top of page

Cael's Story

When Dave Weroha called, asking us to take his son's 1st birthday photos, we didn't know the extent of the impact they would have on our lives. This wasn't a regular cake smash or birthday celebration. This was a true celebration of hope and love, and honoring the miracle baby who is Cael. We are forever changed by this family. It is our hope that we can raise awareness to child abuse and the horrific extent of the effects to everyone involved. This is Cael's story, as told by his father, Dave: 

"It is 4:50 AM on January 22, 2017 and two Kansas City police officers rang my doorbell requesting to see my 3-week old son. After observing my son sleeping peacefully in his crib, they left. As I stood at the front door watching them drive off, I turned around and looked up at my father, standing at the top of the staircase, and uttered two dreadful, exasperating words: "She's coming!"


Reneging on a promise and betraying a sacred trust to bear a child through in-vitro fertilization (IVF), the surrogate mother, Amanda Gotshall, originally from Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, is armed with a court order obtained by defrauding the court granting her sole legal custody, and is coming to Kansas to take the love of my life: my son, Cael Weroha. She took Cael on that day and it would prove to be the first of many unconscionable events culminating in the evening of June 1, 2017 when Cael was assaulted while in the custody of Amanda Gotshall. Cael was flown by helicopter to Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital, presenting with a skull fracture, subdural hematoma, retinal hemorrhaging (shaken baby syndrome), vertebrae damage, and swelling of the brain requiring a partial skull removal. In the first 72 hours of hospitalization, doctors described his condition as being in a “vegetative state”. Initially, Cael did not respond to any pain stimuli, exhibited no spontaneous movement, his pupils were not observed as responding to light, and he was completely reliant on a breathing ventilator. He required a shunt to regulate his spinal fluid levels and a G-tube through the stomach because could not consume food by mouth. He was hospitalized in Pennsylvania for two months from June 1st until July 30th. During that entire hospitalization stay, I flew from Kansas to Pennsylvania every weekend for 2 months to be with my son. 


















Photo provided by Dave: Cael's first night and stay at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital


This horrific nightmare began as a story of deceit and fraud by the surrogate, and of unfathomable actions by Pennsylvania judge Leslie Gorbey who acted unethically and unlawfully by stripping me of my parental rights without a hearing. Despite irrefutable evidence (DNA paternity test result proving with 99.99% certainty I am the father), Judge Gorbey, with blind faith in siding with the surrogate, denied my request to reconsider her ex parte sole custody order. Words cannot begin to convey my emotions - hopelessness, helplessness, betrayal, disbelief, exasperation, and absolute uncertainty - I felt from January to May 2017 when I could not see my son, except for 10 days in April and for 10 days in May. I would not have had 10 days in April and May had it not been for Kansas Judge, Kate Lynch, who intervened in the legal persecution (denial of due process) in Pennsylvania. It is an inexplicable feeling to have your newborn child taken from you and to be denied access to him while you fight for months in civil litigation hell in Kansas and Pennsylvania.

It was later revealed in court that Amanda Gotshall has a history of child abuse in Ohio and in Pennsylvania; Children & Youth Services has also investigated her. Additionally, the Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board has agreed to open a formal inquiry into Judge Gorbey's conduct. 











Photo provided by Dave: Cael's  stay at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital


These days, Cael and I are living our lives, father and son, happily in Kansas. He is wonderfully cared for by a home health nurse who works on daily stretch, strength, coordination, and mobility exercises. He also attends outpatient rehab (OT, PT, Speech) three times a week and he is visited weekly by Infant/Toddler Services of Kansas. My son has taught me - above all else - that love conquers all, that despite the evil, hateful, immoral, and violent energy which surrounded him, he was meant to be with us, and through his smile and laughter, bring happiness to those who love him. His heart is pure. You are my hero, Cael."


Photo provided by Dave: Cael's stay at Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital


A.Lane Photography could not have made this special session happen, without the help of our wonderful and talented friends:

Smash Cake, made and donated by Emily Adzema at Sweet Soiree KC

Studio Space, donated by Matt Nichols at North Light Studio

Help aid in baby Cael's recovery, by donating below. Any amount is helpful and deeply appreciated.

bottom of page