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Vegan Mom Arrested for Neglect Regains Custody of Son
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Vegan Mom Arrested for Neglect Regains Custody of Son

Sarah Markham has finally gotten her baby son, Caleb, back after police barged into her home five months ago and took the infant into protective custody. Ms. Markham had been ordered to take her son into the emergency room by the baby's doctor back in June. She had decided instead to supplement her breast milk with vegan formula and the doctor called protective services when she defied his request. Police had to call a locksmith to get into her home, she was defensive at the time and argumentative with no observed sense of urgency on the baby's behalf.

Markham feels that the doctor would not have recommended she take the baby in to the hospital if she hadn't asked him for an alternative to the mother's breast milk since Caleb was having trouble nursing. The baby was having trouble gaining weight and had lost 10 percent of his body weight when the mother began feeding him soy formula.

According to the Seminole County Protective Services Sarah Markham was able to see her son only a few times a week during supervised visits. He had been held in service for five months until Sarah Markham won back custody recently.

The judge decided last week that she could have her son back if she sees a nutritionist. Her grandparents had been taking care of the infant, continuing his soy formula diet, and they contend that Sarah is a fit parent. She is a Christian Seventh Day Adventist in which a vegan diet is a recognized option. She has done everything that they have asked of her which included parenting classes and mental health and drug evaluations.

Scheduled for arraignment this week her lawyer, Mark O'Mara, feels that this is no where close to a child neglect case. It is just a mother doing the best she can. He has every confidence that the charges of child neglect will be dropped.

The baby now weighs 17 pounds and is a thriving, healthy child.

This story leaves a person wondering if the doctor could have handled the situation differently or if he acted in the best interest of the child.


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  1. Ann
    How sad - voted
    1. Eve Sherrill York
      Eve Sherrill York
      Thank you. I thought so as well.
  2. Julie Sinclair
    Julie Sinclair
    Many children today are raised on soy milk. That doesn't mean she is a bad Mom and has neglected her child. How unfair this ruling was and the doctor who was treating her son. - voted
    1. Eve Sherrill York
      Eve Sherrill York
      really. I don't think the doc was all there or something. Of course they also said she had a bit of an attitude so maybe that lent into it. Thank you for your support.
  3. Sarah Johnston
    Sarah Johnston
    I had to raise my eldest daughter on soy milk and my two younger sons couldn't have soy milk or even cows milk and all they could drink was goat milk. I don't agree with this doctor but I can also see how he was concerned the baby was losing weight. It seems that her parents continue to give the child soy milk and he is healthy today.
    1. Eve Sherrill York
      Eve Sherrill York
      Yes, I think all turned out well in the end.
  4. Helen Ruth
    I do believe she should of consider her child's safety and taken him to the hospital like the Doctor told her to do. It sure would of ended better than it did. It is good she has her son back but I feel she wouldn't of lost him in the first place if she had done what she was told to do.
    1. Eve Sherrill York
      Eve Sherrill York
      Yes, I think so too. Why go to the doctor for help if she wasn't going to take his advice?
  5. Marvin Double
    Marvin Double
    Reading between the lines, I think the real story is an simple lack of communication between mother and doctor compounded by attitudes and bias on both sides of the equation. The doctor can't be faulted for showing concern for a dehydrated child failing to gain weight. In an infant this symptions are a clear signal that something must be done and quickly. With infants such a condition can become life threatening very quickly. Any physician would be irresponsible not to have concern about a child showing these signs. The fact that the mother is vegan may in fact be s red herring in this situation. The only signifance that fact might have is that it hastened the doctor to make assumptions about the mothers state of mind? Before judging either party here we should ask some pretty basic questions. What took place between mother and doctor to make the doctor react as he did? Was he biased against certain religious groups or vegans? If I were to venture a guess I imagine that something in the conversation between mother and doctor alerted him that mom might now follow his directions given her commitment to following the dictates of her religious beliefs and or personal taken on being vegan. It is not unreasonable for a doctor to recommend that a dehydrated infant be admitted to hospital and administered iv fluids and provided nourishment in the form of infant formula. This would be especially true if he had serious concern for the babies well being should the mother fail to recognize the need for such a minimal intervention. Having said that perhaps, understanding the mothers commitment to her beliefs he could have arranged for home visits by a qualified nurse or other community based services supporting new mothers with breast feeding. Such situations are almost always more complex and highly individual than is obvious. It is all to easy to make assumptions if all the facts are not clearly known.
    1. Eve Sherrill York
      Eve Sherrill York
      You are right. It is hard to make assumptions with out all the facts clearly known.
      1. Marvin Double
        Marvin Double
        Just noted some typo's in my post. I really have to stop using my tablet to write online. It can make one look like and idiot. Fortunately you understood the points I made. I am a committed vegan and have been vegan / vegetarian, I am also a pragmatist. I find that stepping back from the issue often provides a better perspective - irrespective of the issue at hand. If we are quick to assign blame, our personal bias and beliefs can obscure the facts and cause us to error in our understanding. Life is never quite as simple as being either right or wrong. The subtleties of personal interaction and traits and qualities of individuals in a situation can create an interesting dynamic which is unique. That uniqueness can and often does play out in interesting and sometimes unfortunate ways. Add to all that the need for us to, irrespective of our own ideas to get drawn into some larger agenda and situations which ought be quickly resolved can become tinder for a larger fire. In this instance the child was unfortunately caught in such a circumstance.
        1. Eve Sherrill York
          Eve Sherrill York
          I understand. My daughter has a tablet and the few times I have used it I had a very aggravating time. You've made some very good points. I wish more people tried to be practical. Bias and beliefs certainly can obscure very important facts. I wonder if this woman didn't have an attitude and a youthful disdain for any type of authority. I am just glad that the baby came out alright.
  6. vegelove99
    the world has gone mad- poor woman


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