Background: Some years ago, I lost my cousin to HIV/AIDS complications. He was eleven and the coolest kid around. I remember we had driven from SA where my dad and aunt had picked me up after my first year of uni and we drove through his hometown. I wanted to stop by and say hello but we were running late and needed to get to harare. SO we drove past and that was the last time I could have seen him. Anyway, he passed along to God and now he is home with his Father.
Today: I have always wanted to adopt, I still do and recently I accidentally ended up at an orphanage and there were all these beautiful children. They came outside to greet us and chat with us. One, in particular stepped up to me and held my finger so tightly...I couldn't help but feel so happy. I picked him up and he sat on my hip so comfortably and quietly. We seemed a great pair, us two. It was so hard to let him go because he made me so happy, just having him there.
As we went home, I asked the other girls about the status (HIV) of the children and yup some were positive and some weren't. My conscience kept asking me "What does it matter what their status is? What does it matter?" I gave such weak answers saying I wouldn't be able to meet their needs. It would be hard to look after him/her-->the medication, the diet, after school accidents, stigma, my family's reaction etc. LSS, I was terrified that he/she would die prematurely and my family would be heartbroken just as heartbroken as we were when we lost my cousin. I didn't want my nieces and nephs to experience such a loss. Basically, I had every parent's desire...that my child outlives me. Today I happened on another orphanage (they keep popping up don't they?) and I voiced my fear for the first time ever..."I am afraid that if I adopt a child with HIV, he/she will die just like my cousin and I don't want to feel that pain again. I don't want my child to hurt like he did''. And I choked the tears back because I was supposed to be conducting an important interview and I couldn't let them fall. He answered me simply, "tbey are normal children on medication. they just need a good diet to go with the medication which has to be taken in a timely manner". He made it so simple....The guilt that comes with fear is so unbearable and is sooner done away with. In my heart of hearts, I knew it was wrong to discriminate based on HIV status because it felt like I was discriminating against my own. Away with the fear, away with the guilt(with God, nothing is impossible), I can do this!
Got me thinking...we have come a long way since the beginning of the decade. There is more hope for everybody: children, parents, families...there is life. So, although I am so grateful at this new lease of life, I just wish it could have been done sooner.. More children had access to drugs, more hospitals/clinics providing to them, more people aware of these possibilities that they would know how to fight for their children in the healthcare system but I am grateful that I really have nothing to be afraid of. Zvandapihwa nashe, ndinogamuchira. handirambe! I will fight for the survival and well-being of my child no matter what
I may sound naive and prejudiced but pleease forgive me, I am only learning to become this person I am meant to be.
Don't feel sorry for the abandoned child,
Feel MORE than sorry~TNM