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What to do or say re: undernourished vegan baby?

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  • #61
    I live in an area where child abuse practically runs rampant. Many people won't step in and try to help a child who's obviously suffering because they're afraid to rock the boat, and maybe it would just be rude or un-neighborly. I, for one, couldn't care less about hassling someone, probably a total stranger, if there's innocent lives at risk. Your right to be "not bothered" doesn't supersede an innocent, helpless child's right to not starve to death.
    As for the MIL's relationship with the baby's mother, there won't be much of a relationship to salvage if that baby ends up dying.
    “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Rumi

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    • #62
      Is it because there's a child involved that so many of you are reacting irrationally? I'm not trying to be antagonistic. I'm really trying to understand.

      I mean, do you really think that it's a good idea for the OP, someone who has never seen/met the child, to just call CPS based on what her friend has told her? Wouldn't it make more sense for the OP's friend, the child's grandma, to first talk to the dad about this? I hate to sound like a broken record, but your reactions are really strange and surprising to me.

      I thought people on these forums would be more libertarian-leaning, and people here generally are. But this thread has been crazy.

      My journal

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      • #63
        Originally posted by diene View Post
        Is it because there's a child involved that so many of you are reacting irrationally? I'm not trying to be antagonistic. I'm really trying to understand.

        I mean, do you really think that it's a good idea for the OP, someone who has never seen/met the child, to just call CPS based on what her friend has told her? Wouldn't it make more sense for the OP's friend, the child's grandma, to first talk to the dad about this? I hate to sound like a broken record, but your reactions are really strange and surprising to me.

        I thought people on these forums would be more libertarian-leaning, and people here generally are. But this thread has been crazy.
        Letting a baby die for the vegan cause is crazy. And the results of this behavior will very possibly ruin the baby's life. Or end it. Imminently. You'd take the chance that the baby dies rather than cause these people an inconvenience. Many of us don't feel that's the best course of action.
        The Champagne of Beards

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        • #64
          Yes, it is because a child is involved. I'm all for Libertarianism, and if you, as an adult in possession of all your faculties, want to go vegan, or fruitarian, or try to live off sunshine (sunshinarian?), or whatever kooky diet you can dream up, knock yourself out. I figure that is fewer people who will be able to put up a real fight when the zombie apocalyse happens, thereby increasing my chances. However, imposing your kooky diet upon an infant is not okay if that diet is not giving the baby what it needs to thrive.

          I agree that grandma should be the first step here, but she may not be willing to submit more than a timid "are you sure the baby is eating enough?" for fear of jeopardizing her relationship with her family. I also agree the OP should try to get some sort of independent verification before calling the authorities. But if she has a reasonable suspicion (based on viewing the child directly, or seeing pictures) then I have zero problem with her notifying the authorities.

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          • #65
            Of course because a child is involved. A child who cannot speak for themselves. Who knows if Grandma will speak up. From what the OP said, Grandma does not sound like a strong advocate because the child is two and she doesn't seem to have put her foot down with at least Dad. If Dad has done nothing, then who? Hopefully by now, Grandma or Dad have done the right thing.

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            • #66
              Originally posted by diene View Post
              I thought people on these forums would be more libertarian-leaning, and people here generally are. But this thread has been crazy.
              I don't think this has anything to do with libertarianism.

              This is like one of those situations where the parents, following some way out religion, even one of their own creation, have a child die from untreated diabetes or during an exorcism.
              Last edited by eKatherine; 07-10-2013, 02:07 PM.

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              • #67
                But how do you know that the parents (at least the dad) will not listen to reason?

                Anyway, I wonder what the OP ended up doing.

                My journal

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                • #68
                  Originally posted by diene View Post
                  But how do you know that the parents (at least the dad) will not listen to reason?

                  Anyway, I wonder what the OP ended up doing.
                  I think that's wise to approach the father first. This is the Internet and everyone here is a million degrees from this situation. We can only give general advice based on limited info that we assume is also accurate.
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                  “It does not take a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.” - Samuel Adams

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                  • #69
                    There is a question around whether or not to call CPS in general because it's about whether we are going to take a 'community approach' to solving the problem or the "let the authorities deal with it" approach to solving the problem.

