“When I saw the medics treated HIV-infected women in childbirth, has decided to adopt at least one baby with human immunodeficiency virus”

Svetlana and Eugene Isayev, who were the first in Ukraine adopted a child with an HIV-positive status, has now add to their family seven more kids with various illnesses.

For the first time about Svetlana and Eugenia Isayev of the city of Mariupol, Donetsk region, we wrote four years ago in 2007, when the family adopted a baby from the first Makeyevka specialized orphanage for abandoned children whose parents were diagnosed with HIV. Then a couple promised that will not stop and soon adopted and the second, and then took custody of several children with HIV-positive status. Now the family besides two their own children, take care seven more children. For this heroic act Svetlana Isayeva in 2009 was awarded the Order of Princess Olga III degree.

“The sheets on which I was laying, doctors burned in the yard, and the bed frame cut to pieces”

Svetlana, and Eugene grew up without brothers and sisters, and six years ago when they were married, they did not plan a large family, saying that as God wills. A thought to take a needy baby came to Svetlana … after the first birth. Together with her in the hospital room was an HIV-infected woman in labor. 

– When I saw how doctors treat this woman, I decided to take at least one HIV-infected child – says Svetlana. – My neighbor in the hospital room was clearly experiencing what is labeled as discrimination: the doctors were behaving as she had the lepers, all kind nurses showed that fear of infection. I then thought that if this woman before the birth was thought to leave her child under the care of the state, that, having experienced such pressure, it certainly would do it. Over the past five years, attitudes towards people living with HIV have become more tolerant, but my husband and I remember other times.

Svetlana’s husband Eugene among the first in the Donetsk region received the status of HIV-positive. This was back in the early ’90s. At that time, Eugene was in the hospital with pneumonia, cough and a temperature had troubled him far more than the news of his presence immunodeficiency virus. But he was not able to finish his treatment for pneumonia: as soon as doctors announced a diagnosis, he was immediately discharged, sent home with high fever. What kind of virus they had found Eugene then did not really understand, but when he returned to the hospital to pick up his things, he was horrified.

– Hospital unit rose to such if they had just exploded a nuclear reactor: the ward, where I lay, to evacuate all patients and rolled my bed … burned my bed sheets in the yard, and then cut my bed outside on pieces, – recalls events of 20 years ago with the irony, but then he was not amused. – I have not had time to leave, and on the floor has already launched a massive operation to disinfect whole ward. I remember seeing all this; I thought that I have left to live a few days. The ranks of my friends have thinned at once; many were convinced that if I sneeze, then everyone will die of AIDS. AIDS then was called none other than the plague of the twentieth century! The difference between HIV and AIDS, at that time, was known only to narrow-profile professionals. It was thought once you have found the immunodeficiency virus, you’re already doomed.

Nevertheless, “doomed” didn’t die, but get married – to a woman who was not infected. The Isayevs than had two children, and they didn’t inherit immunodeficiency virus.

“The child suffered no more from his illness, but from loneliness”

– After I announced my status, I have lived for five years in almost a complete isolation. But now the loneliness I certainly is not an issue – laughing Eugene. – On the contrary, to be alone to pray (Svetlana and Eugene believers. – Ed.), I need to get up no later than four in the morning. Then the children begin to wake up: who is five, who is six, who’ll get to school – everyone has his own biological clock, its own character.

Some of the Isayev’s foster kids have inherited from their parent’s immunodeficiency virus. In fact that Eugene has every month to bring home a whole box of antiretroviral drugs, he remembers by heart the cycle how to take medication that is prescribed for each child individually. However, more parents are not worried about HIV status, but other illnesses of their foster children.

 – Our little Mishka had some legs problems, go-go then the child falls, – says Eugene. – And now Mishka goes to gymnastics. On the trampoline, set in the yard, jumping out. And besides, his our little professor: a couple of times a heard a poem and already knows by heart! He still had a year to attend school, but he’s already mastered the alphabet.

