Spin Doctoring

So let’s look further into the lies on the Sonya McCaul case shall we?  Especially as Twitter has become a bit of a confusing place to move through – not that you should be getting facts from social media but the story has kept changing so many times it’s very difficult to start going through it.

First off, if you ever let your children leave the state with a caregiver and they refuse to return them, heads up, this is what according to the Hodgins and their supporters constitutes abandonment.  I just thought I would mention this as the case because that is where it starts.

If you have not read, the Hodgins have once more been denied the right to Terminate the parental rights of John McCaul and they are now seeking preadoptive placement and working on overturning Judge Jackson’s ruling to send the case to Nebraska where it belongs.

To be blunt they are pitting the ASFA against UCCJEA – which seems like a crazy choice to have to make, but frankly I don’t believe that the thought of the consequences of this have really occurred to them.

This whole beginning of the case is splitting an assorted and crazy amount of hairs.  The child was abandoned in Tennessee by her nanny.   The child was abandoned in Tennessee by her father.   Why didn’t her father come to get her if he was that concerned, etc…

John McCaul was threatened with arrest if he went to Tennessee.    There has yet to be a single denial of this threat among the supporters, but according to the Hodgins supporters he should have not followed police orders and come to get his daughter anyway.

This is a man who was familiar with how the law worked and had been out of trouble for a number of years at this point – he had no desire to get himself arrested again which would not have done Sonya any good whatsoever.   So he did what he had the right to do as the custodial parent.    He sent his mother and best friend to get his daughter.

Now let’s break this down.   If you follow police orders and send a representative to get your daughter in compliance with those orders and as is your right, DCS will be contacted so that your daughter cannot come home.

Let us start with Omaha World – the report that was the most unbiased.

OmahaWorldTiming

So let’s review.   She was declared a ward of the state on October 5, 2005.    The Hodgins took over as faux kinship placement in April 3, 2006.

But let’s go back to what is said on Bring Sonya Home in the FAQ’s.

Coming to TN

Still keeping somewhat the same on the timeline.

Now Kim’s Letter to the Governor.
SonyaComing gov.  letter

Now, the child was not declared a ward of the state in August 2005 when Kim declared she was baby sitting Sonya.    In fact, she was still supposed to have been in the care of her nanny.   So unless there was a plan in place to keep Sonya there at that point, why would she be babysitting her then?

Now the letter from the professionals, also on the Bring Sonya Home Website:

ProfessionalTimeline

So now instead of being foster parents since she was 21 months old, they claim since she was as year old.     And then they claim that the birth father was successful in overturning the adoption because of a sentence reduction.

Heads up, they filed for termination of parental rights before he was indicted on firearms charges and the reduction in sentence took place a FULL YEAR before they terminated John McCaul’s rights.  In addition, the original argument was that John McCaul had abandoned his daughter.    This is a word thrown around on social media among supporters while kidnapping is one commonly responded to with “Show me the charges.”

As per Court of Appeals, John McCaul did NOT abandon his daughter.

AbandonmentdisprovedCOA
Now the restraining order filed in 2012.

ROtimeline1 ROTimeline2

First off, they claimed that Sonya had been living with them continuously since she was 13 months of age.   She was 21 months of age when she was placed with the Hodgins as a resource placement.      They also mention here that the reunification process was starting.    This is SIGNED by David Hodgins as a legal document.

Compare that to these statements on the Bring Sonya Home Website.

TransitionBSH

Which way is it?    They knew that the reunification process was beginning but yet this is the face they put out to the public.

Now let’s address contact for a moment.

contact

— This is from the Bring Sonya Home Website

Contact2

– From the Bring Sonya Home Facebook Page (note the location stamp – for those who still want to say that the Hodgins are not running the page)

THEN from Kim Hodgins’s OWN WORDS in her “Letter to the Governor”

Contact3

Now this came out last week.

BSH10-12 Contact Question BSH10-12 contact

Everything is John McCaul’s fault.   Not the Hodgins’s – even though Kim herself admitted in the letter to the governor that the media attention is why DCS cut contact off.

Much like so much of the rumors of this case from the Hodgins’s camp, the stories keep changing and getting more and more tragic for the foster parents – so why should we believe them?   How long was Sonya in their care?   Was she in their care in August and Joy Gunn was lying or was she where she was supposed to be this whole time?

This case is every parent’s worst nightmare, going around UCCJEA would mean that an abusive parent can leave the jurisdiction with the child and keep them.   Consider that for a moment.

Part 2 of SpinDoctoring will be Supporter Spin, which is in actuality a very entertaining prospect.

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An Open Letter to Focus On the Family and iCareAboutOrphans Regarding Orphan Care

I write this with a heavy heart after doing a lot of research.

I have always used Focus on the Family as a resource for so many things and had share articles with many of the Christian community at large.

But while doing research into the ethical adoption movement, I have realized that you like many others, are falling desperately short.    Like many Christians, you are talking a terrific game about caring for orphans, but when looking into the speakers you have brought to speak for you, I was stunned and horrified.

The name that horrified me was Johnston Moore, of the group “Home Forever” which has become quite the name in orphan care with their push for adoptive parents for foster children.    On the surface this sounds like an amazing scriptural idea, until you start doing research into what measures he wants to implement.

