A Holiday Wish

Imagine if you will, being a child with a seemingly normal childhood in a small town.   You are homeschooled, you live at home, have a generally carefree life.

Then at the age of 9, you find out that you are adopted.   That after all this time of your parents telling you that you were born to them, you were adopted.    Then you go to school, sometime after your world is turned upside down, but they assure you that they are your family, despite being adopted.

Then sometime later you find out that you weren’t adopted at all, in fact, the adoption was overturned before your parents told you that you were adopted.   You find out that in fact you had a birth family that was fighting to get you back and had been fighting to get you back for most of your life.     You are returned to them and slowly find out more about your past, that your grandmothers wanted you, that you had cousins, brothers, sisters, a mother and a father, all of whom wanted you.   That you were and are loved beyond measure.

You find that you missed knowing one grandmother during this time, she had passed on from cancer.   You had missed knowing and learning from her because someone had been fighting your family in order to keep you.

Your “other parents” in the other state?  You missed them but you loved the new life with people who were just like you.   But they had told you what to say when you called them the night after you went to live with your father.   What you didn’t know is that they recorded what you said.   They also kept all of your belongings in the house in another state.

Five months later, as you are in counseling as you are adjusting well, you find out from a teacher that they played this phone call on national television.   Your voice is all over CNN, then the Today Show, then The View.  Your teacher asked about it and your friends overheard.    You were embarrassed horribly by what was said and what was done, so you inform your lawyer that you didn’t want to see them again, ever.    You told her you wanted this to stop and you wanted your things.

Still, they didn’t listen to you.   Your “other parents” by this point felt that they were going to “save you” putting up a national campaign, using a PR firm to say horrible things about your parents, calling on stars and going on national television again.

Every holiday has been marred by some sort of media from your so called “other parents” and now you don’t want to see them again and while you are embracing your family and love each and every one of them, they continue to fight your father, continue to put your pictures on the paper and try to put you on television once more.

What would you do?   Would you still want to see the “other parents?”   I ask you this, I want you to see it from that perspective.

Because this is a real scenario.   This is a real child.   Her name is Sonya and my wish is that she can have a Christmas with her God given family that is normal without a media story coming out on Christmas eve or Christmas Day.   I wish that maybe she can live a normal life without media interference.

Don’t say she’s brainwashed.  Please try to see her perspective.

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22 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cherie Waack
    Nov 28, 2014 @ 23:40:51

    Recently there seemed to be outrage accusing this father of brainwashing his child. What started that? The revelation that she refers to the former fosters as “those people” The supporters of the former fosters believe that this child loves them more, wants to be with them more, and would never voluntarily cease to call them Mommy and Daddy. At every turn they diminish her God given family. I took a look- where did this child come up with that term for her former fosters? Could it be that while the former fosters were supposed to be compliant to a reunification plan they referred to her Father, who she has come to love, as “that man”?. Could it be that during that period of time the rest of her family was referred to as “those people”?. We need to look no further than media interviews in which the former fosters have used that very terminology. Now let’s address why she wants no contact. She has come to learn that she always had a family that loved and fought for her. She has also come to acknowledge that she had been living a lie. She was using a name which was not hers and being told a life story which was not hers. Once she learned about the media I am sure she also came to understand that the former fosters once again wanted to isolate her from the family she has come to love. He actions make perfect sense to me. Hopefully she will have peace to celebrate Christmas with her family in Nebraska.

    Reply

  2. Dawn
    Nov 29, 2014 @ 00:15:13

    This Beautifully written and articulated post fails to mention that her loving father was in prison for over half of her life. Or that the day she was ripped from her former Adpoted parents home, she was torn away screaming “Don’t let them do this,” put in a hotel room that night , and put on a plane the next day to go live with a father she had never met. How is any of that okay to do to a 9 year old? It doesn’t mean he doesn’t love her, or even deserve to be in her life, but his bad choices have led to EVERY BIT of the hurt in Sonya’s life. You all spin the story just as much as you say they do. This poor child. Let her have a voice!!! Quit hiding it behind a GAL or lawyer whom no one believes.

