A nine year-old girl named Sonya had lived most of her life with her adoptive parents in Tennessee when she was forcibly removed from their care and “returned” to her father in Nebraska.
The sudden move came after multiple years of both sides battling for custody of Sonya.
Kim and David Hodgin of Dickson, Tennessee had adopted Sonya in 2008, when the girl was less than two years old.
Her biological father, Josh McCaul, had been awarded custody of Sonya in 2004 after Sonya’ mother gave up her rights. When he, however, pleaded guilty to transporting firearms and was sentenced to 15 years in prison, his parental rights were automatically terminated, and the Hodgins were able to adopt the young girl.
McCaul’s sentence was shortened to less than eight years; upon his release from prison, he was able to retain his parental rights by claiming that they had been illegally terminated.
A Tennessee appeals court overturned Sonya’s adoption: in January, a judge ruled that Sonya should return to her biological father.
The Hodgins said that within three hours’ time, the girl was taken from their care.
“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,” David recounted to CNN.
Despite the girl’s wishes, she was sent to live with her ex-con father more than 700 miles away from the place she had come to call home.
Now, the Hodgins are fighting to get Sonya back into their care.
A phone recording from January 30 – one day after Sonya was moved back to Omaha – captured Sonya begging the Hodgins to come pick her up.
“I want you to come and get me,” Sonya told Kim Hodgins. She went on to say that her new Nebraska home was “dirty, with mold and cigarettes everywhere,” and that, although the man was “nice” to her, the home lacked clean water.
The Hodgins are petitioning for the return of their adopted daughter based on Sonya’s best interests.