Posted by: Worried girlfriend - England | 2018/02/19

Would it be recommendable for someone who has HIV and can't sustain a reasonable diet/lifestyle for themselves to take on their motherless 8yr old child in a country where there isn't any Gov support? The question is with regards to my beautiful boyfriend, who is set upon taking his child from the care of his late ex-girlfriend's family. Lately, he can't even look after his own needs properly as in diet, due to lack of finances and the room which he rents has a leaking roof, no canopy over his door so he gets water flooding from there and he has no heating either. On top of that, he only has one single bed, which he has stated that the child would sleep there and eat his own food allowance. I try to to help him as much as I can but I'm in a bad way myself financially. I have tried to get him to think logically about the situation and accept that he will have to wait until he's in a better position to acquire an support his child properly, but he thinks I'm not understanding his situation. As far as I'm concerned, I understand it perfectly and seeing both angles. My boyfriend is losing weight due to lack of the required nutrition and although he's strict with his HIV meds, I'm extremely worried that he's going to put his health at further risk by starving himself and giving up his bed. I know it's important to fully support your immune system at all times, even when you're not ill and eating correctly and having enough sleep is detrimental towards that!....... Am I not seeing the full picture and being unreasonable asking him to better prepare for the undertaking of single childcare when he is in poverty? I'm also thinking of the child's needs and they are reportedly clever, so I'm worried they might pick up on the fact that their Dad's suffering and it could affect their emotional thinking too!? Much respect and more appreciation.

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Our expert says:
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- 2018/02/20

Hello WG
Gosh, this is a complex situation. Do I understand correctly that you are based in England, with a current boyfriend who is HIV positive, and despite the comparatively generous availability of welfare support in Britain, lives in a destitute style, in a dreadful room and not maintaining a healthy diet ?  That sounds odd.  Dos he have a job ?  If not, why not ?  Is he receiving ordinary British social benefits ?  If not, why not ?  Even if he is an illegal immigrant there, he could receive healthy housing and an allowance for food.  How does he spend what he gets ? Is he spending on alcohol and/or street drugs ?
You're absolutely right that if he can't manage to properly care for himself even in a country with good welfare services and much available help, he is very unlikely to be able to care properly for a child.
Apparently he fathered a child with a girlfriend in some other country 9 maybe in Africa ? ) : was he a tourist or visitor there,   or is that his homeland ? It sounds as though his girlfriend has died, perhaps from AIDS, and the child is being looked after by her family.  How is he so sure that the child is not being rather better looked after by them, than he would be able to do, if the child joined him ?
There would surely be complication and expenses involved.  The local welfare authorities wherever the child is would ( and should ) be cautious about letting the child leave a caring family of relatives to join a strange man in a strange land. Has he been legally registered as the child's father ?  If not, trying to arrange this could be difficult and expensive and time consuming.
If those authorities are competent, they would want to be sure that the child will be better cared for by this man, and that would be hard to prove.
There would be suspicions that he is wanting the child with him to perhaps increase the amounts of welfare benefits he might receive in the UK, and that might not be easy to refute.  The child is 8 : why has he only now decided that he wants the child to be with him ? 
How would he pay for the child's travel expenses to come to Britain ? Has he been officially ensured that the child would be allowed entry to Britain ? With what passport, and what sort of visa ?  Is the child healthy ?
You both seem to greatly underestimate the needs of the child, which are very much more than sharing a bed in a damp room and sharing and already inadequate diet.  Where would he go to school ? What educational qualifications does he have from his home country, & would they be recognized in England ?   Does the boy speak fluent English ?
Would your friend want to and be allowed to adopt the boy ?  How would the boy adjust to being uprooted from the only community and family he has known all his life, to a strange and much colder country ?  This is potentially seriously psychologically troubling for such a child, much more so that worrying about his dad's troubles.  Indeed, how well does he now this "dad" : how much time have they spent together in this boy's life ?
From your comments I don't think you fully understand the situation, but it sounds as though this man hardly understands the true situation at all. Don't feel sorry for him, for announcing a rather daft plan with needless risks for the child.

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