After a traumatic struggle with authorities who stole the infant from the family’s house just days after she was born, a Black couple from the Dallas area was reunited with their 5-week-old baby.
Temecia Jackson, 38, is pictured on the Afiya Center’s Instagram page embracing her young daughter, Mila, following their reunion last week. The incident marked the end of a weeks-long odyssey that began with a routine hospital visit.
“Mila is finally on her way back where she belongs. But this never should have happened in the first place,” Marsha Johnson, executive director of the Afiya Center, the Dallas-based reproductive justice organization that advocated for the family. “Systemic racism is the reason why Mila was separated from her family. Period.”
Mila’s return was ordered by the Dallas County district attorney’s office, according to Nicolas Sampedro of the Afiya Center, and the family was reunited on April 21. Mila was taken from the family’s house in Desoto, a city in Dallas County, by Dallas County constables and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services on March 28.
The district attorney’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The removal stemmed from a hospital visit days after Mila was born in a home birth on March 21. The Jacksons took Mila for a routine check-up three days later and a pediatrician recommended treatment for jaundice, a common ailment among newborns usually cured through breastfeeding and sunlight.
The parents followed the doctor’s advice and told him they would care for Mila at home with the assistance of a midwife.
The pediatrician then phoned child protective services, informing them that the parents refused to admit their child to the hospital.
Mila was placed in foster care, with the Jacksons only allowing her a few supervised visits. Protesters organized protests and gathered outside the Texas DFPS, demanding the baby’s repatriation.
Reproductive justice groups blamed the family’s condition on structural racism, claiming that the Jacksons are one of many Black families who are disproportionately separated by child welfare agencies.
“Time and again in our work, we see the ‘child welfare system’ weaponized to police pregnancy and separate families after delivery,” said Emma Roth, an attorney with the Afiya Center. “The Jacksons’ ordeal shows the trauma of the hospital-to-CPS pipeline, which terrorizes Black families. This should never have happened, and we’re overjoyed Mila is heading home where she belongs.”