    Reply

    • gailfarrington
      Nov 29, 2014 @ 01:11:56

      The only people that say she was torn away screaming were the Hodgins’s – no accounts from there support this and frankly their word is not verifiable.

      Yes, he was in prison, and she should NOT have been with the foster parents during that time, she should have been with her grandmother.

      The transition plan that was put into place is so well documented that only the Hodgins deny it at this point. What SHOULD have happened is that they should have cooperated with DCS and smoothed the reunification plan.

      What should NOT have happened is a restraining order against DCS, what should not have happened is her face put all over national media. What should NOT have happened is her being forbidden to meet her GAL until after the handover because oh she didn’t know that she didn’t belong to the Hodgins.

      I’m outraged, but my outrage is at her foster parents. I’m still not sure how they even ended up as foster parents in the first place, but judging by the very poor job they have following the resource parent rules, they won’t be getting another placement.

      The Hodgins have been masters at manipulating the populace, Sonya’s attorneys have spoken privately with her again and again – do you really want to put a child in the position of having to say loud and clear to someone that she doesn’t want to see them again?

      It’s unnecessary. What’s more it’s not required by law. John McCaul’s parenting skills are NOT called into question. They never have been. The Hodgins have been declared detrimental by the GAL – they have broken every possible foster parent rule regarding Sonya’s privacy and you just want to let that walk? Leave her in peace and I”ll happily do the same and go to another case, heaven only knows that there are a lot of them out here.

      Reply

    • lala_w
      Nov 29, 2014 @ 07:02:34

      The fact that Sonya’s father was in prison for 6 years is irrelevant. Sonya never needed to be in foster care. Whatever allegations against the father – they did not check out – he was NEVER charged with child neglect and.or abuse. Hodgins applied for private adoption after they fostered Sonya for 3 months only, while DCS was dragging their feet in paperwork. Sonya’s dad was sentenced well over a year AFTER Sonya was put in foster care for no reason, as it turned out. If DCS did not interfere Sonya’s dad would have arranged for her care during his imprisonment. Long term imprisonment is a base for TPR only if a child is already in foster care.

      Reply

    • FamilyMatters
      Nov 29, 2014 @ 12:29:43

      Her fathers imprisonment has nothing to do with what happened to her, other than the foster parents saw it as an opportunity to keep her. Not DCS nor the courts found neglect/abuse, she should have been returned to NE immediately. The Hodgin’s never had standing to tpr/adopt, yet got a crooked judge to do just that. Physical placement does not give fosters standing to keep a child against family’s and states wishes. The state had physical custody, they were the ones to decide to tpr, and they didn’t. In fact, reunification was always the plan.

      Every last bit of trauma inflicted on her, was by the foster parents, who I believe had every bit to do with the rebuffing and unlawful removal (seeing it that they claimed to have her since 8/05) as they did with obstruction of reunification and transition.

      Dave and Kim Hodgin are evil manipulators. They had no right to this child then and they have no right to her now. I hope the pain they caused the McCauls follows them to their graves. They deserve that and so much worse.

      Reply

    • berta
      Nov 30, 2014 @ 03:39:05

      Wow… you’re basically calling her a liar. She tells everyone that is privy to her situation that she doesn’t want to go back to “those people” in TN. We’re not hiding behind anyone. If we’re standing behind anyone it’s behind this young lady.

      Reply

    • Kay Springsteen
      Nov 30, 2014 @ 04:05:04

      With all due respect, Dawn, you were not there. You have only the word of the Hodgins and their supporters, who put out carefully crafted stories (which change when they are discovered to be lies) based on what will raise the most public outrage. You may speculate here, but please have the courtesy to admit that this is ALL you are doing. That you really are guessing at what happened and that you are guessing at how it will affect her. She is actually settling in quite well, makes straight A’s and has perfect attendance at school. In addition to getting to know her family again, she is making new friends, has all new activities. Foster care is temporary – resource families need to let go when children go home, and this little girl’s resource family has not done so. What is staying with her, and will stay with her for the rest of her life, are the actions of her former resource family and their army of stalking supporters, who are doing everything they can to demonize her family. What WILL stay with her would be a forced adoption that she has repeatedly stated she does not want.

