UPDATE: As of 3/16, Sasha has a family!
Jennifer is a Holt ambassador and adoptive mom to children who have HIV. Here, she advocates for Sasha, a newly turned 11-year-old in China who is waiting for her permanent, loving family.
Several years ago we adopted a child with HIV from China. As my heart has fallen in love with our daughter and I have been educated about HIV, I have developed a deep desire to help more children living with this very manageable condition in China. A few months ago, a dream came true as I got the privilege of traveling to China as a Holt ambassador and got to meet a beautiful, talented and healthy group of children with HIV who are ready to be adopted!
The kids we met live together in a [Holt-supported] group home that is clean and staffed with loving, kind adults. While the group home isn’t able to provide the same love and healing that a forever family can, it is indeed a comfort and refuge for them from a country and culture that rejects them wherever they turn. Children with HIV in China are usually abandoned by their extended families (after their birth parents die from AIDS), not accepted in public schools, refused care from some hospitals, unable to get a job, and often not allowed to rent a place to live on their own. When a child with HIV ages out, at the age of 14, their future life in China is very grim. While many in the Chinese culture reject and shame these kids, the government does provide them with the daily medications needed to keep the HIV in their body at a very low level, often undetectable. The result is a bunch of wonderful and healthy kids who have international adoption as their only hope. We found this particular group of kids, that we were able to spend four days with, to be confident, resilient, very talented, strong and healthy.
They were each so beautiful and each so unique. One of the girls living there is named “Sasha.” She turns 11 years old today, on February 26! Sasha was one of the most engaging kids that I encountered there. I often found her right by my side, wanting to hold my hand or just simply be by me. She found comfort in connecting. While she was fine being independent, she appropriately desired to be close to others — to have a relationship. When with the younger kids, she was their leader. She could often be found doing their hair or leading them during mealtimes. When with kids older than her, she stuck close by, quietly listening and closely observing their lively interactions.
The staff at the group home told us that when Sasha first moved in, she was not taking her medications regularly. Because of this, she was often sick and had to miss a lot of school. Missing so much school caused her to get behind. She is still behind, but she does know her colors and shapes, can count well and do simple math. The staff reported that she is now healthy and doing so much better — but she would still rather sweep the floors and do her chores than study. She is definitely a helper! They described her as capable, but a slower learner. Typically, these kids who get behind in school have a difficult time catching up because the school keeps advancing them whether they are ready or not. To thrive in her education, Sasha will need just a little extra time and attention.
While with the kids, we were able to discuss adoption quite a bit. Sasha expressed that she did indeed want to be adopted! As Sasha turns 11 this week, it breaks my heart that she has no mom and dad with her on her birthday to wrap her in their arms and tell her how loved and wanted she is. She is such a sweetheart and needs a family that is open to a bit of unknowns with her learning abilities, but ready to have a sweet and loving child enter their family!
I believe in the power of prayer. Will you please pray with me that she will not have to endure another birthday without a family?
Jennifer | Holt China Ambassador
Help more children like Sasha receive the attentive, nurturing care and specialized services they need to thrive. Give a gift to the Molly Holt Fund for Children with Special Needs!