Since 2006, Sonja had been living with Kim and David Hodgin and was formally adopted by them in 2008. Her father, John McCaul, was serving a 15-year prison sentence on a gun charge that was later reduced to 7-1/2 years, allowing McCaul to assert his parental rights and fight to reverse the adoption.
In November 2009, the court reversed the adoption. The girl continued to live with the Hodgins as both parties fought for custody. Nearly five years later, a judge ruled that Sonya should return to her biological father. Three hours after the ruling, Sonja was gone-to Nebraska from Tennessee.
A day after she was taken from her adoptive parents, she called them and begged to be picked up. She said that her father was nice to her, but his home was full of mold and littered with cigarettes. Despite that, Judge Andy Jackson denied the Hodgins’ request that Sonja be returned to them.
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.”
“McCaul has been, as far as we can tell, a good father,” Rob Johnson, Tennessee Department of Children’s Services spokesperson, told the WZTV station, Nashville, TN. “He’s fought for his daughter. Doesn’t have a perfect record – not a boy scout – but he’s done everything the state of Tennessee has asked.”
On Friday, May 16 th, the judge ruled that Sonya will stay with her dad. The Hodgins immediately filed an appeal.
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Source: New York Daily News, 9-year-old taken from adoptive parents will stay with biological ex-con dad, by Meg Wagner, May 17, 2014