Fri, Apr 06, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Couple adopts AIDS orphan

By Chou Fu-mei  /  STAFF REPORTER

An American couple in Taiwan has become the first foster parents of a baby born to a biological mother infected with AIDS.

May Chyo (邱淑美), director of the Garden of Mercy Foundation, said the three-month-old child was brought to the foundation after being abandoned by his mother, a drug addict and AIDS patient.

While further tests will be necessary to determine if the baby is infected, the couple -- who began taking care of the boy after replying to an ad seeking temporary foster parents -- became so attached to the child they decided to adopt him regardless of the outcome.

The Sustainable Taiwan Cultural Foundation estimates that the number of AIDS babies in Taiwan could be five to 10 times greater than official government figures and warns that the nation has yet to establish adequate measures to provide for their adoption and education. It warns that if the government doesn't make the appropriate changes, the situation will deteriorate and social costs will increase.

Statistics from the Department of Health's Center for Disease Control showed that 80 Taiwanese were born to mothers with AIDS. Of these, three have been confirmed to have the disease, while tests results for 42 others are still pending. Thirty-three children under the age of nine were infected with AIDS by their mother.

Abandoned AIDS children are temporarily sent to the mercy foundation or Harmony Home, another charitable organization. On average, one case emerges every month, but since February, five cases have been reported.

Yang Chieh (楊捷), founder of Harmony Home, said that the legal difficulties attendant to placing children in foster homes have put a large strain on the nurses and caregivers at the foundation, which is in urgent need of additional specialists.

This story has been viewed 2357 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top