Church Pastor Reji Thomas and his wife decided to adopt as many abandoned children as they could take about a decade ago. It all began in 2007 when Reji was asked to pray for a girl who was diagnosed with HIV.
A 12-year-old girl was admitted in a local hospital and I was called to pray for her,” Reji recalled. “She was in a terrible condition. Her parents died of HIV and she was also HIV positive.”
The pastor is from Mumbai, India, which has one of the world’s largest populations of people with HIV.
“She wanted to have noodles that day, and I promised to get it the next day. She died the same night,” he remembered. “It was a terrible experience. That day I decided to take care of such kids.
Now, 10 years later, Reji has adopted 22 abandoned children, 16 of whom have HIV. Due to the stigma of the illness, Reji’s family at first disagreed with his decision to adopt the children.
My family thought I was doing something wrong,” he said. “Having kids who were HIV positive was not a wise idea. But later it was fine with them. We now live like a family.”
With the help of funding from NGOs, Reji is able to take care of the children and still help other little ones in local shelters and hospitals. They aren’t rich in material items, but they’re certainly wealthy in love.
There is no difference between them and us,” he added. “My wife is now proud to have all the kids with her.”
When Reji first met many of the children, they were in poor health, but his family was able to get them proper medication and food. Now they are all thriving.
“I was against the idea of having HIV kids in our house. But later I realized I was wrong,” said Justin, Reji’s biological son. “They are part of our family now. I am so proud of my dad.”
The family hopes to adopt more children in need soon, proving once again that love has no limits.
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