– And when we took Alexander, all sympathetic sigh, saying that a child with bone tuberculosis will not live long – says Svetlana. – Sasha came to live with us, and the results of its analysis, each time getting better. The disease has receded, now Sasha goes to art school, wins prizes at competitions drawings.

Both Misha, and Alexandra, who were taken into custody by the Isaeyevs, have relatives, but they abandoned these children. When Sasha was placed in a children’s specialized sanatorium, her mother died, and the father initially was not interested in his daughter’s life.

– I think that the child suffered no more from her illness, loneliness: the four years that Sasha had to stay at the hospital it even once no one came, – says Svetlana.

Of course, on how to celebrate New Year in a circle of a large family and even in this fancy dress, Sasha, and never dreamed. Two years ago, fate gave her a miracle. By a holiday girl was dressed in a splendid dress of a princess, and a gift she received the most coveted – Barbie doll with a wardrobe to boot!

Sasha and now remembers the first days of life in the family’s home attacked Isaevs food: any dishes mommy (how girl calling Svetlana) would make, seemed to her the most delicious in the world. She remembers how impressed she made to go on the market. Sasha has fascinated with every purchase, every detail, because it was her first time. “I’m never went to the market with my biological mom” – explains a girl. Sasha now know what real holidays, trips to the sea (the family lived virtually on the shore of the Sea of Azov), travel to the Crimea, in the Holy Mountain forests.

“We were surprised to find that these kids do not know what it consists of tea …”

– I’m not going to a Blue Lake, I have to take care of my grandmother – not without pride, says Misha.

My question is “What’s wrong with Grandma?” Isayev welcome laughter. With my grandmother, it turns out all right, she still works at the factory but few of the kids ready for her “take care” or, rather, to remain under its supervision: insisting that the grandchildren have acquired basic skills. According to the mother of a large family, having the custody of teenage girls, she found that they didn’t know how wash clothes and hard … do not want this study… Despite all the tricks Svetlana taught all her kids how to take care of themselves and personal belongings.

– We with my husband put a lot of effort to fight the “symptoms” of the old boarding the lives of these children – life on full state support. – When they got to us, we were surprised to learn that these kids do not know what it consists of … tea. Preparation of a tea was for them as “magic “: they also got already made. Children deprived of family care, go absolutely not adapted into adulthood – convinced Isayeva.

Isaev say they are ready to take even more children, if only someone would help them to attach one or two rooms to the house, given to spouses in a perpetual lease of their religious community. Foundation for «Development of Ukraine” has helped the family with the provision of water (a village where they live, have difficulties with water supply) – in the courtyard of the Isaev had his own well. But the opportunities to enter the program that systematically provide charitable assistance they don’t have. Because after Isayev adopted two children with confirmed HIV-positive status, laws in our country have changed, restricting the rights of HIV-infected foster parents to adopt children. Due to the fact that Svetlana’s husband has that status, spouses cannot create an adoptive family or family-type children’s home – these forms of foster care provide greater financial support from the state. “Well, I will not divorce my husband, in fact!” – Says Svetlana. After learning about “innovations “in the legislation, Svetlana doing all paperwork only on her. Majority of funds that family received are spent on food.

– This family deserves help in the first place, because children at the Isaevv’s family doing well, – said the chief doctor of Makeyevka specialized orphanage Viktor Goncharov. – After our two former teachers, have created adoptive families (about Lyudmila Panchohe and Faith Rosohe “FACTS” wrote. – Ed.) Isayevs were the first who were not afraid to adopt a child with HIV-positive status. But so far from our institution prefer to take children who have a half years in the presence of virus in the body has not been confirmed. Over the past four years have being taken into families (under various forms of care. – Ed.) 30 of our children, but with a confirmed presence of HIV virus in the blood have been adopted only five children. And these kids do not understand how they differ from their peers, why to the others are coming, “Mom and Dad,” but not for them … Elena Smirnova, “FACTS” (Donetsk)