Lonely Life of a 6 yr Old HIV Orphan in China

China Daily article

Chinese AIDS Orphans
Nicknamed Along, the young boy carries firewood home down a mountain path in Niucheping village of Liuzhou city in Southwest China’s Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, Nov 3, 2010 [Photo/CFPAlong plays soccer in front of the rundown home where he lives alone. People refuse to play with him due to concerns over his illness. No school or welfare homes will agree to take him. Photo taken on Nov 8, 2010. [Photo/CFP
Child headed household

Along makes a fire to prepare for dinner. His grandmother, who lives 15 minutes’ walk away, built two vegetable plots for him, and pays regular visits despite not living with him. Photo taken on Nov 2, 2010 [Photos/CFP]

A six-year-old HIV-positive child named Along has been collecting wood to support himself since both of his parents died from the virus.

He receives 70 yuan of subsistence allowance per month from the local civil bureau plus periodical material supplies from kindhearted people, but he still lives alone without a guardian.

A follow up article was written 2 weeks later titled ‘No Longer Forgotten’

A Long prepares a meal for himself. The 6-year-old HIV-positive boy lives alone in Niucheping village, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. [Photo/China Photo Press

“A Long with his constant companion Old Black. [Photo/Zhou Hua / Xinhua”]

“The boy received toys from people who read about him. [Photo/Zhou Hua/Xinhua”]

“A Long makes a fire to cook. [Photo/China Photo Press”]

Until recently, a 6-year-old HIV-positive boy has lived holed up in a remote mountain village, cut off from humanity with only a dog for company. Chen Feng reports.

A Long is 6. But his world is far removed from his contemporaries. There are no transformer toys, PSP games or friends to play with, only a rough brick structure he calls home and a dog, his constant companion. The HIV-positive boy lives in Niucheping village at the foot of Malu Mountain near Liuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

His mother died of AIDS in 2009 and his father, racked by a terrible cough and fever, succumbed in the summer.

Dressed in tattered clothes, A Long’s only solace is Lao Hei or Old Black, his dog.

He lives at the end of a muddy path on top of the mountain in his windowless, gray-brick house, with worn wooden doors and rough flooring, permeated by a musty odor.

In contrast, most of the other villagers live in brand new buildings, further down the mountain.

A Long’s parents moved to the top of the mountain six years ago after being diagnosed as HIV- positive.

The boy washes his clothes and cooks his own food at an age when his contemporaries are still being fed by their parents.

Putting some rice and green vegetables into a pot and placing it on a stove made of several blocks of cement, he starts a fire with amazing speed.

He uses no oil or salt but still eats his meal with great relish and sets aside a bit for his dog.

He often sits in the open area in front of his home staring at the path that leads to the outside world, hugging his dog, lost in thought.

He says he has never ventured down the mountain, after his father’s death.

He tells people who visit him – after he came to media attention recently – with great excitement that, “I was in school but only for one term.”

He often takes out his old textbooks, stroking them like little treasures.

Chen Xiyou, headmaster of Malushan Primary School, says: “We allowed A Long to take our pre-school course for one term, but then we had to ask him to leave after his father died of AIDS.

“We have to consider the feelings of the other parents,” Chen says.

A Long is also HIV-positive but has no clue what those letters mean. All he knows is that those who were once his friends have deserted him and doctors refused to help when he accidentally tipped boiling water on his hands.

“But my grandmother always comes to see me,” the boy says.

However, his 84-year-old grandmother will not say why she has not taken him to live with her and his uncles and aunts.

A Long receives a subsidy of 70 yuan ($11.50) from social security and free anti-HIV medicines.

The introverted boy seems overwhelmed with all the attention he has been getting recently.

He is, however, delighted with a basketball that people bought him after reading about him on the Net.

He also practices writing Chinese characters in the sand and is eager to show off his kungfu kicks to visitors.

The latest news is that an old couple has decided to adopt A Long and Old Black, as well as the chicken he is raising.

The local Red Cross Association is also talking about providing proper medical care for A Long.

But there is still one question that troubles the little boy: “When can I go back to school?”

Yu Tianyu contributed to the story.

Waiting Child Photolisting – BOY born 2004

African child with HIV waiting for adoptionHolt International waiting child photolisting. Child ID B09_37. East Africa.

This is a little boy who loves toys and is described as jolly. He is reported to be developing quite well and easily adapts to many environments. He currently attends a class at the care center kindergarten. This little boy came into care a few days after his birth. His birth mother was reported to be suffering from a mental illness. He was admitted to the hospital once for neonatal sepsis. In May 2010 he had malaria and received treatment, and is now stated to be doing well. He also recently tested HIV-positive. He is reportedly learning to jump rope and loves to sing. This cheerful little boy waits for a family who is comfortable with his diagnosis and who can provide him with the ongoing medical care that he will need.

