WA parents get custody of babies taken after unassisted births

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
(Photo: KING5 Staff)

(Pho­to: KING5 Staff)

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Three Belling­ham chil­dren tak­en from their par­ents by CPS are now home, but they are still under state protection.

Eri­ca May Carey and Cleave Ren­go appeared in court on Fri­day. With­in an hour after the judge’s rul­ing, they picked up their 1‑year-old son and 8‑week-old twins from the Belling­ham CPS office.

It’s amaz­ing,” Carey cried. “There were times I was over­whelmed with doubt.”

Relat­ed: Cou­ple fights for cus­tody of their kids after home birth

The state’s case against the cou­ple focused on domes­tic calls to police and their med­ical choices.

The judge called the cou­ple’s home “chaot­ic” and “unsta­ble.” He ordered both par­ents to seek coun­sel­ing as part of the con­di­tions of the chil­dren’s return.

Two of those con­cerns over med­ical choic­es for their chil­dren include the cou­ple’s refusal to take their new­born twins to the hos­pi­tal after para­medics had rec­om­mend­ed a check­up imme­di­ate­ly after the babies’ unas­sist­ed home birth. The cou­ple also stopped using a rec­om­mend­ed for­mu­la for the chil­dren to gain weight and instead went back to using breast milk.

They pro­jec­tile vom­it­ed that for­mu­la and it made them very sick. It’s not meant for babies, it’s meant for cows,” said Eri­ca May Carey in court.

If I had the choice, we would have cho­sen to keep them inside the house due to the sen­si­tiv­i­ty of the new­born baby to out­side con­t­a­m­i­nants,” said Cleave Ren­go in court.

The cou­ple attrib­ut­es many of their choic­es to their Chris­t­ian beliefs, includ­ing their deci­sion to have an unas­sist­ed home birth for their twins as well as using pro­bi­otics, coconut oil and oth­er nat­ur­al reme­dies to treat their 10-month-old son’s eczema instead of the rec­om­mend­ed steroid cream.

The wife says she made sev­er­al calls to police about the cou­ple’s argu­ments believ­ing they could help find mediation.

The state has said it would not take chil­dren from a home because of a home birth.

It has been about a month and a half since the chil­dren have been liv­ing with their par­ents. The cou­ple missed the one-year birth­day of their old­est son. Now their attor­ney says that son, who was diag­nosed with eczema and is now in state cus­tody, is also suf­fer­ing from pneumonia.

While the state attor­ney’s office con­firmed in court that CPS orig­i­nal­ly vis­it­ed the cou­ple’s home when they refused a para­medic’s rec­om­men­da­tion to have a hos­pi­tal check-up for the new­borns, the judge said his deci­sion to keep the kids under state shel­ter care had noth­ing to do with home birth or the use of nat­ur­al reme­dies. His biggest con­cern is what he called an unsta­ble, chaot­ic home environment.

The par­ents have been ordered to see coun­selors and fol­low oth­er instruc­tions to care for their kids.

I def­i­nite­ly want to be a bet­ter par­ent,” Ren­go said.