Contributed to TLB & written by: Health Impact News and Medical Kidnap staff
It has been more than 7 months since Medical Kidnap published the story of 3 breastfeeding, homebirthed babies being seized by CPS in the state of Washington. Cleave and Erica May Rengo lost their children when someone worried about their homebirth called paramedics and their 10 month old was discovered to have eczema. Even though their were no major problems, and the Rengos were treating the eczema with holistic treatments, their babies were taken into custody by CPS, and they have reportedly been jumping through hoops ever since to get their children back.
They still don’t have them back.
The original story has been shared over 1 million times on Facebook:
“Why Aren’t People Getting Riled Up About This? Where Are the Protests?”
In a recent interview with Medical Kidnap, Erica May asked why more people are not upset over the injustice that her family, and thousands of others, are facing.
“People need to stand up and say, ‘Hey, we need to DO something.’ Where is the representation for loving families across the country? They [the CPS system] have only hurt the children they’ve taken away. Where are those who stand up for the women and children? Where are the Christians? Why aren’t people getting riled up about this? Where are the protests?”
Like Michelle Rider, mother of medically kidnapped teenager Isaiah Rider, Erica likens the corruption in the CPS system to domestic terrorism:
“People in our own country are being terrorized by this system.”
CPS to Mother – Divorce Your Husband or Never Get You Kids Back
Earlier this year, the family reported that CPS mandated that they separate, as a condition for getting their children back. Now, Erica says that they have gone even further, and that the judge has told her that she
“must divorce Cleave, or [she] won’t be the one raising her kids.”
This is a very interesting request, given the fact that Cleave and Erica never obtained a marriage license from the State. They simply said their vows before God, asking neither the State nor a religious organization to sanction their marriage. And yet, the judge is allegedly ordering her to get a court-approved divorce against her will.
Erica points out the hypocrisy she sees in a country whose Supreme Court has just mandated “marriage equality,” while family court judges and caseworkers are permitted to demand that some couples divorce. Other families have reported similar demands while CPS was in their lives, including the Cartee family:
To date, no one in the Washington CPS system has offered marriage counseling to the Rengos, although that is a “service” that CPS often insists upon for some families.
Attempt to Blackmail Mother on Mental Health Records that Don’t Exist?
Among the demands for all of the family members’ medical records, Erica May reports that there is a form that she has been told that she must sign for CPS to get her medical records from a mental health facility. However, she reports that, not only has she never been to the facility, she has never even been in the town where the facility is located!
Per legal advise, she refused to sign the release form for that facility. CPS is reportedly interpreting this as non-compliance on her part.
Parents Never Charged with Crimes, So Parenting Style Used Against Them
It is no secret that the Rengos subscribe to a holistic, attachment-parenting style of parenting, choosing organic, healthy foods over genetically modified, pesticide-laden foods, holistic treatments over pharmaceutical treatments whenever possible, as well as breast-feeding, and homebirthing her children – none of which is illegal in the state of Washington.
However, disagreements over parenting philosophy have been used against the Rengos. Erica May reports that CPS regularly sends an in-home nurse to her home to teach her how to parent. When Erica disagrees with her, that information is allegedly reported back to CPS and used against them. This is the same worker who reportedly testified in court that Erica didn’t know anything about parenting because she believes that babies can communicate and are capable of understanding sign language.
There are articles in the magazine Parenting and BabyCenter.com, as well as scholarly research from the National Institute of Health, which support Erica May’s experiences communicating with her babies by signing. Whether the nurse agrees with her or not, Erica’s research is backed by sources as varied as the Mayo Clinic to the Washington Post, making it difficult for the court to justify criticism of the Rengos for subscribing to such a theory of baby communication.
Erica says that she believes in the individuality of each child, stating that they each have individual needs, but she tells Medical Kidnap that this contradicts the philosophy of the in-home nurse, who has been sent by the state to teach her.
She reports being rebuked for believing that babies can remember things. She says that her personal observations of her children support the research that babies are capable of remembering much more than society has given them credit for. The growing field of prenatal and perinatal psychology provides volumes of evidence to support what Erica May, and many other mothers, know intuitively.
