HENNESSEY, Okla. (KFOR) – Following Wednesday’s meeting at the State Capitol about chronic problems with Oklahoma’s Department of Human Services, KFOR continues to shed light on stories from affected families.
“Yes, absolutely DHS betrayed us,” said Amanda Dodson-Hill in an interview Thursday with the station.
Becoming a foster mom was a years long dream for Amanda; in 2016 she and her husband Jacob opened up their home to three young children, in an effort to shield them from drug exposure and suspected sex abuse.
KFOR is not naming the children or their birth parents to protect their identities.
“What came out [of the investigation] was shocking and heinous,” Amanda said.
Amanda and Jacob told the KFOR while they quickly grew to love the children as their own, they made an effort to remain in contact with the birth parents.
“We were never secretive about them having other parents or anything like that… it was always out in the open,” said Jacob.
“The birth mother told me in 2023 that whatever happened we were going to be one big happy family and I trusted her,” added Amanda.
For years, the couple said everyone involved agreed adoption was best.
“They had told us from 2018 until this point that it was a shut and closed class we’re going to jury trial … we’re done,” said Amanda.
“The judge himself in court said a bio parent has not won a jury termination case in 20 years… he said that in court,” Jacob continued.
Then the dream became a nightmare; the couple said the conversation suddenly shifted from reintroduction of the birth parents to permanent reunification, with little recourse.
Adoption was off the table.
“Here we are in 2023 a foster care horror story,” said Amanda, saying their biological son has also had several difficulties adapting to the changes.
“The birth parents took them from school and took them from their home for the very first time when they moved in with them on April 19,” Amanda added.
The couple said the sudden shift took a toll on the whole family, and prompted what they believe was a drastic decline in mental and emotional health and well-being for the children.
In May, Jacob and Amanda said they had an hour to say goodbye to the children.
“[The] little boy told us they are being told we kidnapped them…little boy was asking us to come and find him at a park that they play at and the little girl was upset,” she added.
Now the couple wonders if they can trust Oklahoma’s Department of Human Services.
“After hearing all the testimony [at the State Capitol] of all the birth parents , it’s really made me question what’s the truth,” Amanda continued.
“It felt like they were keeping us and the bios apart playing one against the other … the foster parent bill of rights that they give you means nothing,” said Jacob, adding that their story is a cautionary tale for others.
“I’ve seen foster parents caring for their children for 5-6 years and they’re waiting on their jury trial [but] I want to caution them that there’s a chance that that jury trial [for adoption] will never happen and they will not get to adopt their children,” added Amanda.
“My prayer is that the birth mother and dad will see that we weren’t trying to keep the children from them that was never our intention. We loved the children, we wanted to adopt them, we thought they wanted us to adopt them,” she said.
In a statement Wednesday to the station, Oklahoma’s Human Services said they are bound to state and federal confidentiality statutes that prevent them from publicly discussing the details of cases:
Oklahoma Human Services is bound to state and federal confidentiality statutes that prevent us from publicly discussing the details of cases…The agency remains committed to protecting the safety of Oklahoma’s children.Oklahoma Human Services