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Create Sonya's Law and Bring Her Home

This petition had 17,154 supporters

On Jan. 29, 2014, 9-year-old Sonya Hodgin was forcefully and unwillingly removed from the arms of her parents who had raised her since infancy and handed over to her birth father, a man who had spent the majority of Sonya's childhood in prison due to a violent criminal history and felony charges. The state of Tennessee's child welfare department and a broken judicial system allowed this to happen, completely ignoring the child's best interest and dismissing the years of loving permanency provided by the Hodgin family.

The Hodgins became Sonya's foster parents when she was 1 year old. By age 3, they had adopted Sonya. Her birth parents' rights were terminated by the state. Then in 2009, from prison, the birth father was successful in overturning the adoption because his prison sentence had been reduced from 15 years to 7.5 years. In Nov. 2012, he was released from a federal penitentiary and on Jan. 29, 2014, the state forced Sonya to leave her family and live with a complete stranger in Nebraska.

As a concerned group of petitioners, we are asking Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN) and Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) to co-sponsor bi-partisan legislation to further strengthen the language of the Adoption and Safe Families Act. Children in situations like Sonya's must be protected from being forcefully removed from stable loving homes when it's not in their best interest.

As members of Congress and CCAI, we are asking you to amend the Act to improve permanency for children and protect them from this type of travesty.

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