L/21, C/34, R/41, FR/42, WNBS/65.
The photo below is Barb circa 1936 at an age between 1 and 2. Its inclusion here has been prompted by the unconscionable taking of an obese child from her parents in Albuquerque, Mew Mexico . . . just because she was obese.
The conclusion made by the "authorities" is that the obesity is proof that the child has been abused or neglected by her parents.
Everyone in New Mexico must
The article below the picture is that to which Barb responded so vigorously.
August 26, 2000
State Takes Overweight Child
Born just three years ago, Anamarie Martinez-Regino has never had an easy life. She has been in and out of hospitals since she was 2 months old because of a weight problem.
while she was
at Presbyterian Hospital, the state of New Mexico removed her from the
custody of her parents based on a doctor's recommendation citing
"They dragged her out of the room kicking and screaming," said Anamarie's mother, Adela Martinez. "All she's known her whole life is me, Miguel (Adela's husband), my mother, the family. She was terrified."
Recently measured at 120 pounds and 3.5 feet in height, Anamarie is clearly obese and tall for her age. But Martinez, her husband Miguel Regino and family friends all testify that the problem has medical roots — not overeating, forced feeding or bad nutrition at home.
Monika Mahal, the girl's doctor who made the recommendation, is out of town and wasn't available for comment on the case.
Irene Moody, who is in private practice with Mahal and has examined Anamarie, said Friday the decision to remove parental custody of Anamarie was done in the best interest of the child.
"I think what has evolved," Moody said, "shouldn't be placed on Dr. Mahal. She did what is in the best interest of the child, and she really feels that what is going on with Anamarie is life-threatening. And if this isn't taken care of — if she doesn't lose weight — she may not make it. I think that's hard for a parent to hear."
Glandular tests have been conducted and nothing abnormal has been found, Moody said.
At the same time, Moody said no one knows why Anamarie is so heavy or tall. She is three times heavier and 50 percent taller than an average 3-year-old.
"I can't tell you what is causing her to be this large in absolute certainty," Moody said, "but we do know that her size is life-threatening."
Martinez said everything Anamarie eats is recorded and reported to doctors, a ritual the family practices religiously.
"I think everyone agrees she has a slow metabolism," Moody said, "and it is felt that she needs a very small number of calories per day. So, I think it is hard to say it's overeating in the normal sense of the word."
Until Friday, when legal papers for a custody hearing were served, no agency or law enforcement office had charged the family with anything improper in the treatment of Anamarie, Martinez said. And because doctors don't know why the girl gains weight so easily, Martinez, Regino and the family's friends are perplexed over the loss of custody.
Martinez said the legal papers cite a medical condition called "Munchausen Byproxy Syndrome" as a possible cause of Anamarie's condition. Martinez said she had never heard of the condition.
According to the On-line Medical Dictionary, munchausen syndrome by proxy is a condition in which the symptoms of a disease are fabricated, usually by a parent.
"I can't believe that's what they're thinking," said Martinez, when told the definition of the syndrome Friday night. "How can I make her body grow the way it has? It's back to blaming us."
Ramona Gaona, a baby sitter and family friend, said earlier Friday: "This little girl is perfectly normal, other than her physical appearance. She's bright. She eats normally. She goes two or three hours without eating, like most 3-year-olds. And when she does eat, it's what you'd normally expect a 3-year-old to eat."
Fighting back tears outside Presbyterian Hospital, Martinez said she has begged doctors to refer Anamarie to specialists in bigger cities — Phoenix, Denver, Dallas, anywhere. But she has never succeeded.
"They don't know what's going on, and all they can do is remove her from me, the family — the only people she's ever known. It doesn't make sense," she said. "Maybe in a bigger city with specialists they can find out how to deal with this."
Martinez also is puzzled because the family has been dealing with Anamarie's problems for three years without charges of improper care.
"And now, all of sudden we can't deal with the problem."
Further confusing Martinez, she said, is that Anamarie had a test about a month ago that showed the weight hasn't yet placed unhealthy stress on her heart.
However, Moody said Friday the obesity is placing such a stress on Anamarie's heart that her condition is life-threatening.
The way the state Children's Protective Service handled the case also upsets Martinez.
On Aug. 18, an initial meeting with the state's social worker was conducted virtually entirely in Spanish, though Martinez is a native New Mexican and more comfortable speaking English.
"She asked me if I would prefer conducting the interview in English or Spanish," Martinez said. "I told her English, but she said she was more comfortable in Spanish."
Martinez said she answered the questions in English, while the social worker continued to speak virtually the entire time in Spanish.
Anamarie's father is from Mexico, and more comfortable with Spanish, but Martinez said the interview was mainly with her.
The document left with her after that meeting also was in Spanish.
"When they're taking your child away, I would have preferred they communicate with you in the language you're familiar with," Martinez said.
Telephone messages left for the social worker on Friday were not returned.
Dan Hill, a spokesman for the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department, said it is against state law for the department's officials to comment on an open case.
He did say the department's policy is to conduct interviews with clients in the language they are most comfortable with.
Late Friday, Martinez was served with legal papers setting a custody hearing for Anamarie at 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 5 in Children's Court.
Martinez said she doesn't know where Anamarie was taken. She has been told she will be allowed to visit her daughter but doesn't know when.
Martinez said the documents claim she should have known Anamarie was on a liquid diet when she took Anamarie to her first day of a special school at the University of New Mexico's Children Psychiatric Hospital.
However, Martinez said Anamarie had just been placed on the liquid diet, and the special ingredients weren't on hand and were on order.
Officials at the Children's Psychiatric Hospital, Martinez said, told her to bring solid food for Anamarie until the liquid diet arrived.
The amount of food brought for Anamarie was listed inaccurately in the legal papers, a fact that easily could be proven, Martinez said, because everything Anamarie eats is carefully tracked.
Martinez said the documents charge the family with not being able to keep the child's weight down, and they blame the family for the condition.
fight for her,"
Martinez said, "What else can I do? She's my baby. I just have to
I'll get her back someday. I'm just trying to clear my head of the last
memory I have of her being pulled kicking and screaming from that room."