Patrolman Jody Thompson is now a father of 5 – but it all happened pretty suddenly.
He and 8-year-old John first met under the worst of conditions. The boy was starved and not taken care of by his birth parents.
Answering the call
Thompson was dropping off his partner at the Poteau Police Department in Oklahoma when a call came over dispatch about a child in need of help.
While he wasn’t on duty, he had spent time investigating children cases for the district attorney’s office prior to joining the force, so he decided to rush to the scene.
“I’ve investigated child abuse cases before,” Thompson told CBS News. “I thought I’d better go ahead and respond.”
He was stunned by what he saw when he arrived at the home.
8-year-old John, who weighed just 61 pounds, had been submerged in a trash can of cold water. His wrists were bound by a belt and he had visible bruises along his back and a big bump on his head.
“He did not have a spot on his body that didn’t have a bruise or abrasion,” Thompson said. “It was the worst thing I’ve ever seen.”
By his side
Thompson covered the boy with a blanket to warm him up and removed him from the scene immediately. The two then went to the Oklahoma Children’s Advocacy Center since detectives and investigators would need to take photographs of his injuries.
A trip to the ER was in order after that – then John needed to be admitted to the ICU.
The patrolman stayed with him through those vulnerable moments – and all the ones that came after.
“When I’d seen him in that house shivering and his hands tied — just soaking wet and confused — I knew at that moment the only time I would be satisfied and sure that he was safe is if he was with me,” he told CBS.
Of course, you can’t just take a child home with you. But Thompson went through the proper channels by contacting the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) to register to become a certified foster parent.
He was able to bring John home just a few days later.
A growing family
Thompson didn’t tell his wife or his sons (ages 15 and 8 at the time) exactly what was going on. But he said they trusted that he was doing the right thing.
Two days later things got a bit more complicated when his wife told him she was pregnant with their third biological son.
But that didn’t change his mind about John. They’d be a family of 4 and that was that.
Except for one other “small” matter.
Seven months later, DHS called the Thompsons to inform them that John’s biological mother had given birth to a baby girl while in prison. They asked if the family would be interested in fostering her.
“We literally picked her up in the hospital the next day when she was a day old and brought her straight home,” Thompson said. “Never in my life did I dream of having a large family, but God had different plans and so here we are. And I’m loving it all.”
A family of 5
John’s biological parents will be in jail for some time, but while they relinquished their parental rights to their son, they refused to do the same for their baby daughter.
Alas, after a long trial in which John bravely testified against his biological parents, they lost their parental rights to daughter Paizley. The Thompsons were able to adopt her.
The family was healing but doing well. And Thompson couldn’t be prouder of his son John.
“John is amazing. He’s a straight-A student, on the honor roll, in the gifted and talented program, involved in the local drama club,” Thompson said of his now 10-year-old son. “That kid’s very resilient. He bounced back from this.”
Thompson received a certificate of commendation from the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigations for his good deeds with his family standing by that same year.
Thompson said John had decided to share his story in hopes of helping other victims.
“We went through something bad, but we’re not going got let it define who were are. We’re not going to let this hold us back,” the proud dad said. “Always have compassion, you never know what you’re going to walk into.”
It just so happens that this year, he also received a compassion award at the Mission 2244 gala.
Be sure to scroll down for an interview with those involved in this emotional story.
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