                    From my point of view, authorities should be called after every community approach has been taken. As many people have asserted, most people do not want to get involved because they don't want to be seen as a "bad guy" -- in a sense, they collude with the problem -- and then wash their consciences when they call the authorities.

                    Instead, taking a community approach can actually solve the problem without the trauma of what the authorities may do. For example, I lived in an apartment in my university years, where a young mother and her children lived. In moved a boyfriend, who could be quite aggressive. he frightened me a few times!

                    So, i decided to invite the mom and kids over for a fun craft and pizza and movie night. Once the kids passed out, I talked with the mom about her boyfriend -- what concerns she might ahve for her children in regards to him, and what concerns I had as well. We talked about what solutions might exist for us, and I contacted a local church organization (catholic), to find out what sorts of services were available.

                    Not only were they able to help with her food/clothing/shelter/educational costs for her children, but they provided a really cool family-friendly environment for them, as well as the opportunity for couple's therapy. Ultimately, they broke up, but the whole time the community was making sure that those kids were safe, and the mom felt supported in the process.

                    In another instance, a mom was going through some severe depression. She'd been left by her husband (he had abandoned all of them), and didn't have money, job, etc. She managed to keep the house, but she was so depressed she could hardly get out of bed. The kids were basically fed, btu the house was a mess, adn the kids seemed a bit neglected overall. A couple of neighbors and I went over, and asked her how we could help her cope. I connected her with a local support group, and we took turns cleaning her home, doing laundry, and making sure that they all had nutritious food. Her support group coordinator helped her get disability, and then later helped her find a job when she was ready. From there, she took over caring for her children more and more as she got on her feet.

                    We didn't need CPS. We needed the commitment to step in and *really help* in such a situation.

                    IN this sort of situation, I would simply go and raise my concerns. I'd take the carts, point out elements that would demonstrate why I think the child might have an issue with integration of their food (not speaking about veganism, but about "other possible medical explanations") so that the family would feel motivated to seek help. I might even make vegan foods to take over that are more nourishing for the mother AND the child (since the mother is breastfeeding).

                    If I feel convinced that the parents are not taking action, and are not accepting a community-based support process, THEN i would consider calling the authorities. But only then.

                    IN this instance, the OP knows nothing other than the worries of a Grandmother who may have issues with the way her children ahve decided to do things (like my MIL is with us) -- and it may be more a fear/concern about *that* than it is a reality that the child is not thriving (or hasn't gone to the doctor).

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                    • #70
                      The problem here is that this s a 1yr old child who may be in immediate danger. Unfortunately as an ER nurse we usually see the end results of people doing nothing because they didn't want to interfere or cause the family problems. If grandma is not willing to stand up for the child and get the child into a doctor pronto then I stand by my original statement that CPS needs to get involved. It is a crime to ignore suspected child abuse!

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                      • #71
                        Originally posted by zoebird View Post
                        There is a question around whether or not to call CPS in general because it's about whether we are going to take a 'community approach' to solving the problem or the "let the authorities deal with it" approach to solving the problem.

                        From my point of view, authorities should be called after every community approach has been taken. As many people have asserted, most people do not want to get involved because they don't want to be seen as a "bad guy" -- in a sense, they collude with the problem -- and then wash their consciences when they call the authorities.

                        Instead, taking a community approach can actually solve the problem without the trauma of what the authorities may do. For example, I lived in an apartment in my university years, where a young mother and her children lived. In moved a boyfriend, who could be quite aggressive. he frightened me a few times!

                        So, i decided to invite the mom and kids over for a fun craft and pizza and movie night. Once the kids passed out, I talked with the mom about her boyfriend -- what concerns she might ahve for her children in regards to him, and what concerns I had as well. We talked about what solutions might exist for us, and I contacted a local church organization (catholic), to find out what sorts of services were available.

