> No More Secrets And Lies: November 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Mary Makes Money

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A few months later I got Social Security Income for Mary. The two of us went down to the Social Security office in Mankato and brought all the documents we thought we would need for Mary to qualify. The worker at the office looked through all of Mary's information, even her neuropsych evaluation, but the clincher was when she saw the list of group homes she had been through. That was all she needed; she didn't need to see anything else. And within two weeks, Mary qualified for Social Security Income. I was surprised by this because I had been told getting this would involve a long process and could take up to a year or more.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Six Months At Home! - Sept 17, 2009

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After making it to the two-month mark with no major problems, Mary now set her sites on six months. Her self-confidence was improving each day, and the longer she was away from the group home experience, the more she was regaining her ability to trust people again. She'd still call me at work with concerns about homework or to just chat, but she was calling me less and less as time went on. She was also growing more confident each day that no one was going to take her away, abandon her, or try to separate her from me. It was still a struggle to get her to do her chores and homework, however, but she wasn't getting into trouble, and that was huge.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Mary and Her Cat

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Mary and Her Cat


















Things were going better for Mary than they had in years even though usual problems associated with school still existed. She was still having problems getting up on time for her classes and getting her school work done. And after too many absences and getting too far behind in her classes, she had to leave this school as well.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Grace's Changing Schedule

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My Journal — February 4, 2009

Tonight Grace and I went looking at glasses. She's going to be getting some soon. We looked here, there, four stores maybe, trying red and purple ones on in mirrors. Ladies helping that work there.

Then we tromped to the back of Sears in the mall to find the eyeglass store. Found patio furniture first. We relax and pretend we're in our mansion.. and would you like to join me for some tea she says.. and I act the part and say, well certainly....

Then up and sitting at a bar, she on one side, me on the other, I order a drink from her. She pretends to make it, but we don't know the names of many drinks… so she says a martini, and I say dry, yes…and she says how can a drink be dry.. and I say two olives please and act like it's been a long day.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Do You Still Love Me?

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I was working nights at the St. Peter Regional Treatment Center and my job was becoming more and more stressful each day. My job duties hadn't changed, and how I performed them hadn't changed. What had changed was the day-by-day difficulty I was having just keeping my job. I was being targeted — something that had started about two years earlier, about the time Mary was in Forest Ridgeand it was only getting worse. Every few months I would get one more crazy reprimand or unpaid suspension for either being a few minutes late to work, not bringing a doctors note back from the emergency room (where Mary had been taken), or for whatever reason my supervisor could think of.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Goodbye Social Services

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At the next meeting with Mary's social worker and her mom, I told them I was going to raise Mary by myself, and I told the social worker that Mary's mom was okay with this, and, in fact, wanted me to. Karen affirmed this to be the case, and the social worker then made a note of this in her file. I also told them that Mary and I had talked and had decided that she wouldn't be going to a foster home anymore, and would instead stay home with me. I asked them if they were okay with this and they both said they were. I told them I would raise Mary on my own, but would like it if her mother would help out from time to time because this was going to be big task for one person. I told them Karen could (and should) visit Mary often, and that I would keep her up-to-date on how Mary was doing, like we had done with all our girls. I wanted to make sure she still intended to include Mary in her life.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Goodbye Foster Homes

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Mary stayed only at my home, even though the understanding was that she would stay at both parents' homes and abide by the week-by-week schedule her mother and I had been on for years. But after that first week, when it was time for her to go over to her mom's house, she refused. And even though I emphasized that this would only work if she followed our parenting schedule, she said she couldn't live with her mom and didn't think her mom wanted her to live with her. I called her mom and told her I was having difficulty getting Mary to go over to her house, expecting to have a long discussion about this, but she said that was fine. She wanted Mary to stay with me. And for the first time, maybe ever, we didn't have our usual "discussion" about our parenting schedule, and I was surprised as to why this was.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Settling Back In – March 2009

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Mary and Dad working at the SMILES Annual Picnic






















In March of 2009 Mary came home with me. Corrections had dropped her case, which meant the County no longer had any say in her life, and her team had dissolved as well. We were out of their hands, and they were out of our lives. It was now just Mary, me, her mom, and for a while yet, Mary's social worker. And even though we had no reason to have to work with the County any longer, Mary's mother still wanted to work with the social worker, and so I would occasionally meet with the two of them to talk about Mary.