Moore is one of a group of outspoken critics against the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA).   This is an act that many in the adoption reform movement would like to see extended to all children.   The family placement preferences in the end are better for children who are not forced to loose their identities and culture.    In addition, in a private adoption case, both father and mother signing off in front of a judge with full knowledge of what they are doing is in the end, the best way of securing permanency for the children without the long court battles and disruption in the lives of children.

Instead of pushing to make sure that family is involved, Moore has involved himself in FOUR  ICWA cases wanting to deny children permanency with their natural families.   In the case of Veronica Brown (Capobianco), he ignored the numerous ethics violations that were at the start of this case and even the dishonesty of the adoptive parents and biological mother in favor of using this case to overturn ICWA.   A majority of the misinformation that was sent out about this case was through a public relations firm headed by Jessica Munday.     I only bring this up because instead of distancing himself from the case when the lies came out into the open, he decided instead to found an organization with Jessica Munday and Lisa Morris (who runs the Christian Alliance for Indian Child Welfare, a group considered by many natives to be a racist hate group, indeed, a group with its own ethical questions to answer) called the Coalition for the Protection of Indian Children and Families.    In short, this group has thankfully done nothing since the Veronica case except to renew its nonprofit status, but there he stands with two people with questionable ethics.

In the same case, he celebrated the removal of a child who had been with her family for TWO YEARS and had no memory of the adoptive family.    For all his calling for permanency and Christian orphan care, he helped fight to take a native child from her CHRISTIAN parents and send her to an atheist family.   He had also gone on the Dr. Phil show with them to  commiserate and to speak out on the evils of ICWA.   Now, I am not saying the law is perfect, but I DO believe that many of the standards are common sense and ethics.

Three other young girls have been featured on the Home Forever Facebook page, Dee, Elle and a young Choctaw child.    Dee was sent to live with her aunt and her biological brother.   Elle was sent to live with her aunt and uncle and the young Choctaw child should have been sent from California to Utah to live with HER father’s family.   All three of these children were foster care cases, with an entirely different set of case law than the Veronica case would be, and in most of their states they would be placed with the family regardless of ICWA, at least in theory (and specifically in Elle’s case that was going to happen) but yet Moore has only focused on the ICWA, as if because of native status their families were not a good idea to take care of them.    In fact, the young Choctaw child had not even been with the foster family for a year when the foster family requested de facto parent status as a way to get around reunification with her family.

With this, I come to a white child that has been prominently featured on Moore’s site, in fact, prominently featured in the national news, Sonya McCaul.

If you do not know the story, I will give it to you in a nutshell.   Sonya was removed under questionable circumstances from her father as a toddler – her baby sitter took her to Tennessee and refused to return her.   From there, instead of being sent back to Nebraska, she was sent into foster care with Kim and David Hodgins who tried five times to circumvent the law and adopt her.   They succeeded once but the adoption was overturned less than a year later because it was ruled that her father’s parental rights could not be terminated.  (The father had been put in jail, but the grandmother was about to get placement when they filed for the first time to terminate her father’s parental rights)    The father’s life had long been straightened out, his stint in prison was due to being literally in a vehicle with the wrong person who didn’t secure their gun properly.

Instead of waiting for the courts to do their thing, they tried to create an orphan in need of adoption by going around the Tennessee court system.    They even put up a restraining order AGAINST DCS when they were going to remove Sonya because they weren’t cooperating with the reunification process.   The courts had enough of this in January and just abruptly removed her which was when Moore got involved, calling out that HER rights had been violated, but instead of putting the blame where it belonged (the court documents have come out more and more supporting this) on the foster parents, he put it on Sonya’s family, the one that had been fighting for her since day one.     He has been silent on this of recent times, but nothing going back and saying that he was wrong and that this case wasn’t what it seemed from the start.

Every case on his Facebook site, these foster parents are fighting biological families for their CHILDREN.    He does not share successful reunion stories, only successful adoptions.   One such case was “Little Johnny” who was returned to HIS great grandparents.    Instead of encouraging the family to work with “Johnny’s” family to get to know his God given family, he encouraged prayer that the child was to stay.   In short, the only permanency that Johnston Moore believes in is the permanency of an adoptive family.   A biological family is nothing more than an obstacle for him.

Sometimes foster care is a necessity, sometimes it is a short term necessity, sometimes it does sadly, have to involve terminating parental rights and other times an adoption.   Adoption however is NOT the long term answer to a short term problem.   In fact, fighting the reunification process opens children up to more instability as they are fought over between their families and legal strangers.   Adoption is also not the first answer to jump to when things are wrong, adoption involves a loss for the child and termination of parental rights is a serious step that needs to be approached with extreme caution.   Followed by that, a child’s fit relatives should have the ability to care for a child from their own families, thus keeping a child’s God given identity intact.

Does God make mistakes?  I know your answer is NO.   Undoubtedly it is no.  But the attitude of Moore and many like him that seem to push creating orphans for the sake of caring for them because God ordained it, to me, screams of men knowing better than God does as to what family a child belongs.   God places children in families for a reason.    As Christians we need to support family preservation wherever it is possible and then care for the children when families are unable or unwilling to care for them

As Christians we should NOT be supporting dishonesty to steal children.  We should not support those that are thwarting the law and we should not be using those who outspokenly support both to push a cause we support.

Because of the use of Johnston Moore as an ongoing spokesperson for the orphan care movement that is solidly pushed, I no longer feel like Focus on the Family is supporting the values of honesty and integrity that they are purported to support.  I urge you to look into his support of unethical adoptions and to join many of us in a push for greater ethics in adoptions.   That is true orphan care.