      Reply

    • Diane
      Nov 30, 2014 @ 04:08:37

      Dawn – the only reason she left that way (and btw, it was the fosters kicking and screaming, not Sonya) is because the failed fosters refused to assist in her reunification with her family. They treated her horribly and knows she understands that the fear she had was the direct result of the way the failed fosters treated her. Shame on them for failing her so spectacularly.

      Reply

    • Gwen
      Nov 30, 2014 @ 04:13:50

      GAL’s and AAL’s are put in place as attorneys, to speak for children. They are their voice in a courtroom, whether you, others, or even I like it. Children do not have to be nor need to be subjected to the torture of the courtroom when they have someone to speak for them. As for her father and the so-called spin you say is put on this story: truth is not a spin. There is no one, including this child’s father, who denies he spent time in prison. What is denied is his right to be a father and a parent. Legally, conscientiously, consciously, etc. this man should not have lost custody of his child due to false accusations and the child should have been returned to him, immediately, when the police and DCS were initially informed of the presence of a parent in another state, not to mention, the presence of a custody order which they were well aware of. It is always a good idea to complete research before making assumptions and statements with disregard to the full truth – not a spin.

      Reply

    • Jo Anna Hoffmann
      Nov 30, 2014 @ 14:10:38

      SJM has made it clear that she wants to stay in NE with her Dad, her Mom and her sister – – she has created relationships with them. She has no desire to go back to TN. Please leave SJM alone. Do you honestly believe if SJM stated otherwise we would keep saying that she wants to stay?

      Reply

  3. pammcrae
    Nov 29, 2014 @ 20:47:04

    If Sonya were an adult and wanted to reunite with her biological family, would these foster parents stand in the way? My guess, based on the evidence so far, is that they would try to sabotage any relationship. Sonya is with her family, the family whose DNA she shares and whose ancestry is hers. Better that she has a chance to spend the rest of her childhood with them than waiting until she’s an adult and has lost even more years of connection.

    Reply

  4. John
    Nov 30, 2014 @ 02:38:20

    I had a beautiful moment with my two year old this morning, a rare opportunity as she lay in my arms for half an hour and just loved.And all I could do was think and pray for sweet Sonya. It’s unfortunate John McCaul never had these moments. That his life choices sent his infant daughter to Tennessee with a caregiver (moment for any mother to say, “Who would EVER do this?”) and then was sentenced to 15 years in prison, having his parental rights terminated. He only got those rights back by giving information (ratting out his fellow friends/criminals) on a homocide, which reduced his sentence and he was able to get his rights back. Oh, did this article forget to mention that?

    Who rocked you sweet Sonya? Who loved you, cared for you, cherished every day of your life? They have a name. They are not “those people.” Whether angry or not a court allowed them to legally adopt you, to give you a STABLE, loving family. I’m so sorry that was ripped away from you in one afternoon.

    I’m so ashamed that this article says “unethical Christian adoption” when nothing about this article is ethical. While filled with some truth it is only half truths, led to sway an audience by such emotion. As a mother of three, if I raised a child for 8+ years and found out I had to give her up to a ex-con, I would fight with all that is in me too….to death if that’s what it took….especially if I watched her on my hands and knees as she was being carried away screaming to not let them do this? She was only 9 years old. She will NEVER get over that, she will never forget. You can hate the Hodgins actions, but John McCaul, who rocked, loved, fed, clothed your baby girl while you chose your own selfish, self-destructive path? Shame on you! You have forever scarred your little girl, had you only chosen, in the very beginning, to actually be a FATHER!!! Shame on you.