The late Dr. David Chamberlain authored Babies Remember Birth: And Other Extaordinary Scientific Discoveries About the Mind and the Personality of Your Newborn. He wrote extensively about the capability of even newborn babies to remember things. Professionals in APPPAH, the Association for Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health, frequently address the long term impact of early events on the developing child. Prenatal Memory and Learning and The Psychology of Adoption Trauma and the Primal Wound are a small sampling of articles addressing early memories in babies.
Yet, Erica reports that the nurse talks to her like she is crazy for believing the way she does, even though she repeatedly provides documentation and data to back up everything that she says.
Erica May Rengo believes that, if social workers and people within the CPS system truly understood that babies remember things and that those memories have profound impact on the development of the person, then those workers would have to face the horrific reality of what removal of a child from his or her mother does to the emotional, psychological, and spiritual development of the children they are theoretically there to help.
Babies’ Health Going Downhill Fast in State Care
When Erica has had visitation with her babies, she reports that they are staying sick. They almost always have chafing and dirt in their neck and other creases. Poop from previous diaper changes is sometimes not completely cleaned up when she sees them, and their fingernails are dirty and allowed to grow long without being trimmed. They have gunk in their ears and have scratches on their bodies.
After the children went into state care, they were abruptly weaned from breastmilk. The twins were given infant formula, but Daniel has reacted to it. He reportedly gagged and vomited the formula, so much so that they inserted a feeding tube through his nose in order to feed him. He was taken off of everything else he was eating, and put exclusively on formula and thickener through the nasal tube – the same formula that he was having such violent reactions to.
Levi has reportedly developed brown spots on his teeth, and the caregivers have been giving him fluoride tablets to chew up. Erica said that he used to love to brush his teeth when he was at home, and she is very unhappy about the fluoride, citing studies and concerns about the toxicity of fluoride, especially when consumed.
Visits Eliminated for Father Who Believes Child’s Life in Danger
The Rengos are fearful for their babies’ safety. Cleave has reportedly called Daniel’s condition a life or death situation, because he was losing weight at one point. His fearful observation for his son’s well-being was allegedly perceived by a social worker as a threat, so his visits have now been eliminated.
Mother: “You’re Terrorizing my Babies!”
It has been a month since Erica May has been able to see her children, despite the court order for visitation. The last visit occurred at the CPS office in a conference room. “It wasn’t even a playroom.” The GAL and social workers were all present, notebooks in hand, observing the visit. Erica reports that none of her kids were smiling, but they all looked “terrified.” When his mom reached out to touch Levi, she says he was “jumpy, like he had been hurt.” Erica was devastated at what was happening to her beloved babies.
She says that she addressed the room, on her knees begging the workers to do something about this, because they had the power to do something about it:
“You’re hurting my babies. What you are doing is wrong! You are terrorizing my babies.”
She and Levi were both crying as she reminded them that laws were being broken, and that the allegations of abuse and neglect against them were unfounded. Her Constitutional and civil rights were being violated, she said, and they knew that she never abused her kids. She also informed them that this was legally kidnapping, hostage holding, and that they were literally charging the federal government ransom for her children, and that they could end up facing jail time for what they were doing.
She says that they apparently felt “threatened,” and terminated the visit. They called police and issued a “no trespassing” citation. However, even though she is not permitted to go to the CPS office, there is nothing preventing the social workers from complying with the judge’s visitation order by arranging visits elsewhere.
To date, they have not done so. It has been an entire month since she has seen her babies.
Judge Orders Return to Organic Diet
As difficult as it is for Erica May and Cleave to see anything good in their situation, they report that they haven’t lost faith that they will get their children back. They keep praying.
Because of the health issues that are taking place, the judge has made one ruling that makes the Rengos very happy – the babies must now be fed a strictly organic diet. This means no more hydrogenated oils, no high fructose corn syrup, no fluoride tablets, and no GMOs. For this ruling, the parents are thankful, but will the foster parents comply?
Next Hearing in July
The next scheduled hearing is around July 24 at the Whatcom County Courthouse, 311 Grand Avenue, Bellingham, Washington. The Rengos are praying for justice and a miracle. They will never give up on their babies, and they are asking for the public to speak out on the behalf of all the families whose children have been taken unjustly by CPS.
The Governor of Washington is Jay Inslee. His office number is 360-902-4111. You can email him from here.