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Imagine Loving Your Child

by Carol Blocksom

Mary and Joseph, Starry Night Clip ArtThis story was originally written at Christmastime but its message, like that of Christmas, is important to remember everyday. Used by permission of the author.

Imagine loving your child, imagine being willing to do anything you could to protect your child, and now imagine knowing that this virus lives in your child, every day, every night, you can never escape and you can't let down your guard. Imagine, if it were YOUR child.

As the holidays approach, we naturally think of children, happy, healthy children. We think of children enjoying Christmas and looking forward to many happy holidays. Unfortunately, some children, right here, children we pass every day, in the store, on the street, have AIDS. I know this because one of them is our son. He was born to a drug-addicted mother. She had AIDS and unknowingly passed the virus to our child. We adopted him when he was 3 weeks old. Ten months later we found out he was HIV positive.

We live here, we worship here, we are your neighbors. And there are others, men, women and children who live here and who are in hiding. At Christmastime, with our thoughts turned to the greatest gift of all, I hoped and prayed that we could all come out of hiding and feel safe. How wonderful it would be to know that if our neighbors found out about our child, and about all the other people here who are living with AIDS, that our neighbors would still look at us the same way. Would people still smile at him if they knew?

People always smile at our son. He is a beautiful child, full of mischief and always smiling at everyone. His dignity, courage and his sense of humor shine through the nightmare of this disease. He has taught me much over the years that I have been blessed to be his mother. His father adores him. His brother loves him. Everyone who has gotten to know him is amazed by him. He is bright, he is funny, and he is brave. For a long time, he has beaten the odds.

All of us, straight, gay, male, female, adult and child are threatened by this virus. We may think that it could never affect us (I thought so too), but this isn't true. Most of us think we can reduce the risk of infection by our behavior which is true to some degree. But what is totally true is that it is impossible to reduce or eliminate the risk of affection by this disease. We can not predict which one of us will love someone that has AIDS.

When you walk down a street and see the many different houses, you can't tell if a home is inhabited by AIDS. It could be the home of one of your friends, a family member or a co-worker. Everyone is afraid to talk about it but it exists and we all need to help. The very people the most afraid to tell you, are the ones the most in need of your love, support and prayers.

We know there are others like our child in the community who face these same issues every day. They, like our child need your support in so many ways. People who are living with AIDS need, housing, emotional support, medical care, and the ability to live their lives with dignity. People with AIDS have many of the same dreams, hopes and plans that everyone else has. We certainly had plans and dreams for our child, and we still do.

In the time our child has been with us, with all the many people who have known and loved him, medical professionals, teachers, friends, countless others, not one has been infected by him, but all of us have been affected by him in wonderful ways. He has enriched our lives and taught us many lessons.

Reach out and learn about AIDS for our sake and your own. Please look into your hearts and remember us in prayer today.

About the Author

You can write Carol Blocksom at MamaCinPa@aol.com. She especially welcomes mail from other parents of children with HIV/AIDS. She wrote "Imagine" in December 1996. It was first published on the web on July 31, 2000.

Andy died in Danville, Pennsylvania, Sept. 13, 2001. He was only 12 years old. Carol has written a memorial about him.