Couple Gets Kids Taken Away After Home Birth

When one of my friends posted a story on Facebook the other day about a couple that had their children removed from their home following a home birth, I was skeptical. No way could this be real, I commented on the post. Is this story legit?

I just couldn't fathom how, in this day and age of freedom, choices, and a mother's right to her own body, something so important as the birth of her children would cause such a controversy. 

But as it turns out, it really did happen. 

Erica May Carey and Cleave Reng, who claim to be married in “the eyes of God” (the couple aren't legally wed), were already the parents of a 10-month-old son when they decided to plan a home birth for the arrival of their next baby. Unbeknownst to the couple until Carey was delivering, however, the “baby” turned out to be twins. 

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Image via Flickr/ Jason Lander

With a desire for a completely intervention-free birth, Carey hadn't even had so much as an ultrasound during her pregnancy, so she had no idea she was carrying twins until her belly didn't exactly deflate after baby #1 made its arrival. 

Although the twins arrived without any complications (thank goodness), the trouble began after someone reported the birth and paramedics arrived on the scene. The couple refused to take the infants in for a check-up at the hospital, citing they didn't want to expose the infants, with their fragile immune systems, to any unnecessary germs at the hospital. (Which, as a nurse, I must say, is a valid point.) 

When they refused, someone took it upon themselves (maybe the paramedics?) to report the couple to CPS, who promptly arrived on their doorstep the next day. 

From there, the story gets a bit murky. According to CPS, the couple appeared to be putting their children in danger, refusing steroid treatment for the older son's severe eczema, among other issues that the couple had prior to the birth, such as the father's arrest and refusal to comply with treatment for his bipolar disorder. Ultimately, the state decided to remove all three children from the home. 

{ MORE: 4 Things I Didn't Expect After Giving Birth }

In the resulting legal proceedings, the CPS maintained that the home birth had nothing to do with the decision to remove the children, but the couple portrayed their stance as parents trying to do what they felt was best for their children with holistic, non-Western medicine. 

Last month, the courts ruled to return all three children (the twins are now 3 months old) to the parents with strict conditions. “This is about second chances because you blew the first one,” the state commissioner told the couple. 

{ MORE: I'm So Glad Carrie Underwood Is Talking About Her 3 Miscarriages }

What do you think? Should the couple have had their babies taken away for safety?

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What do you think?

Couple Gets Kids Taken Away After Home Birth

Chaunie Brusie is a writer, mom of four, and founder of The Stay Strong Mom, a community + gift box service for moms after loss. ... More

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8 comments

  1. Amy says:

    Thanks for the update on this story, I knew there had to be more to it. I feel kinda bad for those kids. Their parents sound kind of unstable. The attention from CPS had nothing to do with the home birth. I don’t think any sane, decent parents out there should have anything to worry about.

    “Assistant Attorney General Rob Olson this week laid out a case that detailed the family’s numerous contacts with law enforcement since 2013 — 14 in Whatcom County and seven when the couple lived elsewhere in Washington state; refusal or resistance to providing medical care for the children; concern about the twins being underweight; domestic disputes between the couple; Cleave Rengo being controlling of Carey; and Bruce Rengo’s mental health issues, which had included a two-month hospitalization when he stopped taking his medication for bipolar disorder.

    Olson also presented information about Cleave Rengo’s arrest in Battle Ground, when the couple had stayed there and Carey was eight months pregnant with Levi. The original charges included domestic violence and resisting arrest, but the domestic violence charge was dropped in a plea agreement, which included the mandate that Cleave Rengo undergo anger management. But he hadn’t yet completed the anger management requirement and there was a warrant out for his arrest, which concerned the state.
    … And the twins must continue to gain weight, he said, noting they were in the 1 percentile for their age when they were weighed on Nov. 8.

    “That is a big deal. That shows the (twins) are not doing well, are not thriving,” he said.”

  2. Gabrielle says:

    Wait, the 10 month old baby had eczema?
    I’m a first time mom, married young and got pregnant right away(due this April). So all this is new to me. BUT I thought baby eczema was something that some babies just got? I thought it was a process of the first year? At least I had read that multiple times. Am I wrong?
    Also, this is dumb. These people have the right to raise their children how they think is best for them and what they are comfortable with. 100+ years ago people raised their children HOW THEY THOUGHT THEIR OWN CHILD SHOULD BE RAISED! And the world hasn’t come to an end so obviously things moms and dads do are right(for them). Everyone has different morals and ways of thinking so if this is what they choose then to each their own. My sister worked for CPS and my husband was taken away from his parents in the 3rd grade so I can understand why sometimes it is necessary to take children away but this seems kind of pointless. I don’t know just my opinion.

  3. amanda says:

    I think that the couple needs to be left alone to raise there kids the way they see fit, they were not hurting there kids in anyway and were just trying to do things thr way they wanted. This is suppost to be a free country that we live in but for some reason the states and the government think they have the right to stick there noise into everybodys business and what they do in there own homes. Its wrong what they did to them and taking kids away from there parents like that when they just had them was heroundiouly wrong , hospitals are full of germs and from experience new born babys can catch life threating and very serious things while in there, my grandson caught Menunjitouce when he was born and it almost killed him and now he will never be the child he should have. He was born normal and after 3 days in the hospital he went home and was took back after only 24 hours to have to spend the the next 4 months in a nic unit and through 2 surgerys and will never walk talk or eat on his own. That’s the things that happen in hospitals, so good for tem for staying home and shame on anybody that tried or thought it was ok to interfear with what they knew was best for there own children.

    • ANNA says:

      well i absolutely diasgree..the twins were severly underweight the baby has severe untreated ezema ,there were criminal conviction,domestic violence, arrest warrant and mentally unstable parent refusing medication..now kids should not stay in such enviroment!everyday we hear about kids beeing murdered by its parents and this couple was not fit to raise kids

  4. Amber says:

    I’m literally terrified to let anyone in my life because it takes doing one thing the wrong way and cps is called. they are taking kids away from good homes and leaving the abused kids in their homes. everytime I hear stories like this I get even more afraid for my own family.

  5. Dominique says:

    This is ridiculous. They should have not had their children taken for 3 months. In those months so much happens and they deprived two perfectly capable parents of those moments. There are definitely way more severe cases that this doesn’t happen.

    • ANNA says:

      two parfectly capable parents…???there was domestic violence,criminal conviction,arrest warrant,babies who were untreated and severly underweight-twins and father who spent 2 months in mantal institution for his bipolar disorders and refuse medication…is that perfect family for you?criminals and mentally ill people?

  6. Seraluna says:

    My stepson lives in a home where his mother beats him for wetting the bed, tells him he’s a poor decision maker and a little b$%#$, tells him that her heart will break if he ever moves out of the house, exposes him to boyfriends who taught him to pour gasoline over styrofoam, has MULTIPLE visits from CPS and they just can’t seem to find a problem. Then we have the babies who are killed while their parents are under CPS surveillance – I had to stop reading one article. Since I had my baby, it makes me nauseous to hear what they do. And THESE are the people that get their kids taken away… CPS is the most mismanaged agency in our government. And that’s saying something. If this, in fact, is all that they found as cause to take the kids away, then none of us are safe. God forbid you open a tin can the wrong way around a toddler – you could cut them and expose them to danger! Just make sure you belittle them while you do it so that it sounds too crazy to be true to a CPS rep. Then you’ll be OK.

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