Bringing Ryan Home
BRINGING RYAN HOMEIS THE HEARTBREAKING STORY   OF
RYAN'S PARENTS,  LISA AND RODNEY BALDWIN,  WHICH BEGAN
IN THE FALL OF 2003.
Our family plight began in the fall of 2003. We live in Black
Mountain, a neighboring town of Asheville, NC, in Buncombe
County. Asheville is a city surrounded by the beautiful western
NC Mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Asheville is the
location of the famous and beautiful Biltmore House and the
lovely Grove Park Inn. Local tourist attractions abound here and
people travel to our area and take pride in our surroundings.
These lovely surroundings and mountain terrain in fact became the
back drop for injustice and lack of caring concern towards our
son Ryan and his family.

Ryan was only 11-years-old when he became ill and was
diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as
myalgic encephalopathy or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME).  Six
long years have passed since that time. The absence of medical
knowledge, public awareness, and local health agencies within
our local medical community that lack this knowledge concerning
our son's diagnosis (ME/CFS), have greatly contributed towards
the nightmare our family has encountered; a nightmare which has
involved dealing with physicians, educators, and county and state
officials.

As parents, we were ready to deal with Ryan’s health challenges,
but we were not prepared for what was to come from the
Buncombe County Social Services agency's representatives.
These are the same agencies which are supposed to be helpful and
nurturing towards families dealing with such trying issues.  For
these reasons, and more, it is why we are sharing our family’s
plight through this web site.

We also realized that we are not alone in this terrifying family
experience. As our family plight began to take place, we became
aware of the fact that hundreds of other families across the U.S.
were and continue to have similar issues. Our issues are
specifically related to the lack of education and professional
knowledge as demonstrated by Buncombe County school
administrators, county officials, and local and state social
services. These issues concerning  CFS and other
neuroendocrineimmune illnesses and disorders seriously impact
and affect families across the U.S. every day.

As parents we did everything possible to help our son Ryan, by
providing care, accommodations, understanding and compassion
towards him. Nonetheless,  Ryan was taken from us by Buncombe
County Department of Social Services (DSS) (at the age of almost
17 years old ) and placed in their custody in January of 2009. This
situation occurred only after a local physician at a local children's
hospital filed a malicious report against our family in 2007. A
malicious report which once unfounded, became the catalyst in  
propelling the allegations of suspected Munchausen By Proxy by
social workers within the department.  Later those suspected
charges would be changed to Factitious Disorder by Proxy, and
lastly changed to a failure to provide our child with mental health
care and a primary care physician.  

On that infamous day, when the county took away our only child,
our lives took a turn for the worse. As parents, we have struggled
every day with trying to understand why Buncombe County DSS
took such draconian steps and removed Ryan from our loving and
caring home; then later placing  him in the county foster care
system,  under the custody of the Buncombe County Department of
Social Services.

This website is about our struggles as we try to educate a
community regarding our son's illnesses. We never once stopped
fighting for our son’s return. We fought hard and with all we had –
financially, emotionally and physically, to regain custody of our
son. This is our story and through this website we hope to educate
families and the public.

As we look back into the struggles that we have suffered, we hope
that someone in power will realize that the DSS system in the
state of North Carolina and more specifically in Buncombe
County is broken. The system in place is supposed to assist
families like ours, not use the county’s resources to destroy
families. More importantly, we hope that our plight will become a
tool for change, and to give other parents, who might find
themselves in the same situation, an avenue and the courage to
battle such a system. A system that in our case understands very
little about our son's diagnoses and health challenges.
Ryan finally back home
January  2010
2003
2005
2000
2005
2003
2005
Ryan on the cover of the
Feb 24, 2010 issue of
Mountain Xpress
Ryan and his  power
wheelchair in June 2008
Please Pardon our mess
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