To adopt this child, couples must be between the ages of 25-44 and married for at least 2 years. They can have up to five children in the home. Hold is looking for a few families who are flexible and have a pioneering spirit. If you are interested in adopting from this new program, please call the Holt Africa staff to discuss the program: 531-687-2202.

Waiting Children in Eastern Europe

These children are living in an HIV/AIDS orphanage. It is urgent they get committed adoptive families before they get transferred within the next few months. They are only 4 years old and at a critical time in their lives at which their future is about to be decided. I have met all of these children and they are wonderful. Please join me in advocating for them.

Boy.   July 25, 2006

This little boy is a really lovely kid who will do great in a family. He is a very sweet child. He gets along with everybody and he is very well liked in his group. He has an easy-going personality and he goes with the flow. He likes to wrestle and get silly like all little boys. It is critical that a family commit to adopting him very soon. Everyone that has met him raves about how adorable and sweet he is.

UA waiting child photolisting

Boy. April 7, 2006

He is an orphanage favorite.

5 Year Old Girl in Africa Waiting

Adoption from Africa

This waiting child photolisting is for a sweet five year old girl waiting in Africa for a family of her own. D was born in 2005.  She is HIV-positive and currently on ARV’s.  She is in good health.  She is a very kind, fun-loving girl.  She is shy when you first meet her but warms up when you start interacting with her.  She loves playing tag.  She is ticklish and can be silly.  She is need of a loving adoptive family. Adopting from her country is easy and affordable.

$7300 Adoption Grants for Ethiopia

World Association for Children & Parents (WACAP) is a non-profit adoption agency. They are offering $7,300 grants toward the agency fees for the adoption of HIV-positive toddlers and children age 2 and older in Ethiopia. Eligible single women and married couples may adopt. You may specify the age range of the child(ren) you hope to adopt, but you must be open to either gender. After you complete your paperwork, you'll receive the referral of a child that matches your age preference. To find out more, please contact FamilyFinders@wacap.org. 

Ethiopia Sponsorship Opportunity

Ethiopia HIV Orphan SponsorshipLola Children’s Home is a small, loving orphanage located in Mekele, Ethiopia that serves children and families affected by HIV. Lola is the dream of Abebe Fantahun, an Ethiopian social worker that saw a tremendous need for services for HIV+ children and their families in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.

Lola Children’s Fund is now offering sponsorships for the children and families it serves. This is where  your help is needed! Please consider sponsoring a child. If you are unable to sponsor at this time, please spread this message through blogs, email and Facebook. There is so much that can be done through Lola Children’s Home and you can help make Abebe’s dream a reality.

Lola Children’s Fund offers three different sponsorships. The family sponsorship ($25/month) provides families affected by HIV with food, medication, education and other necessary services. These monies go directly to serve the families. Family sponsorships are currently limited but the need will grow as more families reach out to Lola.

The other sponsorships available through Lola are the Daycare ($30/month) and Resident ($35/months) programs. If you sponsor a child at Lola you will receive timely updates highlighting exactly how your donation is being utilized. These updates will include videos, photographs, or letters from your sponsor child along with a report from the orphanage. This small sponsorship program allows for the outstanding opportunity to be connected to your child. Each sponsor has the chance to correspond with their sponsor child on an annual basis.

Lola also offers the opportunity to provide special gifts to your sponsor child or the orphanage as a whole. This might include a birthday party, a Christmas celebration, an outing, or books for the children to enjoy. Your donation will be well documented so you too can enjoy the experience.

Because the sponsorship is entirely electronic, overhead costs are very minimal. This allows a very high percentage of your donation to go directly to the children. Transparency is important to everyone involved.

If you are interested in sponsorship or have any questions, please contact Marissa Baker at sponsorship@lolachildrensfund.org. Please help spread the word.

Why I Advocate for HIV-positive Orphans

I wholeheartedly believe that there won’t be any more HIV positive orphans to advocate for within my lifetime.

That’s right.

Until that time, I will advocate for parental care until the time comes when my advocacy efforts are no longer needed.

The solution, of course, is in preventing mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS (PMTCT). Preventing a birthmother from transmitting the virus to her newborn is only a matter of having access to medication.

In 2006, about 530,000 children became newly infected.  In 2008, around 430,000 children became infected.  As time goes on, fewer babies are being born with HIV/AIDS due to PMTCT. At the rate of 100,000 fewer per year, we’re only a few years away!

In 2004, only 10% of pregnant women with HIV were receiving ARVs in low and middle income countries.  In 2008, that figure was up to 45%. Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation reports 53% of pregnant women worldwide are currently receiving ARVs (June 2010). [Kaiser reported 51% in July 2010.] This percentage is increasing every year and I feel it is feasible to get to nearly 100% PMTCT rates in the foreseeable future.

