Almost a year after her youngest set of twins was taken by Child Protective Services, a Tennessee mother was arrested this week and charged with 2 counts of felony child neglect. Tamika Seagraves was blindsided by the arrest when she appeared for a child support hearing on Tuesday, October 24. Friends are trying to raise money to get her out of jail. According to the Nashville and Davidson County court website, her bond is set at $20,000. Her arraignment is set for 9 am on November 8 at the Justice A.A. Birch Building Courthouse in Nashville, Tennessee. Tamika has been fighting to get the twins back home since they were medically kidnapped in January 2017 by the Department of Children's Services, due to their low weight. She has always believed that their seizure by DCS had less to do with their weight and more to do with the unusual circumstances of their birth. Zaylen and Zaliyah were born on December 5, 2016. They were premature - born at 34 weeks. They were the third set of fraternal twins born to their mother, and all 3 sets of twin were a boy and girl pair. Their oldest brother Zayden died in the hospital at 13 days old. He and his twin Ziria were micro-preemies, born at just 24 weeks gestation. Two years later, Tamika Seagraves gave birth to another set of twins - Jordan and Jaliyah, born at 35 weeks. Again, tragedy struck when little Jordan passed away in his sleep. He was almost 2 months old. DCS removed Jaliyah from her home at that time, accusing Tamika of demonstrating “erratic behaviors” because she refused vaccinations, stopped a medication for her child out of concerns for its side effects, and “tried to have Jaliyah seen by a holistic chiropractor as opposed to a pediatrician.” While Tamika was fighting the state to get Jaliyah back, she gave birth to her third set of twins. When they were born, Tamika determined not to take any chances with their health. She refused all vaccines, the Vitamin K shot, the eye ointment, and circumcision for her son. She chose to exclusively breastfeed. Whistleblowers who are NICU nurses have confirmed that they have seen premature infants injured in the NICU by vaccines, and a 2015 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that there are adverse effects from vaccinating very low birth-weight infants. Now, her biggest fear, according to her close friend who contacted Health Impact News, is that her babies will be vaccinated and her son circumcised without her consent.
Steffen Rivenburg, Sr., looked forward to his visit with his daughter Annalise. It was the first visit since Baby Steffen's funeral more than 3 weeks ago. This would truly be a special visit - at Chuck E. Cheese, where Annalise should have been able to enjoy time playing with her Daddy. Instead, she watched him be escorted out of the restaurant by police. Her grandmother, Lisa Rivenburg, said that she felt like it was a set-up. There was no way that her son was going to miss his scheduled visit with Annalise. "I cannot believe that they used my granddaughter as BAIT to get him here to arrest him!" There was no warrant for his arrest. They asked, and were told by police that they didn't have to show one. Lisa told Health Impact News that her son was not read his Miranda rights. She later learned that the charge was "contempt," presumably over the demand, without a court order, for a hair follicle drug test. The entire family is very concerned about Annalise, a little girl who was taken from her family, placed in a home with strangers, and watched her baby brother get sick, die, and be buried. She had surely looked forward to visiting her parents and playing with them at Chuck E. Cheese. It was a 2 hour drive from her foster house to meet them. Now, the place that is supposed to be associated with fun and being a kid will forever be associated with the traumatic memory of seeing her daddy arrested.
Patricia Tornberg and Steffen Rivenburg, Sr., thought they were going to court this morning, July 17, 2017, to try to bring Baby Steffen's big sister Annalise home to be with family members and out of foster care. Instead, the judge had them arrested and thrown into jail. Family members and supporters alike are shocked at the turn of events, and see this as another way for the court and DCS to grasp at any way to justify their actions and deflect attention away from their role in Baby Steffen's death. Last month (June 2017) Baby Steffen was taken off of life support against the wishes of his family, and before the family could find a second doctor's opinion regarding his condition. Baby Steffen was removed from his parents while still healthy, and yet the parents had no say over his medical care or removal from life support. Tennessee DCS also removed Baby Steffen's sister, Annalise, from the parents. Advocate Serra Frank told Health Impact News: "This judge is scrambling to get rid of this mess, and he's just making it worse." The hearing was supposed to be about hearing motions for Annalise to be placed with family members. Grandmother Lisa Rivenburg and two aunts, each willing and able to care for Annalise, were present at the hearing, but the motions were never heard. Judge Wayne Shelton reportedly stated that he did not intend to hear their motions. Instead, the focus turned to a motion filed on July 1 without the family's knowledge by Margaret Parker, attorney for DCS, to compel the parents to submit to drug testing.
Baby Steffen was buried on Friday, July 7, almost a month after his death when DCS, Vanderbilt hospital, and a judge decided to overrule his parents' rights to make decisions for their baby. The Tennessee family was thankful that Steffen's big sister was allowed to leave the foster home to attend her brother's funeral. Even so, social workers kept a tight reign on Annalise, and threatened to take her away if the family continued to take photos. The children's grandmother Lisa Rivenburg said it was their last time together as a family with Baby Steffen, and she felt that the social workers' threats were a cruel addition to an already difficult day. Their fight continues to try to bring Annalise home and to find answers to what happened to Baby Steffen in DCS custody.
