Life Before Meds and Us

27 Jul

Since coming home with our  precious child, I have often thought of a few questions.  What if there were no HIV meds?  What if Ethiopia did not get aid or help with HIV medications?  What if our daughter was not given HIV drugs starting at age one?  Would she have been alive at age two for us to adopt?

In May, Jen posted about HIV stages.  When I read about the stages, I thought…I wonder what our daughter’s stage was before she started on medications.  Well, I recently found a document from the WWO-AFO Worldwide Orphan Foundation  -Ethiopia that notated about her HIV stage.  Dr. Sophia Mengistu, the clinic’s doctor, noted that before starting medication our daughter was  diagnosed with the  HIV virus, a severe immunosuppression(CD4 percentage 9),WHO Pediatric Stage 3 with moderate malnutrition (under wt and stunted with BMI<3). 

We knew our daughter could not have been doing well before medication.  Her little body still shows signs of being affected by the HIV virus prior to medication. 
So what was Stage 3 life like for her???

We were given a painful glimpse into her past through two photographs.  An AWAA family traveled in Dec. 2008 and took pictures of children at the Kidcare Orphanage (They now don’t allow this.)  Anyway, I looked through this family’s online photo album and saw two pictures of our daughter just after she had turned one (Dec 08 was the same month she started her HIV meds).  She was sleeping in a crib and looked horrible.  Her face is sunken in, and she was tiny and sickly looking.  To be honest, she looks dead in the pictures.  I wept when I saw her photo.  She was so little, so young, so sick, and so alone.  I wept for our daughter painful past but also wept for HIV orphans still waiting for a home. 

We saw what Pediatric Stage 3 looked like for our daughter.  Life before medication didn’t look like any life at all.  From the looks of her one year old photo, she would not have made it to her second birthday and her adoption if it weren’t for HIV medications.  I praise God for the Worldwide Orphan Foundation and other organizations that help Ethiopia care for its HIV population.  I praise God for getting our daughter care so that she could live and be adopted into our home.

You have probably heard of the Lazarus Effect , where there is a huge difference once a person starts on HIV medication.  Well, we have seen it first hand.   From her Stage 3 photo to now is amazing.   Once lifeless in a crib to our home where she loves to read books, feed her dolls, play with balls, be tickled, dance to music,  play with  jewelry, and especially loves giving kisses and hugs to her family. 
What a difference medicine can make! 
What a difference a home can make!
What a blessing!

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