Today is widely known as World AIDS day and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. To join in this battle, we bring you a guest post from a mom who shares a glimpse into the journey of parenting her daughter adopted from China who is HIV positive. We also want to share three waiting children for whom adoption equals a future.
I opened the envelope. I began to read through this new information we just received about our child. Our child who has been a part of our family for quite a while. New information about a child’s history is so precious and so appreciated.
Wait. What was this? A CD4 count in the low hundreds??? A diagnosis of Aids pneumonia? My heart dropped. A whole slew of emotions hit me. Fear, sadness, anger, gratitude.
My beautiful child, who is so healthy now with undetectable viral loads had Aids? Why were we not told? Who was there with her when she was so sick and scared? How long did it take her to recover? I had more questions than answers.
I did know a few things. That this would change her technical diagnosis. That it would not change her current treatment plan. That it may mean closer monitoring in the future. That it may mean cognitive issues because of the viral loads.
I immediately reached out to other parents of HIV positive kids. I was met with a chorus of “my kid too.” I felt slight relief- others knew what I was feeling. Other kids had Aids, and are now fine.
The CD4 count is the measure of how the immune system is doing in a HIV positive person because HIV loves to attack this type of white blood cell. People without HIV have CD4 counts in the 500-700 range. This is also a goal of HIV treatment. When the CD4 count falls below 200, it means that the HIV has progressed to Aids. But just like cancer can go into remission, the medications for HIV can raise the CD4 counts back up to normal levels. Many people actually have Aids when first diagnosed because they have not had treatment yet, and do not realize something is wrong until they are very sick.
Is this what happened to my child? Did her birth parents watch her grow sicker and sicker? Did they make the agonizing choice that would save her life but cause heartache in theirs? If they had not- our child would have died. I would not even have known she ever existed.
How many kids does this happen to? How many die of Aids still even though it is now easily treatable? How many more will die?
I have too many questions, and not enough answers. One thing I am sure of- my child is a miracle. Brought back from the brink of death. There are not enough words to describe the gratitude I have that my child is alive and healthy, even carrying an Aids diagnosis.
~Guest post by an anonymous mom