> No More Secrets And Lies: State and County Connection – Part 1

Thursday, January 17, 2013

State and County Connection – Part 1

I think Trish Reedstrom, the Blue Earth County social work supervisor, planned to take Mary from me ever since the day I scoffed at her threat to make up child abuse charges against me if I didn't sign a form letting her place Mary in a foster home in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Instead of giving in to her threat that day, I took Mary home, raised her by myself, and gave her the kind of life the County was never able to give her. And while Mary was busy putting together her life and living with me, Trish was putting together a plan on how she could finally take Mary away from me.

And I think the centerpiece of her plan involved having my boss threaten me, as well, to try to get me to do the same thing: give Mary to this social work supervisor. As preposterous as this sounds, I can't think of any other reason he would have asked me to give my daughter to the County in exchange for keeping my job. He had no personal interest in my doing this, and yet this was the ultimatum he gave me. Both of their threats were just a little too bizarre and yet a little too similar to not be the same threat, originating from the same person: the social work supervisor. 

When I didn't give in to my boss's threat either, and instead kept Mary, he was then forced to fire me and create the window of opportunity Trish needed to move in and finally separate Mary from me. Not having a job at the time, nor a place to live, meant the girls had to stay with their mom for the few weeks. But they've never returned, and I no longer see them. And I think this is what Trish wanted. I think she has wanted this for a very long time.

I had witnessed the severity of her attacks on me long before this, back when Mary was still in the group homes: purposely placing her as far from me as possible, trying every way she could think of to limit my access to her while she was locked away in remote locations around the state, and even going so far as to get a psychologist to "doctor" her neuropsych exam in an attempt to make sure she never returned home. And considering the great lengths she went to then to separate Mary from me, I'm convinced there was little she wouldn't do to accomplish this goal once I got Mary home and was successfully raising her  — something she couldn't do, and something she definitely wanted anyone else in the world to be able to do but me.

I'm also convinced she would have been capable of turning Mary against me by exploiting her disability, threatening her, and even getting her mother and my boss to go along with her plan. My boss had had his share of problems with the county to begin with, and she would have had no problem using these against him in order to get him to comply with her plan. Threats seemed to be her modus operandi.

I'll never believe Mary turned against me on her own, and I'll never believe it was even a remote coincidence that she disappeared from my life at the same time Trish miraculously appeared back in her life (and at the same time I lost my job). I knew Mary better than anyone, and I knew she wouldn't act like this unless someone was making her. With her disability, she was an easy and a vulnerable target, and another throw-away child as far as this social worker was concerned.

I also think Trish knew I was going to lose my job even before I did. And when that moment came, she acted quickly to get the gears rolling in order to pull off her plan and destroy my life in the process. And she wasn't afraid of showing her tactics, either, because she didn't think I would notice being too consumed at the time with my job loss and my mother's death to think about much of anything else. And even if I would have tried to stop her, she was prepared to stop me if we ended up in court — something my lawyer basically confirmed at the time.

Mary's Mom Didn't Manipulate Mary On Her Own

Someone was making Mary do things she wouldn't normally do, and I don't think it was her mother, at least not at first. It would have taken more than her mom sitting her down and telling her I was a bad person to make her suddenly turn against me. I don't think her mom could even have scared her enough to make her change like this. And even though Mary was susceptible to being exploited, she was also too strong-willed and independent to be coerced into something like this, especially by her mother — someone she didn't even have a relationship with at the time.

But she would have been susceptible to threats from people who were in positions of power and had done things to her in the past. And I think she was manipulated by those whom she knew had this kind of power over her. And I believe this explains why she only felt safe calling me when she was far away in Oregon, or from a hospital when she was injured in a bike accident (which I describe later). And I think it explains why she broke down and cried when she found out I was also in an accident, but then quickly hid her emotions when her mother noticed her sudden display of sadness (also to come later).

Mary is more reluctant than most kids to comply with what adults want her to do, but she's also more afraid of certain adults, and rightly so, considering what some have done to her.

Her mom wouldn't have been able to convince Mary to get a social worker either, especially not at this time in her life, and especially not the same social worker who had treated her the way Trish had. And neither Mary nor her mom could have approached Trish on their own and asked her to run Mary's life for her and at the same time demanded that she prevent me access to any information about Mary. It doesn't work like that. Social workers don't normally take orders from parents or from kids.

But the most implausible explanation to account for Mary's sudden estrangement from me is the one I'm supposed to believe the one I was told that Mary, on her own, convinced both her mother and Trish to do all of these things. Neither of these people had ever listened to Mary before. They didn't listen to her when she was begging them to stop moving her so often, when she was pleading with them to come home, or when she was crying out to be heard when she was being abused. They never listened to Mary then, so why would they now?

.    .    .

Karen had also never disobeyed our parenting plan or parenting schedule before. For her to be violating both of these at a time when we were most likely going to court, meant someone was probably going to protect her once we got to court — the person whose job it was to be the final word in family courtrooms in this county, the person a judge turns to when he or she wants a definitive answer regarding children and parents — the social work supervisor. I'd seen this too many times in the many, many times I'd been in family court in Blue Earth County.

The manipulation of Mary began at least a month before I lost my job, and it most likely began with the knowledge that I would lose my job. It wasn't the first time Trish had tried to manipulate Mary and turn her against me. She had her workers attempt this more than once while Mary was still in the group homes. They tried to tell her I was a bad parent and that it was best if she never listened to me when they visited her at North Homes. Mary told me this. And I think Trish was continuing this manipulation once I got Mary home, even though we were no longer working with Social Services.

For both Karen and for Trish to be this well-coordinated on a plan this risky, at the same time, for the same child, and for the same reasons, tells me they had a plan in place long before I lost my job. It wasn't Mary's plan, and it wasn't a coincidence.

Mary didn't leave me on her own. She was most likely manipulated, and most likely with threats.


Anonymous said...

I went through the same thing with a social worker threatening me to place my kids and then when court came she lied and said she never said that..They get away with anything

John Brosnan said...

Interesting. Threats again.

Katherine Cherry said...

Good work.

Keep up the fight.... there are so many of now!

John Brosnan said...

Thank you.

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