A 9-year-old girl was removed from her adoptive parents and given to the father she never knew. At the age of 2, Sonya was placed with Kim and David Hodgin as a foster child. Although she lived with the Hodgins for seven years and was eventually adopted, Sonya was removed from their home in January.
While she was living with the Hodgins, Sonya’s biological father, John McCaul, was convicted of a weapons charge and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Under Tennessee law, defendants who are sentenced to more than 10 years in prison automatically lose parental rights.
In 2008, Sonya was legally adopted by Kim and David Hodgin. Months later, McCaul’s sentence was reduced to seven years. With credit for time served, he was released from prison in 2009. He immediately filed for a reversal of the adoption.
Five years later, a judge ordered the 9-year-old girl to be removed from her adoptive parents and given to her biological father. Three hours later, Sonya was on her way to Omaha, Nebraska. The Hodgins were devastated and Sonya was inconsolable:
“Sonya’s crying her eyes out. Screaming bloody murder, ‘Please don’t let them do this, Daddy, please, Mama, don’t let ’em take me.'”
Although the adoption was reversed, and Sonya was given to her father, the Hodgins continued to appeal the decision. As reported by Daily News, a hearing is scheduled for June 18.
Kim and David said they received one phone call from Sonya and it was not encouraging. Although the 9-year-old said her father is “being nice to her,” she asked the Hodgins to “come and get” her. CNN reports that Sonya is unhappy at her father’s home.
During the call, Sonya said her father’s home is littered with cigarette butts and mold. She also complained that the water is not clean. As they ended the call, the Hodgins encouraged Sonya and told her “everything is going to be OK.”
A representative with the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services issued an official statement, which explains why Sonya was placed with her father:
“So many times, foster parents come to love the children who stay in their homes… We see that every day in Tennessee. But we have to remember that the law is clear: Birth parents have the right to raise their children, and that the court system, where the final decision rests, is there to take all sides into account.”
Although the 9-year-old was removed from her adoptive parents and placed with her biological father, the Hodgins are unwilling to give up.
[Image via Bring Sonya Home]