A gay couple from the Argentine province of Sante Fe made headlines after they decided to expand their family by adopting a little girl who was born with HIV.
Married couple, Damian Pighin, 42, and Ariel Vijarra, 39, decided back in 2011 that they wanted to expand their family. However, it wasn’t after several years of fighting and disappointment that the couple from Rosario were blessed by a call in 2014 stating that a new born baby was ready to be adopted.
The couple did not hesitate to accept her, “As soon as I saw her, I felt that she was part of my life. The connection was immediate,” said Ariel.
Now, named Olivia, the little one who was only 28 days old, was born HIV+ and Damian and Ariel were informed over the phone that she had been rejected by 10 families.
“We held her in our arms, gave her the bottle and she looked at us with her eyes wide open without crying,” Ariel told the media.
Olivia has responded very well to HIV treatment and began to gain weight. Eighteen months later, the family was given great news when told that the virus was no longer detectable in Olivia. An undetectable viral load means the person living with HIV is no longer infectious and the virus is no longer able to damage their immune system.
In 2015, news of the couple’s adoption spread and a woman that had heard of their story wanted them to adopt her baby girl. The family grew by one more when baby girl Victoria was added into their lives.
The two siblings are similar in age, both turning 5 this year.
Ariel and Damien, the first gay couple to get married in the north-eastern Argentine province of Santa Fe, now make a living trying to give children, and couples a like, a family. The two work for a non-governmental organisation Acunar Familias helping unwanted children find homes with loving couples.