    Reply

    • berta
      Nov 30, 2014 @ 03:53:30

      The Hodgins not only rocked her, they played keep away with her and fought tooth and nail to keep her from her Mom and Dad, grandmothers, brothers, sister , aunts, uncles, and multitudes of cousins.

      That isn’t love that is obsession.

      And if you read Mrs Hodgin’s letter to her governor, she describes a child that didn’t even like her from the beginning. I’m sure on many levels it is a relief for this young lady to finally be with family she likes.

      Reply

    • lala_w
      Nov 30, 2014 @ 04:05:17

      Sending your child to another state with her nanny is not illegal, therefore your opinion about it is IRRELEVANT. Likewise anything else you have to say about Sonya’s father.
      The only relevant points are that Sonya was always wanted by her family and there was ZERO reason for foster care. The Hodgins used an unfortunate situation to their advantage, and tried to adopt Sonya after they fostered her for 3 months only and continued their attempts for almost 8 years. While they never told Sonya she had a family. Such cruelty!
      Sonya had plenty of people in her own family to “rock her.” The fact that you are presenting her as NEEDING the Hodgins is disgusting. Sonya owes them NOTHING. Leave her alone already.

      Reply

    • Gwen
      Nov 30, 2014 @ 04:24:34

      Your comments are not appropriate nor honest. They display pieces and portions of truth, but fail to provide the fullness of the truth. This article was not intended to present every single detail of the life of this child, but to present an occasion for someone to think about how they would feel and about how they would think if this were to happen to them.
      Yes, John spent time in jail, and for the full truth about his sentence being reduced, go do your homework. There is more to that story than you will ever know or be willing to present because it would make you look ignorant.
      Her father would have been more than happy to rock this child, had she not been ripped away from him and forbidden contact with him or her own family. This child was lied to, deceived, and lived a false facade for over 8 years. It is not amazing that once she was able to get away and look at life through clear glasses she was equipped, finally, with the ability to choose truth and her family over deceit and hate.
      As for unethical adoption. It is obvious you do not know what unethical means. Look it up. All of the adoption proceedings, over the 9 years this child was subjected to them, were unethical, immoral, deceitful, and totally uncalled for.
      People who say they love a child, will not lie them, deceive them, keep them from their family, or prevent them from living life to its fullest. These so-called parents did just that.
      Its time for you, John, to do your research and not lean upon others to do it for you, because you are only getting part and parcel and your ignorance shows in your post.

      Reply

    • gailfarrington
      Nov 30, 2014 @ 14:46:17

      That is the thing, he DID choose to be a father. He was the custodial parent and did everything right.

      At first when I saw this story I was horrified, until I saw a note in the comments from a grandmother who was grieving. She was trying to make her voice heard with the REST OF THE STORY.

      Go back and reread the dispelling the lies post and the Spin Doctoring post. Court records have proven that the stories spun by Jessica Munday and Trio Solutions are entirely incorrect. As per the state of Tennessee, the Hodgins were declared resource parents when she was 21 months old. But the age keeps changing and currently according to the camp was set at 13 months.

      In 2006 as per Court of Appeal documents, Sonya was supposed to go live with her GRANDMOTHER. The Hodgins filed at that point to terminate John McCaul’s parental rights. He had not been sentenced at that point. The adoption succeeded a full year AFTER his sentence was reduced. If they had cooperated within that three months to send Sonya to live with her grandmother, none of this mess would have happened.

      The reunification process complete with the gradual transition is EXTREMELY well documented, but they decided to throw away their chances to do the right thing again and again.

      Again, why do you not put the blame where it goes? Yes, the man was in jail, but “such were some of you” – he has NEVER EVER been even accused of abuse to his daughter or any of his children. Sonya’s cousin recently tried to stop the lies about her uncle on the Bring Sonya Home facebook page and that was very quickly shut down. Her sister, also a minor was verbally harassed on twitter.

      So my question to you – how far would you go to bring your child home again? And how long will you let the Trio media machine KEEP LYING to you, over and over again.

