"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." John 14:18 NIV
"I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you." John 14:18 KJV
I received word today that Kendi's biological father, Anadene, is expected to pass soon. It was this man that made deliberate steps for his daughter, that would save her life.
Kendi doesn't have a happy birth mother story. Her birth mother was unwell--physically, mentally, emotionally--and took her illnesses out on the child she never wanted to be born. It was Kendi's birth father, Anadene, that took the unwanted child. He provided a place for her to sleep--between himself and his 2nd wife--until a permanent plan could be made for his daughter.
He didn't/doesn't know about Kendi's HIV. He just knew she was sick. She was dying. I didn't know how bad it was until this last trip to Ghana in April. My friend explained that Kendi wouldn't open her eyes for the first several days. She was so very weak. They truly thought she would die on the way to the hospital. They never expected she would live. It was only because Anadene called for help that she is with us at all.
Why doesn't he know about Kendi's HIV status (as well as his own, and his second wife's, and their children)? Because the feeling in that area of Ghana is it's best if people don't know. HIV/AIDS is still a death sentence there. If the village were to find out someone had HIV/AIDS, the person would be thrown away. No support. No mercy. Put out into the bush to fend for themselves, which is in and of itself a death sentence! So, it's death either way. Better for a person to die within the loving arms of his family than by himself in the wilderness--or at least this is how the authorities in Ghana feel.
Just a short time after Kendi was adopted we were notified that her biological mother's body had been found. She was confirmed dead. [At the time of adoption we didn't know here whereabouts at all.] Now, just over a year later, her biological father is passing from us as well.
What is to happen to his current wife and their children? I don't know. But chances are they too are suffering from HIV/AIDS. Oh how I WISH we could help them! Oh how I WISH we could stop this disease from spreading further to her future husband or children! But it's the nasty little secret that nobody dares to allow themselves to know. Even if they suspect, they will not confirm it, as that would be a death sentence in and of itself.
It angers me. This is another part of the TRUTH of HIV/AIDS. In America it's "no big deal." In Africa (and other parts of the world) it destroys generations because of the stigma. There's treatment! But the stigma prevents people from seeking it!
Dear Anadene, thank you for saving your daughter....my daughter....Kendi. I am so very sorry that you were not given the same chance she was. She will always carry the name you gave her--Mabel Anadene. I make a promise to you that I will do what I can to help tear down the stigma that has taken your life, and is likely to take the lives of others after you. It is my prayer that Kendi will rise from the ashes of your family to make a difference in the generations to come after her.