                        Not only were they able to help with her food/clothing/shelter/educational costs for her children, but they provided a really cool family-friendly environment for them, as well as the opportunity for couple's therapy. Ultimately, they broke up, but the whole time the community was making sure that those kids were safe, and the mom felt supported in the process.

                        In another instance, a mom was going through some severe depression. She'd been left by her husband (he had abandoned all of them), and didn't have money, job, etc. She managed to keep the house, but she was so depressed she could hardly get out of bed. The kids were basically fed, btu the house was a mess, adn the kids seemed a bit neglected overall. A couple of neighbors and I went over, and asked her how we could help her cope. I connected her with a local support group, and we took turns cleaning her home, doing laundry, and making sure that they all had nutritious food. Her support group coordinator helped her get disability, and then later helped her find a job when she was ready. From there, she took over caring for her children more and more as she got on her feet.

                        We didn't need CPS. We needed the commitment to step in and *really help* in such a situation.

                        IN this sort of situation, I would simply go and raise my concerns. I'd take the carts, point out elements that would demonstrate why I think the child might have an issue with integration of their food (not speaking about veganism, but about "other possible medical explanations") so that the family would feel motivated to seek help. I might even make vegan foods to take over that are more nourishing for the mother AND the child (since the mother is breastfeeding).

                        If I feel convinced that the parents are not taking action, and are not accepting a community-based support process, THEN i would consider calling the authorities. But only then.

                        IN this instance, the OP knows nothing other than the worries of a Grandmother who may have issues with the way her children ahve decided to do things (like my MIL is with us) -- and it may be more a fear/concern about *that* than it is a reality that the child is not thriving (or hasn't gone to the doctor).
                        What you seem to be saying is that we should trust that there is a community around her that will take over and deal with it, many private citizens donating their time and money to a woman they may not even know?

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                        • #72
                          Originally posted by eKatherine View Post
                          What you seem to be saying is that we should trust that there is a community around her that will take over and deal with it, many private citizens donating their time and money to a woman they may not even know?
                          I'm confused, I thought the point was that she's better than us because she helped someone once. Sorry, re-read, twice. So maybe twice as better than us?
                          “In God we trust; all others must bring data.” W. Edwards Deming
                          Blogging at http://loafingcactus.com

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                          • #73
                            Originally posted by loafingcactus View Post
                            I'm confused, I thought the point was that she's better than us because she helped someone once. Sorry, re-read, twice. So maybe twice as better than us?
                            Could be.

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                            • #74
                              No, the point was for the OP's friend to take a community approach, rather than taking an authority approach *at this point in time*.

                              The reasoning behind this is similar to Deine's experience. And this family's experience.

                              Once you call the authorities, the bureaucracy takes over. What happens then is really a matter of 30-day notices, having to file things properly, and the opinion of the person who is on the case -- which may be pressured by the income that placing children creates for the department and the state (look up what happens to native children in the Dakotas and how that ties in with money).

                              My core value is that children are taken care of and that families -- if they are healthy -- stay together. That is, in the case of my depressed neighbor, she could have most definitely had her children removed from her home and in the system. Then what? How was that going to solve the problem for her or her children?

                              Yes, maybe she gets help through the state and gets on her feet and gets her children back -- but that may not be the case. And foster care isn't pretty either. Lots of children are abused in foster care.

                              As such, knowing what community services are available for families (that are non-governmental, as well as governmental ones), or knowing who can access them (why I went to catholic social services in the first instance) can help keep children healthy and families together.

                              To me, CPS is a last port of call, a last ditch effort.

                              I'm not saying that *you* have to volunteer or do anything. I'm just saying that when we are in community, we can take a community approach.

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                              • #75
                                Originally posted by RichMahogany View Post
                                Imagine this baby dying of malnutrition. Happens to vegan babies all the time. Babies can't choose to deny their humanity. I sure wouldn't want to cause anybody a hassle though...
                                The United States is basically a police state, and if you call CPS the parent's life will become a living hell, and ordinarily I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

                                But this baby is going to be messed up for life, so I agree with Rich.

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