Ari and Diamond are experiencing a horrifying situation after the removal of their son and the loss of bonding time with him. It appears that the State feels this couple is unfit to care for and raise their child due to their vaccination choices and because of Diamond’s disability. Many times in cases involving CPS, the hospital staff will refer families with a parental disability to social services, instead of offering ADA resources and accommodations that support the family. The welfare of this infant is not served by breaking up this family. The well being of the family and baby are best served when the mother has access to her child. You can help!!! (Read their story below).
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Baby Elijah is in desperate need of his loving mother and father, with so much precious time wasted. Please friends, this family needs to be reunited TODAY! While Diamond's local family and friends are providing resources and local emotional support. Families across the state and the country can offer additional support with a donation here. We are raising funds to help provide this family with paid help, with legal costs, and anything else this family will need at this time. Baby Elijah cannot spend another minute in the foster care program, when he has dedicated, loving parents and an amazing community just waiting to embrace him.
Health Freedom Idaho is coordinating a LEGAL, SAFETY and CAREGIVING FUND to help unite Elijah with his loving parents. Initially we set up a YouCaring donation page, but that organization pulled it down. We will NOT STOP trying to get help for this family.
On Monday November 20th, 2017, Diamond and Ari Mehlhoff, residents of North Idaho, were waiting in anticipation of their miracle baby, their first born child Elijah. The video of their new baby, their family, community and church rejoicing was posted for all to see. Diamond had dreamed of being a mother and had been waiting for this moment for 5 years. Finally, their beautiful, healthy baby boy was here.
The parents did their due diligence, researched and prayed about medical choices for their child. As a result of that research, they made the decision to opt out of the newborn vaccination. Family reports that this seemed to set off a cascade of unfathomable events for this young couple.
On Wednesday, November 22nd, just 2 days after Diamond’s C-section and baby Elijah’s birth, the baby was taken away from his loving and now completely heartbroken parents. Why would the State do this? Do people feel that this couple is unfit to care for and raise their child because of Diamond's diagnosis of cerebral palsy (a non-progressive movement disorder)? Or are they discriminated against for their choice to avoid newborn vaccinations?
As you can imagine, Ari and Diamond are completely beside themselves, devastated at the thought of being away from their sweet boy for any amount of time, especially in the first most crucial days of bonding, protection, and love that this baby needs. Diamond continues to prepare and is still determined to nurse this beautiful baby that God has entrusted her with.
Their story is egregious and also very puzzling. After all, it is not illegal in the State of Idaho to opt out of vaccinations (although HFI has received reports from fellow Idahoans being bullied into this decision, including the threat of CPS). And we know that people with disabilities are afforded the same God-given rights as everyone in their community. But what is unclear is why the hospital and State decided it was their right to take this child. While Diamond receives care, she lives with her husband and father. Her husband Ari is a doting and loving husband, who has been anxiously awaiting the birth of his son. And Ari's grandfather is a respected member of the community, an ex-teacher, ex-sheriff. Both very capable of caring for a child. If this weren’t enough, the parents have an incredibly caring and devoted church community who have committed to setting up specific times in caring for this baby and family.
At this time, the Mehlhoff’s don’t want to give the judge any reason to deny them even a minute away from their precious, newborn son, Elijah. Diamond and Ari’s community has set up an ongoing 24 hour care calendar for the next several months. Optimally, they would like to have the option of hiring a paid staff in place of this, anticipating that this would bring baby home sooner.
As is often the case, the child protection proceedings are lengthy, thus extending the time away from the baby (causing more suffering) and increasing legal fees. The parent’s legal counsel is EXCELLENT and doing everything to support the family and set precedent in court for other families dealing with similar situations.
1st Hearing November 27 UPDATE:
UPDATE: Baby Elijah WAS NOT RETURNED to his family. His parents have not been allowed to see him since last Wednesday, November 22nd. As you can imagine, Ari and Diamond are completely beside themselves, devastated at the thought of being away from their sweet boy for any amount of time, especially in the first most crucial days of bonding, protection, and love that this baby needs. Diamond continues to prepare and is still determined to nurse this beautiful baby that God has entrusted her with.
