Aparecida, Teresopolis, Brazil

Aparecida, 47, was married and had her first child when she was 11 years old. She had three children before she was 18. She later decided to be sterilized. Her children are now 28, 26, and 24. Aparecida’s husband, her first boyfriend and the only man she has ever been with, was murdered three years ago.

Two years ago Aparecida adopted Mathias. Mathias’ mother, a homeless, HIV-positive drug addict, gave birth to Mathias on the street. He was born HIV-positive. Aparecida, who knew the mother, took Mathias in as a foster child when he was only three days old. She adopted him several months later. Since then Aparecida has fostered and adopted nine other children, including an HIV-positive teen, three children who have been sexually abused and twins with Downs’s syndrome.


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