Jody Thompson had investigated dozens of child abuse cases. But when the Poteau Police Department officer responded to a 911 call in April 2015, it was the worst case he had seen.
An emaciated 8-year-old boy shivered in a trash can of cold water, his wrists tied with belts. His entire body was literally covered in cuts and bruises.
Technically, the officer wasn’t even supposed to be on the call. He was off duty and only dropping off his partner when he heard the dispatch.
When Jody saw the boy, John, his immediate instinct was to care for him like a father. He took him to the emergency room and stayed with him the entire night.
The next day, Jody applied to to be a foster parent to John. He was already a father to two boys, then ages 15 and 8, and he and his wife, Jeannie, would find out within a few days that she was pregnant with yet another boy.
Still, the family wasn’t done growing. About seven months later, John’s biological mother delivered a baby girl in jail; Jody and Jeannie became foster parents to her, too.
Jody and Jeannie later officially adopted both John and his sister Paizley. Today, they are a family of seven, and Jody said that while he never imagined he would have a big family, he is “loving it all.”
John has thrived in his new home, becoming a straight-A student and joining the drama club. Jody praised his resilience, but many who are now hearing of the story have also credited the family’s love.
“God bless this man and his family,” one woman wrote on Facebook. “There sure are wonderful people in this world.”
The Oklahoma Bureau of Investigations agreed with that. They recently gave Jody a certificate of commendation, and the story has been shared around the world.
“Always have compassion,” Jody told CBS News. “You never know what you’re going to walk into.”
For many, this story of a young boy being lifted from horrific circumstances to a place where he is given the love and care everyone deserves is an example of great love in action. Of course, John knows that best of all.
“He was helpful to me,” John told KFSM-TV. “He’s the reason I’m here right now.”
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