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U.S. family adopts Taiwanese HIV-positive child

2012/06/05 21:34:00

Taipei, June 5 (CNA) A family from the United States is expected to have completed procedures to adopt a Taiwanese HIV-positive child, along with his siblings, in a few weeks, the mother of the family said Tuesday.

The mother, who identified herself only as "Michelle," said at a news conference in Taipei that she sees the four-year-old HIV-infected "Han Han" as "more alike than different," after spending some time with him.

A mother of two, Michelle, from Alaska, said she and her husband learned about Han Han last year via an adoption agency.

After consulting with doctors and doing their own research, they decided it will be "very manageable" to raise a child with the condition, she said.

Michelle, who arrived in Taiwan with her family for the adoption procedure in late March, has spent the past three weeks with Han Han, along with his older brother and sister, who are HIV-negative.

Despite being advised of the challenges that could arise from adopting children, Michelle said she found not a great deal of difference between Taiwanese children and any others.

"They want love; they want parents; they want a home," she said, adding that the three children will fly to Alaska and begin new lives there in the coming weeks.

"We are happy to have a large family," Michelle said, noting that she and her husband both come from big families.

"I consider it a privilege to parent three new children," Michelle said, adding that her own two children, Sam and Emma, also look forward to having more siblings.

Recognizing that there will be struggles with HIV as Han Han grows, Michelle said they will handle those problems in the same way they have dealt with problems with their own children so far.

Han Han is infected with HIV through his mother, a drug addict who lost custody of her children when she was jailed.

Since early 2009, Han Han has been in the care of the Taipei-based Garden of Mercy Foundation.

Although the institution has taken great care of Han Han, the foundation's president, Susan Chang, said that it can never give him the kind of love a family can provide.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are 26 HIV-positive children in Taiwan.

(By Elaine Hou)