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mntleo2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-10-07 12:12 PM
Original message
Hi All!
My name is Cat and I am raising my grand niece whose mother is HIV positive. Missy is now 20 months old and is the light of my life. she was brought to me when she was 2 1/2 months old by children's protective services and they did not tell me about her condition until I had her for a couple months. Her mother is my niece and is in serious denial about her condition, she is mentally ill, an addict, on the street and refuses to acknowledge that she could expose anyone else.

Her father, who is a meth and crack addict as well as HIV positive, is trying to clean up and get custody of this little girl. I do not believe this is a good thing for her. I am glad he is trying to clean up but this is not the first child that he has left behind, and he is almost 40 and as many know meth and crack is a very hard addiction to stop. The State does not even want to discuss the HIV issues and how it would impact the baby, they would like it to just be swept under the rug, it is the elephant in the living room. I understand privacy and all, but her father has taken up with a new partner who has two kids and if she knew she was being exposed, I would not count her as among the most intelligent. He went to live with her at her parent's house the day he got out of jail for selling meth and for his outstanding warrants, many of them for moving violations. Ironically he is a truck driver now and even though I am trying to tell the State that I am concerned about trucking's well known love affair with meth, and am wondering how he can even be driving a truck with a record of over 30 violations, some of them criminal, they do not seem to care. They won't even talk about how now he is exposing other people, and it is true indeed it was too late to stop another exposure, even though I tried to get the State to tell his new partner the truth. In our state someone can be informed they have been exposed to HIV, they just do not have to tell them who exposed them.

This little one came into the world to painful poking and prodding, AZT treatments, endless testing, and probably had treatments while still in the womb, but I do not know that for sure. I could not watch as her eyes pleaded with me to protect her when they held her down and took many vials of blood. Over the months they said she is not HIV positive, but when I ask them how they know this is a fact, they tell me they do not know, since there has not been a full generation of children who has had AZT treatments. Since most drug testing has been done on men, women especially poor women, are not as apt to get much help from the cocktails prescibed for men, because female immune systems are different than men's, and children, well we don't know much about what AZT does.

I read this report given by a doctor in South Africa who is head of the HIV program there, and he was not too positive about AZT, saying that is can kill children recieving it and talking about the side affects for kids. He says AZT is being touted because the Pharma industry is trying to make as much money off it as they can and there is little trial testing on much of the population he serves.

Little MIssy was small and thin when she came to me, but now she is robust and into everything, a normal little girl. I have noticed a few things. Since AZT can affect marrow in adults, I find it interesting that this little one was late in many bone developments, like walking and crawling, and even though she is 20 months, she only has 6 teeth. I know they are there, because I saw them once in an x ray but she had to have physical therapy and be helped until she could get up to speed with other kids. She is bright, funny and full of energy now, but I wonder how she will do when she grows up.

I am 54 and will probably be around when she turns 18 and so I will try to prepare her for the things she will need to know as she goes out into the world for herself. she will also be a woman of color, probably drug exposed in the womb, as well. as someone who has stayed away from addiction issues for many years and who has never been addicted to anything but cigarettes, I am not sure how to do that, so this is why I am here on this forum. Because I am hoping that others who have had the same experiences, can help me guide this precious little girl into a healthy life.

Oh. And pray the State will help me protect this beautiful little girl from anything that will hurt her any further. The truth is the System is about saving itself not about saving children. One case manager has over 150 cases a month, few have time to care about a drug and HIV exposed child of color. I found that out when I tried to go to the media about little ones like her, but hey she is not in Africa and so it would be harder to turn their eyes from what is happening to kids right under their noses here in America ~ especially brown and black children. As a white woman who has fought for racial equality and social justice all my adult life, I will have to say the "protective" system for kids is beyond broken, it is outright malignant. Excuse me if I sound bitter, but I am bitter. And I have told them all, her parents included, everyone may think they have made a mistake in putting this child in my care because, I love her and she will have a fierce and determined mother in me!


Thanks!

Cat In Seattle
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Maestro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-10-07 02:34 PM
Response to Original message
1. Hey Cat.
Edited on Sat Feb-10-07 02:35 PM by Maestro
I hope everything works out for you and that the little light of life you have does not become HIV positive. She came in to this world under less than ideal conditions but knowing she has someone like you fighting for her, she will survive. I hope everything works out. I can't offer much more than that right now. :hug:
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mntleo2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Feb-10-07 06:12 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. This Means Alot to Me
Thanks Maestro. A hug and a word of encouragement is meaningful, so don't think it is not "doing" something or enough. I too am hoping that she will never have to live with that disease. I have learned a lot already in the year and half this little darling has been with me. Since I have had contact with the HIV community, I have found more unconditional love than all the churches I have been to combined ~ and I belong to a very loving church. I hope I can pass that love on to her, she deserves it. Nobody deserves this horrible disease much less the horrible baggage that comes with it, thanks to an ignorant population, a broken health care system and people who are judgmental.

So thanks Maestro. Your words mean a lot. :hug: :hug: :hug:

Love
Cat
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MuseRider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-11-07 04:17 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. I have also found this to be true.
"I have found more unconditional love than all the churches I have been to combined ~ and I belong to a very loving church."

It is a very loving and supportive community. I would not have made it during my brothers illness and after his death if it had not been for them.
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