to the United Nations data, 370,000 children were born with HIV in 2009. According to AVERT, an international HIV and AIDS charity, more than 16 million children under the age of 18 have been left orphans due to AIDS.
My heart says anyone who can take one of these children into their homes and care for them should.
But I can, and I likely never will.
People magazine recently highlighted the Twietmeyer family who had seven children, then decided to adopt six more -- two of whom have AIDS.
I read the stories with tears of admiration for this family and their selflessness.
Carolyn, the mother, addressed pretty much every hesitation one might have about following in her footsteps.
Money? Space? Worries about the health of the other children?
They worked it out, figured it out, and aren't afraid.
"I tell people not to be afraid," she told People. "They won't get HIV by hugging me. Children are dying because people aren't helping. They need families like mine."
And that's what kills me. Why am I not helping? My family could make it work. Sure, I'm barely (barely!) holding it together with my two children and full-time job, but we could.
I can come up with all sorts of reasons and excuses why we can't, but in the end, we could.
Most anyone could, so why don't we?
We do what we can. We can't save the entire world. We can only give so much. And on and on.
But knowing there are children out there in need of help makes it hard for me to justify sitting in my comfortable house with my healthy children sleeping peacefully in their Pottery Barn bedrooms.
But that's the age-old question -- just how selfless can we be, should we be?
Personally, I know it's a lot more than I currently am. It's something I'm working on, and will likely do so the rest of my life.
But for now, I know as much as I want to say that I'll take one of these babies into my home, I won't ... even though I should.
Would you adopt an AIDS baby? Why or why not?
Image via Jayel Aheram/Flickr