Baby Steffen's tiny body will be laid to rest on Friday, July 7, in Clarksville, Tennessee. His battle to live has ended, but his family's battle for his big sister Annalise continues. The Rivenburgs still don't have the answers that they seek as to what happened at Vanderbilt once Baby Steffen was taken into Department of Children's Services (DCS) custody. They are waiting for the results of a private autopsy, funded by donations from people who believe that the family deserves unbiased answers. Those results could take up to 3 months. The fate of Annalise may be decided in less than 3 weeks. DCS has requested a hearing to terminate the parental rights of Steffen and Patricia. That hearing is scheduled for July 24.
Tennessee Dad Who Lost Children due to Medical Cannabis that Saved his Life Continues to Fight for Children’s Return Home
Michael Brooks is a Tennessee dad whose children were taken from him by Child Protective Services after he used medical cannabis to treat his Hepatitis C. After conventional medical treatments failed to cure his terminal Hepatitis C, he turned to medical cannabis and soon his Hepatitis C was in remission. But unfortunately, Tennessee DCS used his medical cannabis treatment as a reason to take away his children. His health deteriorated rapidly when he stopped using the treatment in the attempt to comply with requirements by Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS) in order to get his children back. He was set to have his rights terminated last month, but his case was continued. Michael took to Facebook Live on June 26, 2017, to record a video for his followers, and it looks like things may be turning around for the Brooks family. His health has begun to improve and there is again hope of his getting visitation back. On Facebook Live, Michael said that he had been taking CBD oil, or cannabidiol oil and Moringa oil for the past two weeks. CBD oil is legal in all 50 states, as it contains almost no THC, the chemical that gets one "high." His body has responded so well that he has been able to throw away his other 20 medications. In the Facebook Live video, Michael Brooks said that he expects to go to court on July 19, and he is hopeful about getting visitation with his children back.
It was the best news ever for Chris and Keshia Turner of East Tennessee. After two and a half years battling Child Protective Services, their children were coming home. On Friday, June 24, 2017, Keshia posted the happy news on Facebook that they were on their way to pick up their children. When Health Impact News first spoke with the Turners more than two years ago, their oldest son Brayden had been taken from them by the Tennessee Department of Children's Services (DCS) after doctors discovered that her son had multiple fractures in various stages of healing. Keshia was accused of Shaken Baby Syndrome and abuse. Keshia told us that she believed that her son Brayden was coming home eventually. Her faith in God was what kept her going, she said, and she trusted that God would one day bring good out of all that they were going through. Then, she gave birth to Carson in September 2015. Because DCS had an ongoing case against Keshia, her 4 day old baby was seized by DCS and placed with his brother. Through it all, the Turners fought hard to get their children back. When we first spoke with the couple more than 2 years ago, they knew that there had to be some kind of medical explanation for Braydon's broken bones and symptoms. However, once a doctor accused the parents of abuse, they said that the doctors stopped looking for answers. But Keshia did not stop looking. She knew that there had to be answers that the doctors had missed.
The Rivenburg family was back in court on Monday morning, June 19. This time, it was to fight for Annalise, the big sister of Baby Steffen, the baby who was taken off of life support on June 8. The family, including aunts, uncles, and cousins, were hopeful that the court would send little Annalise back home to be with her family, but that did not happen. Instead, they learned that the Department of Children's Services (DCS) now plans to terminate her parents' parental rights and place her for adoption, presumably with the foster family with whom she and Baby Steffen were placed 4 months ago, just before the baby got sick. They are devastated. Patricia's heart-wrenching sobs could be heard in the background as a family member told the news to Health Impact News. The thought of losing Annalise seems an unbearably cruel blow to the family that is still reeling from what they call Baby Steffen's "potentially preventable" death.
Civil Rights Abuse? Judge Only Gives Parents 24 Hours to Find Doctor Before Baby is Removed from Life Support
After a long day in court, the Rivenburg family did not get the news they wanted to hear about Baby Steffen. Last week, a judge approved a temporary injunction to keep the 7 month old baby from being taken off life support. On Monday afternoon, Judge Wayne Shelton ruled that Baby Steffen's mother does not have the right to make the decision of whether or not to take him off of life support, and he denied the request to extend the injunction. The family has a short 24 hour, up to 48 hour, window to find a pediatric cardiologist in the South willing to testify that the baby is eligible for a heart transplant and would survive it. Unless they find such an expert, Vanderbilt doctors, not the parents, will decide when to take Baby Steffen off of the life support machine that is keeping him alive at this time.
We asked grandmother Lisa Rivenburg if Baby Steffen is showing any signs of responding to family. She responded: YES! ALL signs! He opens his eyes, squeezes my hand, puts his hands up in the air, kicks his feet. He smiles. He grimaces. He makes his little "Elvis face." She told us that he lifts his hands up when she plays his favorite song, "Awake, My Soul," by Chris Tomlin. He's completely cognizant when he's not heavily medicated. Steffen responds to his family as much as he can while being limited by wires and tubes. Lisa said that he fights the medications that make him sleep. The family has court on Monday, the day before the court order expires that is keeping Baby Steffen alive. They have been told that Vanderbilt Hospital intends to bring in a doctor from their hospital "to say the baby has no chance."