2nd Hearing November 29 UPDATE:
Another emotional day for Diamond, Ari and their community in court today. There have been a couple new developments we'd like to share with you:
Starting off with the best news first. Diamond and Ari will be allowed to see the baby for a little while tomorrow!!!! This will be the first time since last Wednesday, 11/22 when Elijah was just 2 days old, that the Mehlhoff's will be able to lay eyes and hold their sweet baby.
This will be bittersweet for the Mehlhoff's as they will also need to say goodbye after just a short time.
There is also a scheduled home visit to be done today. We were really pleased to hear that there is talk of coordinating a way to get breastmilk to the baby. Many of you have been asking about this. Diamond has been faithfully pumping and saving her supply. We at HFI feel that this is also a very crucial part of the baby's development and anxiously hope that this materializes.
There is another short hearing at 0800am tomorrow -Thursday 11/30- @ 205 N 4th Street CDA, ID 83814. And a decision hearing on Friday 12/[email protected] 0900.
If you are able to, please come support this young family who have already been through so much. Prayers, well wishes, donations all very much appreciated. Please remember that because this is an ongoing case and a case that also involves a minor there is very little information that can be publicly released. All involved, any questions, media, news, etc. are being directed through their attorneys. Health Freedom Idaho will continue to report on public details as they become available. Thank you so much for your support for this family.
Determination Hearing Friday December 1st
***UPDATE***We had the first taste of victory and justice as it was decided by the court that baby Elijah could go home!!!
I arrived at the courthouse for the shelter hearing today ready for a long day of waiting through testimony. To my surprise the doors of the courtroom opened after only about 20 to 30 minutes of court being in session. We had the first taste of victory and justice as it was decided by the court that baby Elijah could go home with his mom (Diamond) and dad (Ari) TODAY!
I witnessed the pure joy on Diamond’s face as she was wheeled out of the courtroom knowing that she would be able to hold, nurse, and bond with her baby today. The church members, friends, and family cheered, hugged, and cried as the news spread through those of us that had hunkered down for the long haul. The news came so quickly that it took a moment for it to all sink in and then people went into action and planning. There was an excited shout, “We have to get the carseat!”
I have witnessed an incredibly supportive church family lead by pastor Brenden Biggs. Under his direction, the church had come together with a plan of 24 hour assistance for the family and the court agreed. According to state statute, the longest that this agreement can be in place is 3 months.
We were not told facts specific to this case as it cannot be shared at this time.
We do know that the legal procedure would be this:
First there is a shelter care hearing. At this point, there can be a resolution reached which stipulates that there is a reason for the Dept to be involved. Part of allowing an agreement like this means that the party is then able to get the child back immediately.
The case moves toward a pre-trial, then an adjudicatory hearing within 30 days (after the removal of the child). The parents can agree to move the hearing but the hard date is 3 months. The resolution put forth can stay in place for 30 days, but no later than 3 months.
At 3 months a new resolution needs to be written or the case dismissed. The resolution can also be dismissed at anytime.
Pre-trial hearing is set for Dec18th at 1:30 pm. The adjudicatory hearing set for Dec 22 at 9am. Of course, these times can be subject to change and we will notify you of any changes.
This is a time to celebrate! It is also a time for the family to bond as a new family should. They have things to learn especially Diamond as she learns how to mother Elijah with a disability. This is no small task but now she has the opportunity to do this, as I would imagine that she intended, with the guidance and care of those that love her.
As for the rest of us, we need to look into the heart of this issue which is the systematic overreach of the department. It is imperative that people know their rights and how to enact those rights from the beginning of a situation before it escalates. We plan on educating ourselves and you as we delve into the law and the protection that it can provide. We must do so keeping in mind that our human rights and parental rights are NOT granted to us by the government but by our Creator.
Praise the Lord!
Thank you all for your prayers and support. Today baby Elijah was returned to his kind, loving and very capable parents. I want to honor all those on both sides of this issue who worked diligently and deliberately to see this family reunited. There are still some obstacles before us and we still have much to do, but I have total confidence that our Heavenly Father is working on this and revealing Himself in the process, for His Glory. Stay prayerful and thank you all for maintaining an outward display of Godly integrity.
Blessings! Pastor Biggs