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Couple to Adopt Baby Born to HIV+ Mom

Adoption agency says this is a paradigm shift, as earlier, couples were not open to adopting such children
After a 10–year wait to experience parenthood, a couple in their late thirties is all set to adopt a baby girl, well aware of the fact that she was born to an HIV+ve mother. The six–month–old, now in the care of a South Mumbai agency, will arrive at the couple’s home in about three weeks, when they move the city civil court to get a sanction.

The Thane–based couple–both employed with major corporate companies–had registered with the Adoption Coordinating Agency (ACA) after several attempts to conceive failed. "They approached us six months ago and registered as parents wanting a girl child. Initially, we were wary of discussing this case with them, or showing them the baby. Normally, people are not very forthcoming when it comes to adopting a child born to an HIV+ve mother," said Vandna Patil, a senior social worker from ACA.

Later, seeing their keenness, the agency discussed the baby, informing them at the very outset that her mother had been HIV+ve, but that she had only tested HIV antibody positive and not HIV+ve (see box for details). “Being HIV antibody positive does not mean that the baby has AIDS or is HIV+ve. The antibodies get passively transferred from the mother to the baby, but that does not mean that the baby has the virus,” said ACA panellist Dr Ashish Patrikar, the medical expert who counselled the couple.

The couple’s initial concerns were allayed by experts on the ACA panel. “People believe that if a mother is HIV+ve, the baby will become infected. But that is not the case. The fact that we told them about the reality right at the beginning built a certain sense of trust and then things became easy,” added Patrikar.

Patil added that once tests confirmed that the baby was not HIV+ve, and that antibodies too had been washed out of her system, the couple was delighted. “We helped them discuss their anxieties with doctors, to assure them that their child would not have problems in future,” she said.

Social workers at ACA say that the couple is already preparing for the baby’s arrival. "The woman used to work with Infosys, but has quit her job to give undivided attention to the baby," said another official from ACA.

Lina Kashyap, director of Tata Institute of Social Sciences and chairperson of ACA, is all praise for the couple. “In a society like ours, this is a very brave step. We are really proud of them. Social workers handling the case say their love for the child is already visible. There has been a paradigm shift in people’s attitude,” said Kashyap.

Kaumudi Telang, project director of Indian Association for Promotion of Adoption and Child Welfare, added that earlier, adoption agencies would discuss such cases only with NRI couples or inter–country adoptions, but the situation has changed. “It is good to see that couples have overcome taboos and are only concerned about the well–being of the child they want to adopt,” Telang said.

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Source: Times of India

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