In high income countries, mother to child transmission has been virtually eliminated and I have every reason to believe that this will be true worldwide as access to treatment becomes more commonplace. As an example, less than 200 babies are born HIV positive in the United States every year because pregnant women in this country have access to the meds. Out of those children who do end up positive, the vast majority stay with their biological families and only a couple of children per year end up in need of foster or adoptive parents.

So why do I advocate for HIV positive orphans? I choose to advocate because I feel orphans with HIV are among the most underprivileged people in society.  Their need for healthcare is a life or death matter and their need for a family is paramount to become a productive member of society.  These children have few people speaking out for them and they truly do not have the means to speak out for themselves.  Being a child without parents must be an immensely difficult position to be in.  I can’t imagine how it might be for a helpless sick  child without a parent who loves them, cares for them, protects them and provides for their daily needs.  Statistics regarding the future prospects of children who emancipate from orphanages, the foster-care system, or who grow up as street children are profoundly bleak: prostitution, homelessness, substance abuse, incarceration and suicide affect the vast majority of those children who grow up as orphans and never find permanent, loving homes. In my opinion,  orphans with HIV  and other diagnoses which ostracize them, are the most disadvantaged people on the planet and I cannot think of a group in greater need of a voice.

Until there is universal access to prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV, I will continue to bring awareness, educate families and find homes for these precious children. There are TOO MANY – at least 200 children (that I know of) are eligible for international adoption RIGHT NOW. If you would like to join me in advocating, please be in touch. We need at least 200 families and I can’t find them alone – people need to see these precious faces and learn the facts about pediatric HIV. If you are not in a position to adopt, please consider sponsoring a child so they may stay in a permanent loving family, contributing to the adoption fund of family trying to bring an HIV+ child home, or advocate on behalf of a child so that a family can find them.


Urgent Adoption Situation – family needed

Waiting child - international adoption

This little girl is in an Eastern European country which has a quick adoption program – about 6-7 months total including homestudy. Only married couples may apply. One of the parents must be 51 or younger and the other parent’s age does not matter.

Victoria is an affectionate girl who loves hugs and kisses. Her date of birth is June 2004. She likes playing outdoors and she especially loves to swing and slide. Both of her sisters have already been adopted and she is still waiting for a Mama & Papa to take her home and love her. She speaks and can dress herself but she has significant developmental delays, HIV and is described as being hyperactive. It is possible that she may have fetal alcohol syndrome. There is urgent need for a family and significant risk that she may be transferred to a mental institution soon. She has SO much potential which can only be achieved in a loving and attentive family. She has been in an excellent orphanage up to this point and it’s crucial that she find a family before being transferred to a rather awful place. The birthmother is deceased, most likely from AIDS and she has 2 biological sisters who have been adopted.

Special needs adoption photolisting

This little girl LOVES individual attention. An adoptive family who recently visited her says that it is clear she wants and needs a Mama of her own and she will really miss her sisters. She loved to lay her head in this mom’s lap while on the bench swing and having her hair stroked. She is okay with sharing the attention, too. The mom says Victoria was fine with having 2 children in her lap but the other child tried to crowd Victoria out (because he wanted the attention all for himself) and she didn’t like that. Victoria likes sensory input. For example, she kept running her arms against the husband’s unshaven face and shivering and making a funny face then doing it again. She really likes being in the middle of whatever is going on and to be included. Unfortunately she is often excluded, even by the caregivers. It is a cycle that needs to be broken: she is delayed, she gets frustrated, they don’t let her do things the others are doing,  and she therefore gets more delayed and more frustrated. She is very, very sweet and loving. She needs a family with only a couple of kids so she can get lots of individual attention.

If you want a little girl to hug and kiss, she will gladly take all the hugs and kisses you can hand out. She is good with both men and women. She is a bit small for her age – maybe a size 4. The children are valued and loved at this orphanage. The grounds are visually stimulating and the kids get outside for a couple of hours in the morning and afternoon. They even have a pool and go swimming.

Waiting child photolisting

AAI Uganda Adoption Program

HIV Adoption from Uganda

Adoption Advocates International (AAI) has introduced a pilot international adoption program for Uganda. Salem Richards is the Uganda Program Coordinator and she has also recently adopted from Uganda and blogs at SisterHaiti. They are working with an HIV orphanage in the western part of Uganda near the Congo border. The orphanage has many HIV+ children including a 2/3 year old boy, a beautiful 5 year old girl, a very sweet 7 year old boy, a 7 year old girl and a 12 year old boy. Siblings are also waiting for a family – the sister  is 4ish and the brother is 7ish. Pictures, videos and additional info are available.