It may not have been her intention, but blogger Jenn Mosher, who writes on the Scary Mommy blog, reminds us how far we’ve come when it comes to understanding HIV.
It’s been almost 25 years since Ryan White died. He was the Kokomo, Indiana teen who was shunned by his school — expelled from middle school — after it was revealed he became infected with HIV from a contaminated blood treatment.
The doctors said there was no danger to anyone else, but it didn’t matter. We were a nation afraid, blinded by our ignorance.
Mosher’s post, which is zipping across the Internet, tells the story of her adopted daughter and the assertion by the adoption organization that no one should know.
Look, she just happened to be born with it. If her birth mother had been able to take life-changing antiretroviral drugs while she was pregnant, my daughter would be HIV free. It’s possible that she wouldn’t even have been relinquished for adoption. Just so you know, those expensive medications that my daughter and other HIV-positive people take every day? They’re free in China. Free! The government pays for them. But most Chinese HIV-positive people don’t take them, because admitting you are HIV positive means to die to everyone you love. You will be disowned, kicked out. Shunned.
My daughter might date your son when she’s a teenager, and she’ll marry and have HIV-negative babies one day—if she wants to. Please, fellow mommies, know that HIV is nothing to be afraid of. Please look online, google it, and talk with your pediatrician. Learn and research so that you know the truth, too. You don’t have to take my word for it. But just so you know, my HIV-positive kid is playing with your kid, and you have no idea which one she is. And that’s okay.
Mosher — it’s not her real name — didn’t come by an HIV-positive child accidentally. She intentionally sought an international adoption of an HIV-positive baby, she tells BuzzFeed.
We took a leap of faith and asked our adoption agency if there were HIV children available for adoption in China, and were told, ‘Probably not. China has lots of HIV-positive children in orphanages but they are believed to be unadoptable so they do not make them available for adoption.’ In spite of this, the very next day, we got matched with our HIV-positive daughter, and then later, we also got matched with and adopted another amazing HIV-positive child.
That could never happen 25 years ago. And neither could the reaction the headline her post has had. “My HIV Child is Playing with Your Child” has been met with a question: “Yeah, so?”
Other parents invited her kids on play dates.