In 1987 Debbie Oatman became a very untraditional single mother when she adopted an HIV positive baby. Together they faced an unsympathetic community, discrimination and even death threats. Yet, when she learned that another HIV positive child and his biological brother needed a home, Debbie didn’t hesitate to bring them into her family. Over the years, through her activism, the community has come to embrace Debbie and her boys. Now this single mother with four sons (she has one biological son) is facing a challenge that she cannot tackle alone. The safe and happy home that she has tried to provide these boys is literally sinking into the ground. Built on a shoddy foundation, their home has become a death trap to Debbie’s sons’ delicate immune systems. As the foundation sinks beneath them, the walls of the house shift and crack. With nowhere else to turn, Debbie comes to EM:HE with a desperate plea to help give her family a safe home and keep her sons from becoming just another statistic.
In addition, Camp Heartland, an organization dedicated to children with HIV, has been instrumental in helping Debbie's boys deal with the disease. The camp, whose headquarters are in Minnesota, is coming to the East Coast for the first time this summer. They will be holding their session at Clearpool Education Center, a 100-year-old camp that caters to underprivileged children in the tri-state area. The facility is in need of renovations in order to adequately host the special needs of the Heartland campers. Debbie and her boys would love for EM:HE to help them give back to the organization that has done so much for them. The local builder of the camp is Alure Home Improvement.
Debbie Oatman is an inspiring mother who was willing to take in three children that nobody wanted and provide them with a loving home. Now it’s up to Extreme Makeover: Home Edition to rebuild a home that will enable Debbie’s two HIV infected children to stay healthy and to live longer, more productive lives.
While the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition design team, local builder Amedore Homes, contractors and hundreds of workers and volunteers are transforming the Oatman-Gaitan house into a dream home, the family will go on vacation to on a private yacht in the British Virgin Islands.