SACRAMENTO, CA - The day after a judge returned custody of a baby taken into protective custody, the parents have been overwhelmed by international attention. However, Alex and Anna Nikolayev said their battle with Child Protective Services is far from over.
Sammy Nikolayev, 5 months old, was placed in protective custody last week after his mother took him out of Sutter Memorial Hospital against medical advice to get a second opinion from a Kaiser Permanente doctor. The move came as a shock to the couple who had medical records from another doctor clearing Sammy to go home with them.
On Monday, a judge returned custody to the parents as long as they agreed not to remove Sammy again against medical advice. The boy is now set to move to the children's hospital at Stanford within the next 24 to 48 hours.
The parents wanted to thank the public for the outpouring of support they received. They said so many people have told them about their own experiences with similar cases, and the couple hopes the attention their case has received will lead to reforms in the system. In the meantime, Anna said after being limited to one hour visits with her son over the last few days, finally being able to see Sammy as long as she wanted came as a great relief to her and her baby.
"He lay down, closed his eyes, but then a couple seconds later, he turned around, looked at me, looked back, turned around, closed his eyes. A couple seconds later, same thing again, looked at me. It's like, 'Mommy, you're still here.' That was exciting," Anna said.
The couple said they expect their son to have heart surgery once he gets to Stanford. Once it's all over, and the baby can come home, CPS will check in with the couple. Alex and Anna had to agree to CPS visits to regain custody. That's why they plan to continue to raise awareness about what they see as a need for changes within CPS.
"I'm not sure who is the higher authority over them," Alex said. "The higher authority needs to look into them because they have a very bad track record, and somebody needs to investigate them."