      Reply

  5. Gwen
    Nov 30, 2014 @ 04:05:31

    Imagine if you will, a child taken from her father’s care for a visit to a nearby state that was not to last more than a few weeks. Imagine the distress and disgust when the father of said child is unable to locate said child and when he does he is threatened with arrest if he so much as steps into the state so he sends two friends, on the husband of child’s caregiver. Imagine the chagrin father felt when friend and husband return without child who has since been placed into care with DCS due to unfounded accusations. Imagine being with a friend who has a weapon in her car, unsheathed, under the seat of her car and not being aware of said weapon, and being arrested for the possession of said weapon. Imagine spending time in prison for that weapons charge and serving your time. Imagine hearing your mother is being forbidden opportunity to care for your child, and you have the opportunity to reduce your charges by providing information about a crime you heard about second or third hand. Imagine having someone else terminate your parental rights to the child that should have been returned to you. Imagine, just imagine, spending days and nights working to learn how to parent better, and following the letter of the law and getting out of jail to have to fight for custody of a child that should already be in your care. Imagine, if you will, fighting resource parents who refuse to follow the law and refuse listen to the law and refuse to participate in the reunification process. Now, imagine, gaining temporary custody of the child that was stolen from you – how would you feel? Imagine, just sit down, close your eyes, and imagine how you would feel having your child’s face and illegal personal information plastered across social media, television, and radio stations on a daily basis. Imagine how you, as that child, would feel when your father is put down by those who state they love you, and then they turn around and call you names, and state how bad a person you will be because you love your father. Imagine what you would think or how you would feel if someone who was not supposed to open their mouth told you everything going on with the television and radio and social media sites. Just how would you feel? Just take the time to imagine.

    Reply

  6. CCB
    Nov 30, 2014 @ 04:46:24

    OK John,
    Lets be honest here then.

    1) I have let my daughter, at not more than 2, go as far with a relative to visit; and on a plane no less. You may not agree with my decision, but that does not give anyone the right to use it as an excuse to justify taking my child.

    2) the adoption was not overturned upon learning of a sentence reduction (which happened long before the, later vacated, adoption was finalized. It was overturned because there was a lack of due process. That is no small thing. If due process is not upheld, it would lead people like yourself open to be taken advantage of by another using the system, and leave you without recourse.

    3) the reason he served a sentence, or the reason it was reduced is of no bearing to the custody of his child. Absent abuse to a child or their siblings, there is nothing to justify a TPR action, or even removal from the home.
    The only thing it serves the purpose of is drawing judgmental public opinion, which is also irrevelant to the case.

    4) “If I raised a child for 8 + years…” They petitioned to TPR 3 months after placement. They petitioned over and over. They stayed progress with litigation after litigation and with restraining orders. They kept the child in the dark while fighting her family in court for years. They drug out her lingering stay for their own benefit, never preparing her for the plan DCS had set out. It certainly didn’t benefit the child not knowing or being prepared did it.

    5) If foster homes were allowed to TPR and adopt 3 months into placement as the former fosters here attempted, while DCS is working on a reunification goal, it would literally rend the whole process of foster placements undeniably useless. This former placement was not a typical foster home in existence, but one created with an attempt to procure one specific child and make her theirs.
    The problem with this is that her family was working with DCS to complete a reunification goal. The goal for DCS is to keep families together, working with them to create and/or maintain a safe and healthy environment for their own children, regardless of our judgmental ideas of what a parenting style should look like. The goal is NOT to facilitate hopeful adopters in procuring forever children. A child, in this case, who didn’t even know she was in the foster care system. Shameful.

    By the way, continuing to do wrong for an extended time period does not negate setting it straight and should not be an excuse to continue the same wrong.

    Luckily she is working with a therapist to untangle this mess for her and has the support of a large, extended family to love her and help see her through it.

