It’s like one of those stormy days when you know the sun is out there, but you just can’t see it. And then the sun peeks through. And is covered once more. Everything in view is gloomy and overcast. Your heart cries out for a breakthrough.
That imagery describes much of this journey we’ve had with Lovekin. Right now that story is full of storms…
Yesterday we received lab results from one of the most advanced medical facilities in Haiti which confirmed her HIV+ status and provided a plan to deal with her infections, fever and malnutrition. Lovekin had been experiencing diarrhea so it is difficult to know from her health condition if she was receiving the formula and medicine that we had provided, or if her grandmother had been giving it to others. Her grandmother did not understand the severity of Lovekin’s challenges, but she does now. She wept profusely when it was explained to her. She worries for Lovekin’s older brother and sister who now must be tested also.
Lovekin’s family knew her father’s identity, though he had not been involved. Our team located him yesterday after returning from the clinic and told him that Lovekin was HIV positive and that he needed to get tested as well. He was outraged, demanded to be given his baby and yelled at the messengers. He blamed Lovekin’s mother for the baby’s health. Apparently he is in poor health also, and another woman to whom he was married had previously died from an unknown condition. If you read between the lines, you begin to see the potential “tip of the iceberg” of how an epidemic spreads – but that story is for another day.
When does the sun break through in this storm? Well, a partner of ours has connected us to an orphanage which cares for HIV+ children and after meeting with the director, the facility is open to taking Lovekin. It’s not a done deal, but there is a glimpse of hope. Now, we need the father and the grandmother to sign their rights away so that we can help her. This might seem callous, but the sad reality is that either of them might presume that by keeping Lovekin they will benefit financially and materially from aid and donations. But her best hope for survival is caregivers who have the training and support to give Lovekin medication on a regular schedule, meet her nutritional needs, can care for her safely and prevent illness and transmission of disease, and every other core need this child has.
There is a long road ahead, and we’re walking it together. So thankful that we are walking it with you and know that above the gloomy skies is our God in heaven.
For those who wish to understand more about HIV and AIDS, here is a non technical overview of HIV in children and babies. For those who want to help us provide for Lovekin’s immediate needs, we invite you to donate to the Lovekin Fund, which will remain dedicated to her care, and in the event that the funds exceed her needs or her lifespan, they will be used to support the neediest children in Haiti.