My name is Annie and I am 12 years old. My favorite subjects are History and Art. I love mystery and true crime stories. I like to play Nintendo when my foster siblings aren't around and I don't feel well. I can't remember my life before HIV and foster care. I think that's just because it would depress me too much and it probably isn't a good idea to dwell on the past.
I hope that HIV and foster care are not my eternal future. Someday I hope that I can find a family that will want me to be their daughter. I know that even if my mother chose my stepfather over me that it was her problem and not mine. I didn't do anything wrong but sometimes it's hard to remember that because I have HIV and no one has adopted me yet.
I am trying not to be too good so they won't think something is wrong with me. That gets in the way sometimes because I love to learn and go to school. I love to read and keep my room clean. How else would I be able to find anything? I think that I hate the virus more than the one who gave it to me. He may have given me HIV but he didn't take away my ability to write, read, and draw. HIV is different because when I was in the hospital the doctor had to stick the IV in my right hand and I couldn't write, color, or draw. That sucks worse than the green Jell-O and being woken up to give me a shot to go to sleep.
Foster care is hard too because I don't get to do a lot of things that my friends get to do. I hate having to put up with social workers who can't remember my name so they pat me on the head and call me "honey." I had to go through three different people for permission to attend a funeral. It was for the only other kid I knew in my city who had AIDS. I got to go but it still felt like I was under surveillance so that I wouldn't try to kill myself. Cripes! I only did that once and that was when I was 10 years old and had just found out that I was positive.
I will never do it again because now I am finding different ways of dealing with the anger, pain, and fear. I am still young and I will cry and get scared and be depressed just like everyone else but I wish that people wouldn't expect me to commit suicide every time I cry. My only wish is that after I get my own family is that I could have just one day where I didn't have HIV.
This article was provided by Women Alive. It is a part of the publication Women Alive Newsletter.