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Parents of 4-year-old Tampa cancer patient could be reunited with son

A judge in September ordered Noah McAdams to be placed temporarily with his grandparents over concerns that his mother and father weren’t seeking proper medical treatment. A lawyer has asked that the family be reunited.
A photo shared on Facebook shows Noah McAdams, center, with his mother Taylor Bland-Ball, left, and father Joshua McAdams, right. The boy was reunited with his parents three months after a judge ordered their temporary separation over concerns about neglect of his cancer treatment. [Facebook]
A photo shared on Facebook shows Noah McAdams, center, with his mother Taylor Bland-Ball, left, and father Joshua McAdams, right. The boy was reunited with his parents three months after a judge ordered their temporary separation over concerns about neglect of his cancer treatment. [Facebook]
Published Dec. 9, 2019
Updated Dec. 9, 2019

TAMPA — Four-year-old Noah McAdams may soon officially be back with his mother and father.

Three months after a judge ordered their separation over concerns that the parents were resisting chemotherapy for Noah’s leukemia, a hearing has been scheduled for Dec. 16 to address the family’s reunification. There appears to be little opposition.

A lawyer for Joshua McAdams and Taylor Bland-Ball said Monday that their son had already returned to them. She said the parents have consented to any necessary treatment for Noah.

“I am not expecting an order until next week; however, Noah remains with his parents and all parties are in agreement with reunification," attorney Brooke Elvington told the Tampa Bay Times in an email.

“The parents have no intention of stopping any treatment,” she said.

Both parents complied with court-mandated psychological evaluations, Elvington said. Those assessments supported family reunification.

“The experts had absolutely no concern regarding the parents’ ability to safely care for Noah,” she said.

Elvington said the family “is doing very well and they are simply enjoying some much-needed quiet time together.”

Related: Judge rules 4-year-old boy with leukemia will stay with grandparents to ensure his health

“REUNIFICATION — my new favorite word!” Bland-Ball wrote in a Facebook post Sunday, which was accompanied by pictures of the family and their lawyer. “The McAdams family is happy to announce that NOAH. IS. ALL. THE. WAY. HOME. Where he should have been the whole time, and where he will stay.”

The family made headlines in April after the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office issued an endangered child alert for Noah. They said his parents couldn’t be located after missing medical appointments. The boy had been diagnosed with leukemia and the family wanted to treat him with alternative remedies like cannabis, oxygen therapy, an alkaline diet and herbal remedies, instead of chemotherapy.

Related: Parents become focus of custody trial of 4-year-old leukemia patient

The parents were later found in Kentucky. Child protective investigators obtained a court order to take custody of the boy. He was placed with his grandparents and resumed chemotherapy.

After numerous court hearings, Hillsborough County Judge Thomas Palermo ruled that Noah should remain temporarily in the custody of his grandparents because there would be “imminent risk of neglect” if he stayed with his parents.

“All parents have a constitutional, and even sacred, right to parent their child,” the judge wrote. “But with that right comes equally powerful duties and responsibilities.”

Related: Tampa parents of leukemia patient Noah McAdams find support online after losing custody

Bland-Ball decried the ruling on social media, where the family drew considerable support. A GoFundMe account to help with their legal expenses drew more than $12,000 in donations. Someone started an online petition calling for the judge’s removal from the bench.

An appeal of the ruling is pending. Elvington said she anticipates the case will be further reviewed sometime in the spring.

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