To Whom It May Concern,

My wife, Susan and I accepted our daughter, Sophia Ellis into our home as a Foster child at the age 20 months on October 31, 2004. To that point she had experienced severe abuse and neglect in her birth mother’s home. Early on evidence of attachment issues were evident which included a lack of interest in human touch.

Over the course of our first year with Sophia in our home my wife worked diligently to form a bond with her. She would bathe her in our kitchen sink multiple times per day in efforts to develop in her a receptiveness to nurturing. It took months but eventually Sophia began to reach out to my wife. It was a milestone worth celebrating. We continued to make every effort to reinforce in Sophia a sense of belonging in our family and ultimately we were able to adopt her in 2005.

At approximately age 10 Sophia began displaying behaviors that concerned us. She became defiant and manipulative. Trials in public school resulted in challenges for Sophia in relationships with teachers and fellow students. Friendships were a challenge and she began to associate with other children with behavioral issues which resulted in the need for disciplinary action in school. At home Sophia would attempt to triangulate my wife and I be denying wrongdoing to one or the other of us depending on who witnessed the behavior. Her pattern of lying and deception became so habitual that it was difficult to trust any statement she made.

While attending Junior High Sophia began skipping school. She would manipulate fellow students to gain access to their cell phones to access the internet to watch pornography. Any attempts to use others’ phones which thwarted ended in vulgar retorts to fellow students. She would also manipulate teachers in order to do the same with the school library computers.

Sophia’s defiant behavior had driven our family to a point of crisis. She had been admitted to Sacred Heart Children’s Psychiatric Unit in Spokane, Washington and had been seen by 3 different counselors to address her behaviors that last of whom is a specialist in adoptive children with attachment disorders. These efforts were to no avail. Her defiance and manipulative behaviors continued. Either we found an alternate living situation for Sophia or we had concluded that the only alternative was to divorce and have separate households in order to manage the challenges we faced. This, of course is not an acceptable alternative. We began talks with Boyd Householder at Circle of Hope Girls Ranch. Subsequently Sophia began to reside there in August, 2017.

During Sophia’s stay at Circle of Hope Girls Ranch her progress into long adulthood has been transforming. She is offered multiple opportunities to promote to different levels responsibility with associated levels of accountability. She is healthy and strong. During my visits I’ve seen her go from a child who refused even to order her own food at a restaurant or interact with a cashier to a young lady who will politely engage people the community while making eye contact. Though she has had her successes they have not come without the need for discipline when she fails to follow through with her responsibilities. This results consistently with demotion to a lower position. These are always followed by successes which are consistently acknowledged. She in then promoted for good behavior and the process of maturing through added responsibilities and accountability continues.

We love Sophia but her continued existence in our home is simply not an option. She will succeed in life and have a positive impact on others through continued participation/residence at Circle of Hope Girls Ranch until graduation.

Please accept our testimony in defense of Boyd and Stephanie Householder and the program run at Circle of Hope Girls Ranch. I can imagine no other help for our daughter that will provide a means of success for her future.


Michael Ellis