Why Foster to Adopt Parents Should NOT Fear the Sonya McCaul Case and Why Biological Parents Should

The mass hysteria started before and in the last 24 hours has gotten worse, including with Calvin King (author of the infamous “I Am Sonya” article that was published last year).

There actually was a comment stating something to the effect of foster parents running away from this.

They shouldn’t.   Here is why.

Let’s go to the beginning of the case – if you look at the Omaha World article, you will find that there was not an allegation of abuse or neglect.   NONE.   Yet, John McCaul still had his daughter taken into state custody – this was after he called the police and told them that they wouldn’t give his daughter back.  He sent someone after her as he was instructed and STILL the state took her into their custody.

(As a side note, right now I don’t want to argue the right or wrong of the baby-sitter taking Sonya out of state.   Whether or not you agree with his parenting choice it is HIS PARENTING CHOICE.   It was not neglect, it was not abandonment.  Naivete maybe but that is not something you should loose your child over.)

In April of 2006, Kim Hodgin called DCS on Joy Gunn, claiming an unsafe home.   Joy Gunn had been the emergency placement while they were sorting the custody arrangements out.   (DCS has since admitted they knew of the prevailing custody order in Nebraska but chose not to pursue it further.   This does need some investigating.)   In July Kim and David Hodgins decided to file to terminate the parental rights of both John and his ex wife.

The Hodgins alleged abandonment and claimed that THEY had custody of the child.  (This was a lie, they had placement but at this point DCS had custody.)   DCS had been preparing to send the child BACK to Nebraska with her grandmother Phyllis McCaul.

In October, Phyllis filed a motion to intervene, to take her granddaughter home with her.

Keep in mind with all of this, the charges on John were filed in April 2006 and the indictment wasn’t until later.   The Hodgins did NOT know what the sentence was.   They did not know that John McCaul was going to stay in jail.   He was not sentenced until January 2007 with the reduction in October.

The attempt at adoption was filed BEFORE the sentencing and the “adoption” was finalized AFTER the sentencing reduction – in 2008, they won the right to adopt Sonya.   This was immediately appealed and instead of waiting on the appeal, they pushed the adoption through.

The termination had been filed based on abandonment.   The judge ruled that Sonya had NOT BEEN ABANDONED but instead decided to terminate due to the lengthy prison sentence that had already been reduced.    The prison sentence reduction had nothing to do with winning the appeal.   The reason the appeal was won was a lack of due process.   The Constitution is NOT a technicality guys.  Head up.

In March 2007, the mother’s rights were terminated.   The key thing to realize on this date as well is that DCS OPPOSED the termination of the parental rights of both John and his ex wife.   They did not believe this was in Sonya’s best interests.  In fact, they were still pursuing reunification as the primary goal.

The adoption was not allowed to stand, in fact it was overturned and annulled in 2009.  Which means that the Hodgins had not been her adoptive parents ever according to the law.

They attempted several more times, most recently in the last year.   They have not succeeded any of these times.

So what do we learn here?

Note that DCS did NOT file the termination.   In fact, they opposed it.   Nevertheless, the Kim and David Hodgins pushed through anyway.    When you are pursuing a foster to adopt situation, there is a reason the heartbreaking checks and balances are in place it is for YOUR PROTECTION and for the protection of the child.

A majority of the foster parents that wish to adopt stay ethical and within the law.   The Hodgins did not.   They filed to terminate John McCaul’s parental rights over the objections of DCS.  They did everything possible to stop reunification for EIGHT YEARS.   THEN they made this young girl into a media side show, bringing up all sorts of people who want to kidnap her, etc…   They also broke their contract with DCS and yet believe they could have another shot.

Not.  Going.  To.  Happen.

Legitimate, ethical foster parents shouldn’t worry that this will happen to them but biological parents should.

Notice, no charge filed, no allegations of abuse or neglect yet it still took John McCaul this much time to get his daughter back.   Law enforcement would not help, instead accusing him of abandonment.   This is what parents should fear.

NOT an illegal adoption getting overturned.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Canne Reed
    Feb 20, 2015 @ 21:44:40

    This entire situation from beginning to end needs a neutral investigation #1 prevailing custody not honored #2 why was father threatened with arrest when there was no investigation of charges by an officer who claims to be the BFF of the former foster Mom? #3 why were these foster allowed to detain this child in Tn by filing continued appeals and requests for continuances. In a statement issued by Mr. Hodgin as part of a restraining order taken against TNDCS he lists the child being in their home just days after the child’s arrival in Tn. and without the fathers knowledge or consent. Only the Nanny had consent to be with the child while she cared for a sick relative Why did the Nanny pass this child off to her relatives instead of returning the child as per her verbal agreement with the father? #4 why did no one monitor the former fosters to make sure the family was able to have contact/visitation with this child? #5 Why did the former fosters fail to use this child legal name? #6 Why were the fosters allowed to keep this child in their home while noncompliant with 3 separate reunification plans? #7 Why have the former fosters been allowed to launch a media campaign against this child and her family? Part of that very campaign has been used to raise funds for the own use in fighting this child’s family. Their statement has misrepresented the child as “their daughter” and misrepresents their role as a”adoptive parents. God given families should not have to fight for 8.5 years to have their child returned home and in doing so incur thousands of dollars in legal bills. Ethical foster to adopts have nothing to fear.


  2. ca waack
    Apr 26, 2015 @ 15:47:16

    The only goal for this child was reunification as stated by TNDCS and the courts. As with anything, since there were 2 states involved it took from October to July 2006 to get the proper studies on this child’s Grandmother approved so an ICPC could be issued to bring the child back to Nebraska. The former foster only had placement for 3 months, proceeded to take obstructive legal action to prevent that return. TNDCS was not properly or timely notified of the former foster attempt to file a private adoption attempt on a child that was in state custody. As the situation wore on TNDCS stated in legal, revealed paperwork, that this child was denied permanency by the former fosters actions. TNDCS further labeled that placement as inappropriate. Quite simply the former fosters knew from the beginning that their role was temporary and the child would be going home. They also knew and acknowledged in their contract that this child was not available to adopt. The child should have been returned to Nebraska in 2006. What a disgrace that these former fosters ,who never accepted their true role in this child’s life, were allowed to prevent reunification for 8.6 years


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