Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Moral quandary..... or is it?

A while back I faced a moral dilemma. A loved one called from 800 miles away to tell me that they felt their child was being abused. He claimed to have seen bruises and that she had a 104 temp but was being untreated. At the time the child was 8 months old. He told me he was scared and upset and that neither he or his estranged wife could take care of a child and could we help him by making sure his baby was safe and then adopting her. We wanted more children and we have always been open for adoption since I have such a hard time carrying to term so we said yes. But how to handle it? He said the mother would agree to adoption if we made sure it was a very open adoption. DO I say yes to that and agree knowing he also thinks she is abusing the baby? What do I do about the abuse? Some would say to stay out of it all. It was bound to be a drama filled situation. Some would say to report the abuse and then stay out of it. Some would say jump in and do all that can be done. Even without the legal obligation to report the abuse and insist on a well child check I would have done the last. This was a child in need. Frankly if ANYONE had called me with this story I would have leapt at helping. NO child deserves to be in danger. I would hope that if someone thought I was abusive they would report it as well because abuse is not a case of "Let's wait for more evidence." So many abusers are good at hiding the signs. Why chance it? So I called the mother who was far from receptive and refused to speak to me. I also called the local police and insisted on a well child check. In the end it came out that the person who had called me was heavily into drugs, was a natural liar, and was pretty much hoping I would "buy" his child. Do I feel sorrow for upsetting the mother? Absolutely. Would I do the same thing today? YES. We as human beings and especially those of us that are parents have not only a legal obligation but a moral one to report any suspected child abuse no matter what we might think about the situation. Because what if you failed to call and you were wrong and a child was hospitalized or, Heaven forbid, died because you failed to act.

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