In the United States, about 700,000 children are abused and neglected every year, with the parent being the perpetrator in 78.1 percent of the cases, according to the National Children's Alliance. On June 30, one Oklahoma police officer was commended for committing both his professional and personal life to the cause.
After saving him from an abusive home two years ago, Poteau police officer Jody Thompson has adopted now-10-year-old John and his younger sister, giving them both a fresh and happy start to life, ABC7 Eyewitness News reported. Now, John is a straight-A student in a gifted and talented program.
At the time of the rescue, Thompson wasn't on duty but responded to the dispatch anyway, CBS News reported. When he arrived on the scene, Thompson saw an underweight 8-year-old boy being submerged in a trash can of cold water. There wasn't an unbruised spot on John's body.
Thompson took John to the emergency room and sat with him in the intensive care unit all night.
"When I seen him, when I seen him in that house, I knew," Thompson told ABC7 Eyewitness News.
The next day, the officer, who already had two kids at the time, registered to be a certified foster parent. John went home with Thompson on April 30, 2015, but he wasn't officially adopted until August when his parents, who are both incarcerated, relinquished their rights as parents.
Seven months after adopting John, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services called the Thompsons to tell them that John's mother also birthed a baby girl in jail. They asked if they would want to foster her. The Thompsons got her the next day, although it took a jury trial and appeal to officially get John's parents to relinquish their parental rights again.
"Never in my life did I dream of having a large family, but God had different plans and so here we are," Thompson said. "And I'm loving it all."
For his commitment to giving these children a better life, Thompson received a certificate of commendation from the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigations.
"Jody's actions as well as his famil[y's] are second to none," Poteau Police Chief Stephen Fruen said, according to CBS News. "The example of love and compassion he has shown to this young man and his sister is an example everyone should follow."
Thumbnail/banner image credit: Flickr user North Charleston