The fact that Mary would seek out a social worker at this time in her life is extremely difficult for me to believe. Of all the people in the world, she would be the last person I would expect would want a social worker in her life, or, as in her case, back in her life. This was a time when she would have wanted anything but this — when she was trying to exert her independence and show the world she had grown up. For years the only thing Mary had wanted was to prove to others she didn't need these people in her life anymore, and she was proud of her achievements primarily because she had accomplished them without social workers. These were the people she had wanted to get away from more than anything else.
How many 17-year-olds want social workers to run their lives for them anyway once they are ready to leave home? And how many children, like Mary, who only want to be normal teenagers again, would want something like this? This is the why she was so proud of her six-month and one-year anniversary — because she had accomplished things while she was home and without the need for social workers. But it's also the reason her workers couldn't acknowledge her success when she told them about it — it was an embarrassment to them, that after 20-some group homes and a non-stop campaign of denigration against me, she now had a functioning life again, and had this while living with me.
The low point of Mary's life was when she felt she couldn't run her life anymore because other people were running it for her. And I'll never believe she sought out the same people who had used, abused, and mistreated her to ask them to run her life for her again now that she was finally free of them.
She didn't seek them out, though. They sought her out, behind my back, and they did this primarily because she was doing well, and even more importantly, doing well while living with me. And this explains why neither her mom nor Trish could tell me where she was, what had happened to her, or why she didn't want me in her life anymore. They couldn't tell me what happened to her because they had tricked her, deceived her, and probably even threatened her to make her leave me. And it also explains why she only felt safe calling me when she was 2000 miles away with her sister in Oregon and why she hasn't called me since she set foot back in Mankato.
Trish Manipulated My Employer to Fire Me
None of the manipulation of Mary could have occurred, however, without me losing my job at just the right time. Whatever my boss's problem was either with me or with Mary, there seemed to be only one solution as far as he was concerned: send Mary back to a group home. And apparently if I did that, he would be so pleased he wouldn't have to fire me. When I didn't comply with his crazy request, he followed through with his end of the bargain and fired me like he said he would. This gave Trish the opportunity she needed to move in and take Mary from me — something she had wanted to do in the worst way for the longest time.
My boss's bizarre request required much more than me simply taking care of some problem Mary might have been causing him. He wanted me to do one thing with her and one thing only: give her to Blue Earth County Social Services so she could be in a group home again. And I couldn't help but recall that the only other person in the world who wanted this exact same thing was Trish Reedstrom — the social work supervisor who had threatened me with the exact same request two years earlier when I tried to take Mary out of the group homes and who had now magically reappeared in Mary's life at the same time she disappeared from mine. There were no accidents here.
There was also nothing about my boss's threat that had anything to do with a real problem. It wasn't like Mary (or any of my children) had ever caused any problems at my job. And it wasn't as if he had finally had enough of Mary and could no longer stand the fact that she wasn't in a group home. If she had actually been a problem for him, he would have suggested a number of things I could do, like getting her help, asking her mother to care for her, or even taking care of the problem however I did it, and not worrying about how I did it. But he did care about how I did it.
He also never said what problem Mary had been causing or why he thought it was only Mary causing it. How did he know it wasn't Grace causing some problem? As far as he knew, all my girls were living with me, but for some reason he seemed to know that Grace's schedule had changed and that she was living with Karen most of the time and Mary was living with me all the time. He wouldn't have known this unless someone had told him.
And if he had truly wanted me to take care of some problem my kids were causing, or even if his threat was meant to harass me to get me quit, he would have asked me to send both of my girls to group homes, or maybe Grace instead of Mary. But it seemed as though he knew Grace was not the issue and this tells me someone had told him what the real issue was — that Mary was doing well and doing well while living with me. And I think Trish hated this.
For my boss to never mention his reasons for wanting me to send Mary back to a group home was a huge tell in itself. You don't tell an employee to do anything with their kids to begin with, and if you do, and especially if it's something as outrageous as demanding that they give up their child, you give them a reason — even if it's a fake one. If you don't, it looks suspicious. But he didn't even make up a reason. He never said why he wanted me to do this, and I can only think that was because he didn't know what a plausible reason would be to ask an employee to give his child away.
He also had to know it was possible for me to send Mary back to a group home or he wouldn't have risked threatening me with such a outlandish request. He worked in a treatment center, and he knew patients didn't come and go on their own. It doesn't work that way. But somehow he knew I could place Mary back in a group home whenever I felt like it. And that was true. I could. I had taken a big risk just getting her out of a group home, and he had to know placing her back there was possible, and someone had to have told him this.
There was no problem with Mary or any of my girls and he knew this, but I don't think he realized his way of presenting his threat was as odd and revealing as it was. And I don't think any of this was his idea or came from him. I think it came from Trish Reedstrom.
Trish Had a Plan
And all of this leads me to one conclusion — that my boss (the State of Minnesota) was working with the supervisor at Blue Earth County to fire me. I honestly believe Trish Reedstrom had planned this for at least a year and a half.
I'll never believe that losing both my job and Mary would have happened this close to each other had not the county and the state been working together to make them both happen. I believe Trish had a plan ready to go, knowing I would be fired any day with an agreement with Mary's mom on how to handle any questions I might have. Their answers were too important to be left to mere chance and too similar to be only a coincidence.
Things started moving quickly once my supervisor told Trish I would be fired: Mary suddenly had an apartment to move into, she was suddenly friends with her mom again, she suddenly didn't want me in her life anymore, and most importantly she wanted Trish Reedstrom back in her life. These things were all planned to happen at the same time. There were no accidents here.
Trish had a plan and she wasn't going to be stopped. And the fact that she had been planning this for over two years, even after Mary and I were long gone from Social Services, is a frightening thing to consider and makes me wonder just what she would have stopped at to accomplish this goal of hers. She put a massive effort into planning the abduction of my daughter and nothing was going to get in her way. And considering the intensity of her two-year obsession focused on destroying me and separating Mary and me, it's hard to believe she didn't know I was going to lose my job. I think she not only knew this was going to happen, I believe she had a hand in it happening.
There were no coincidences here, and Mary didn't make these decisions on her own. She was coerced. Children don't have loving relationships with a parent one day and then the next day tell them they don't want them in their lives any longer. I was the person Mary loved more than anyone else in the world. I was the most important person in her life — the only parent who showed up to care for her when she came home, the only person who fought against a large team of professionals for her when things were happening to her in the group homes, and the only person who had enough guts to confront Trish and her threats in order to get Mary home where she needed to be. Mary knew this — she knew how much I gave her and how much I gave up for her.
These people have done permanent damage to my family that can never be undone, but it can be stopped. And it's not just my family; there are other children, like Mary, who don't know whether the things that are happening to them are right or wrong — children who are confused and kept in their state of confusion for someone else's sick reasons. If this doesn't amount to a crime, then there is something terribly wrong with our laws.