World AIDS Day: Five Things You Can Do

December 1st is World AIDS Day. My life has been turned upside down by AIDS and its devastating effects. In Ethiopia, I doubt there is a single person who is completely unaffected by HIV/AIDS. So often I am overwhelmed by this desperate crisis in our world and I wonder what on earth I can do? But here is the secret. Each one of us can make a difference – we can reach out and care about somebody whose life has been touched by HIV/AIDS.

Five Things You Can Do

1. Read: If you only have time to read one book, I recommend There Is No Me Without You: One Woman’s Odyssey to Rescue Her Country’s Children. Written by Melissa Fay Greene, an adoptive mother, the book tells the story of one Ethiopian woman who responded to the AIDS orphan crisis with practical compassion. It is a compelling and interesting read.

If you have time for two books, get 28: Stories of AIDS in Africa by Stephanie Nolen. My exposure to AIDS in Africa had been limited primarily to Ethiopia, but this book broadened my education by featuring a short story about twenty-eight different people across the continent and how AIDS has affected them. 28 will give you a quick education about HIV/AIDS in a captivating style.

A reader also recommended the book, Scared: A Novel on the Edge of the World, about orphans and AIDS in Swaziland. I have not read it yet, but after reading the reviews, I just added it to my Amazon cart.

[This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.]

2. Sponsor: For as little as $10.00 a month, you can provide care for an HIV+ orphan. Through Circle Embrace, a sponsorship program recently launched by From HIV to Home, you can join with others to create a Circle of sponsors for a child living with HIV/AIDS. Consider giving holiday gifts with a purpose by creating your own Circle. It is easy and only a click away.

3. Care: At the end of 2007, there were 11.7 million AIDS orphans in Africa alone. These are actual children, not just numbers. If the AIDS crisis seems remote to you, take a few moments to watch this video of the children of AHOPE. If you want to get even more personal, watch my family’s video of our Ethiopian adoption.

4. Shop with a purpose. The holidays will be here soon; this year purchase gifts that will benefit children with HIV/AIDS. In honor of World AIDS Day, From HIV to Home has a wonderful new necklace available. Make a donation of $50 or more and we will send one to you. I love the concept of embracing those with HIV/AIDS and the necklace looks great. All proceeds from this necklace go directly to the Circle Embrace Child Sponsorship Program.

Shop at the AHOPE Store which has everything from clothing and jewelry to aluminum water bottles.

I know both of these organizations personally, having previously volunteered for AHOPE, and currently working with From HIV to Home, and can confidently say that your donation will be put to good use.

World Vision is also an excellent organization offering gift-giving opportunities. You can give a gift to a child in the developing world in honor of your friend or family member. The options are endless, from two chickens ($25.00) to a sheep ($105.00).

5. Adopt: Consider adopting an HIV+ child. It isn’t as complicated as you might think. The last three years have seen an explosion in the number of families adopting HIV+ children. When we began the process, a handful of HIV+ children had been adopted from AHOPE, our daughters’ orphanage. Now, the children are finding families very quickly. For more information on HIV+ adoption, contact Adoption Advocates International.


Don’t wait until December 1st to wear a red ribbon. Do something today and when World AIDS Day arrives, you will be ready to tell somebody else what it is all about.


Note: I have had some requests from folks who would like to share this post on their blogs, in church newsletters, etc. I would be honored! Please feel free to share a link to this post. If you would like to share the actual content, please email me at

This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Robin
    November 20, 2009

    If you haven't read Scared by Tom Davis, I'd highly recommend it. Although classified as a fictional book, the story is about orphans and AIDS in Swaziland! For those that can't/won't/don't want to travel to a third-world country, this book brings you right there, like you were looking through a window!

  2. Kristen
    November 20, 2009

    Hi Lisa,
    I have admired you and your family for many years from across the aisles at church. I just recently discovered your blog and I am so grateful that I did! It is wonderful. The video of your family is amazing and brought tears to my eyes! God is so good. Thank you for sharing your life and advice through your blog.

    Blessings to you,
    Kristen (Hagen) Davis

  3. Rachel Marie
    November 21, 2009

    Hello! I am so happy to have found your blog via Owlhaven! We are beginning the process to adopt from Ethiopia so I will be back to read more!

  4. Rachel Marie
    November 21, 2009

    oops- no, actually I did not find you via Owlhaven, but through another blog.

  5. PositivelyOrphaned
    November 21, 2009

    Wonderful post Lisa!

  6. jen
    November 25, 2009

    I just linked to you – thanks! Great post. I've got some reading to add to my reading list.


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