Blind parents face unfounded accusations regarding newborn

(News 10/Georgia Lawson)

On December 21st 2018, Eagle Point residents Danial and Minh Turnbull gave birth to their first baby.

Since then, they've had three reports put into the Oregon Department of Human Services by various people questioning their fitness to be parents, which they say were unfairly based in the fact that they are both blind.

"We're not 16, you know. We didn't just randomly do this," Danial said. "We planned this. We knew we could do this. We had total confidence."

So far, all accusations have been determined to be unfounded, so DHS has not taken action to take the baby away.

However, the Turnbulls have had to take extra steps just to disprove the accusations, including 24/7 monitoring and a visit to the doctor's office to prove that what someone reported to be a bruise was in fact a simple birthmark. Even with no evidence against them, having three accusations on a record worries them.

"Any DHS worker from now on, if anybody has a problem with us, someone can come out from the sidelines and say, 'oh I think you're doing this wrong or doing that wrong'," Danial said.

When asked for a response, Robert Oakes from DHS said, "the Department of Human Services is committed to protecting Oregon's children, and treating all state residents with fairness, dignity, and respect." When pressed further, DHS said they cannot discuss specific cases.

Even so, the concern remains.

When it comes to the public, they also have a message. "The bottom line we'd like to educate is that our disability does not define us as being able to be parents," Minh said.

Like any other part of life, they say they have techniques to compensate for lack of sight, and while that may not be obvious to sighted people, they ask that the public not jump to conclusions, and instead simply ask.

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