New story at Medium’s The Development Set:
In 2011, a young Ugandan woman I’ll call Evelyn learned she was HIV-positive when she was six months pregnant. Her husband’s family blamed her for the diagnosis, and declared they would find him a new wife. Newly alone and vulnerable, Evelyn was at a loss when she learned her newborn son “Joshua” was positive as well. So Evelyn listened closely when a nurse at the hospital said she knew a place where Joshua could receive treatment: a nearby “baby’s home,” or orphanage, that also offered free medical care.
For months after his birth, the nurse urged Evelyn to take Joshua to the home. When Joshua was around a year old, Evelyn finally relented, but called back the next day, saying she missed him. The staff at the home told her it was too late — that Joshua was going to be taken out of the country by a foreign white couple.
…In many other circumstances, Evelyn’s relationship with her son would have likely ended at the baby’s home. Discouraged by the orphanage’s obstruction, and lacking the resources to demand her rights, she might have walked away. The American family proposed by the home would have adopted, and they would have been assured that they were helping an abandoned orphan. But this time, things happened differently.