World Service Report – AIDS Babies Rescued in St. Petersburg
Against Great Odds
by Major Isa McDougald –
In October of 1997, six HIV babies lived in a government hospital outside of St. Petersburg. The hospital was not really equipped to handle babies, but there was no other place for them.
Captains Joseph and Pamela Smith, British Salvation Army officers, stationed in St. Petersburg, faithfully visited the hospital to play with these children and love them. Their dream at that time was to have enough money to hire two workers to go to the hospital everyday to play with, hold, and love these children who had very little joy in their young lives. Because of the generosity of the soldiers of the Pasadena Tabernacle Corps, this dream became a reality.
Natasha was one of those babies. The Smiths for months battled red tape and government bureaucracy to be given permission to adopt this special little girl. In December of 1998 Natasha joined the Smiths. Joseph Smith writes, “Natasha has joined us at long last! The judge agreed we could adopt her on December 16. She is settling in to her new home very well. She really benefited for the extra attention that she received from the two staff members that the money that the West was able to finance. When Catya started working for us, Natasha was withdrawn and was only able to show negative emotions but over the months she responded well to the cuddles and attention she received. One of the other babies, Lisa, will also be adopted this month by a Christian friend of ours. She, too, has really thrived on the extra affection and attention that she was able to receive from the staff.”
Unfortunately, there are now 22 babies, with six more expected, at the hospital in St. Petersburg. Many of these children will not develop full blown AIDS. For approximately the first year of their life they will carry the AIDS antibodies from their mother. It is a terrible tragedy that so many of these babies will have been abandoned simply for fear that they might be HIV positive.
Your prayer and financial support is coveted for these children and the work of the Army throughout the world.