It was a rough day in court today in Dickson, Tennessee for Dave and Kim Hodgin. They are the adoptive parents of a 9-year-old girl named Sonya, who desperately want her back. She was removed from their home and returned to her biological father after living with them for nearly 8 years.
Today the Hodgins went to court to ask the juvenile court judge to vacate the order which sent Sonya back to Omaha, Nebraska to live with her father. They also asked for visitation rights with her. The judge denied their request to vacate the order, ruling that Sonya will remain with her biological dad in Nebraska, at least for now. He did not rule on them being able to visit with her. That is under review.
Dave Hodgin, the adoptive father, spoke out after court saying “what happened in this court today is devastating for Sonya, Sonya doesn’t deserve the pain this court and DCS has given her. We will never stop.”
Many legal questions are involved in this particular case. Attorney and children's advocate Areva Martin and Carrie Gasaway, an attorney for Sonya's biological father, discussed the custody battle.
When Dave and Kim Hodgin adopted their daughter Sonya back in 2008 they were thrilled. Dave said he was “ecstatic.”
They had been caring for her and fostering her since before she was two at their home in Dickson Tennessee. But their joy didn’t last long. Just over a year after Sonya’s adoption was finalized, a juvenile judge in Tennessee reversed it.
Why? Because he ruled that her birth father’s parental rights had been erroneously terminated. You see, the biological dad had been sentenced to 15 years in prison, which in Tennessee is enough to make you lose your parental rights if your child is under the age of 8. But what the court didn’t know was that before the adoption was finalized, Sonya’s biological dad had cut a deal to have his sentence reduced to 7 ½ years. That allowed him to fight for the adoption, which was later finalized, to be reversed.
Randi Kaye has an exclusive interview with Sonya’s adoptive parents, who had her ripped from their arms in January of this year.
Dave Hodgin recalled the emotional day: “…and 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.’”
Watch Randi Kaye’s report for the full story and a preview of the family’s next steps in court.
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Randi Kaye reports.
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