    Reply

  7. robin
    Nov 30, 2014 @ 05:01:10

    imagine being a 4 year old who knows her family but is forced into an adoption by two strangers bent on taking her away from her natural/bio family. Now imagine a nine year old taken and left at the mercy of strangers who refuse to send her back for 8 1/2 years. who fight to keep her from going home to her family. Now look at your family, what if someone came in to take your children or who refused to return your child to you. Search your hearts for the truth. Don’t children deserve the same rights as adults to live, love and to know their natural/bio family.

    Reply

  8. Ann White Howe
    Nov 30, 2014 @ 12:56:48

    Doesn’t matter if Sonya is 1, 5, 10 or 15. She is where she wants to be and deserves a peaceful, happy life. If she was yours would you not want that for her? It has been almost a year since she has came to live with her real family. Let it go…. Let her finally have peace.

    Reply

  9. Canne Reed
    Nov 30, 2014 @ 21:11:22

    I am hopeful this child can experience peace this Christmas.
    There was nothing incorrect or wrong for the father to allow this child’s Nanny to take her out of state on an “emergency” so she could help tend to a “sick relative”. After all, that Nanny was also the wife of his lifelong friend.
    Instead of returning this child, as per the agreement, records indicate that she allowed the now former fosters to have her in their home as early August without the Fathers knowledge or consent. This was mere days after she arrived in Tn. When the Father announced he was sending people (the Nanny’s husband & his own mother) to collect his child the Nanny’s mother placed a call to TNDCS claiming she would not know what to do if this child needed medical attention. That call was made after she was aware people were on the way to collect that child. It is significant that the Father was not in jail nor did he have pending charges. He just wanted his child returned.
    TNDCS intervened and took emergency possession. Judge Jackson recently acknowledged in court that they were made aware there was a prevailing custody order in Nebraska. The ball was dropped. No one apparently investigated that custody order. Had that been done the child should have been returned to Nebraska in 2005. Grandma did continue to pursue reunification with both Tn. and NE. She had everything approved and was ready to accept the return of her granddaughter.
    From that point on, the now former fosters filed one legal action after another, knowing each action stalled the reunification process. During that time the family never gave up. They continued to fight for the return of this child.
    What a shame that it took several failed reunification attempts and many years before this child was finally returned to her home in Nebraska. The reunification attempts failed because the former foster were not cooperative.
    She has bonded and loves her family. The trust she had in the people she “thought” were her parents has been destroyed. Why? She knows that she lived a life that was lacking in truth. She knows they had her use their name despite the fact that legally she had another name. She knows now that her family always attempted contact and that she that was concealed from her. She also knows the fosters, when finally ordered to tell her the truth insisted upon referring to her family in a very detached manner- “that man” and “those people”
    How anyone can expect to rewind this clock to a time that this child was living a lie and have her happily continue is unrealistic. She is 10 and quite intelligent. She has been working one on one with a therapist to help her come to terms with this situation. Most importantly she knows who her family is. She also is aware of her fathers history and his actions to turn his life around She has no desire to be forced back into what has become a very painful period in her life. She has asked many times for the former fosters to STOP the media campaign and to leave her alone.

    Reply

  10. Mads
    Dec 08, 2014 @ 01:19:27

    Children belong with birth parents and/or birth families. It is somewhat “noble” of John and other fosterers and adoptive parents to wish to shelter children who are without birth parents or families but to take them away from those people is, in my humble opinion. kidnapping.
    “John” and his ilk seem to be on some sort of mission and they say, “It is sanctioned by God”.

    No, it is not. I believe in God and I am a Catholic. I would pro bono in Catholic legal entities.

    In my humble opinion, what “John” and his ilk do is not according to any Christian or ethical ways.

    And the arena of the so called “Christian” media firms and attorneys have it wrong.
    Yes, it is a constitutional right for fit parents to raise and safe guard their children.

    Best interests be damned. The likes of “John” and his ilk to throw ” best interest” about particularly some attorneys in Oklahoma.

    Read Troxel.

    well, I have had my say. Stay strong Sonya with your birth family.

    Reply

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