Thursday, March 29, 2012

career hopefulness

I am filled with hope about my career prospects today in the Minneapolis area. I am involved in a two and a half day meeting to discuss the Journey to Space exhibition that is in development at the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul. We have advisers coming from all over the country to give us feedback on our current plans. It will be an exciting couple of days for me.

In addition to the museum meeting, I have continually been finding more space related endeavors for me to pursue. There are possible traveling NASA exhibitions coming to Minnesota. There is the possibility of becoming a local ambassador for NASA. There is more to explore about bringing some of NASA to Minnesota, possibly with a Challenger Center someday (dreaming big). I am enjoying learning more about local museum options for hosting space related activities. I also am excited about the possibility of getting involved at the University of Minnesota in astronomy or physics research and classes. Maybe someday I will pursue another masters degree in astronomy. And there is also the option of engineering contract work for NASA through a unique satellite software I have worked on in the past and a renewed connection with a former University of Maryland aerospace engineering classmate now living in the Twin Cities.

I am thanking God for allowing me to use my talents and for giving me hope to use my talents in Minnesota in the future.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

little girl takes the blame

Today our little foster girl got to see her birth mom at a one and a half hour visit. She was very much looking forward to it especially after mom didn't show up last week. After the visit, little girl was very talkative. She seemed to be reminiscing about her life. She kept telling me that she was nice and she went to jail. "Me nice. Me not bad. Me go to jail." After more questions and having her explain it about five times, she was talking about the night she got taken from her mom. In little girl's mind, she went to jail because she was on the street. She is now terrified of going in the street. She doesn't want to go to jail again.

I attempted to explain to her that she went to a shelter, not jail after she was found on the street. She firmly disagreed repeatedly. She is convinced she went to jail and that is the reason she is not with her mom. Whenever we try to explain that her mom didn't take good care of her or that her mom is on drugs or sick, she denies all of it with anger and yelling. In her head, she has a good mom. It was all she knew until she was taken away. I don't think she is old enough to grasp the different kind of family or house that she is in now as compared to what she used to have. She doesn't trust me or Bryan and doesn't believe a lot of what we say. We will continue to remind her that she is not the reason she was taken from her mom. Her mom is the reason they are not together. Her mom has made bad choices and so this little girl needs a better home.

Kids seem to always blame themselves for anything bad that happens around them even when they are not responsible for the bad action. We see that so clearly with our little foster girl. It makes me wonder what actions of mine that the boys will blame themselves. It is also interesting for me to think about the kids' bad actions and their choices to escape blame or consequences. Are these two opposite scenarios tied together? When parents make mistakes, the kids feel bad and feel like they are the ones who made a mistake. When kids make mistakes, the kids pretend to not feel bad and portray that they didn't make a mistake. In reality, the kids probably feel bad when their parents make mistakes and when they, themselves, make mistakes. Poor kids are taking on way too much on their shoulders. Kids need to be reminded that parents make mistakes and the kids are not blame.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

unexpected birth mom story

Yesterday, Bryan and I went to Hennepin County court. We were hoping and praying that little girl's birth mom would not show up to her next court appointment. The hearing was just to get an update on what mom has done to get her daughter back. And for the judge to find out if mom has followed any of the court ordered plan. Mom did show up and what happened is not what we expected. The court date got rescheduled due to an unexpected plan.

We talked with the birth mom for a little while. She reinforced that she wants her daughter back but only after I asked and she answered with only a head nod. Not very convincing. She is trying to get better. She has stopped using cocaine and the drug screens are showing it but she is still using marijuana and living with her boyfriend and who sells and uses cocaine. Mom is trying to get a bed in an inpatient drug treatment program and things are in process to do this for her. She has been showing up to visits with her daughter but she is not concerned about her daughter's well being at all and never has any questions about her daughter. This is very strange considering she has taken care of her daughter for 4 years and is seemingly happy that she doesn't have to do it any more. Mom has no concerns about what is happening to her daughter. Mom needs parenting help (classes) and help with being physically abused. She has been told repeatedly that she will not get her daughter back unless she moves out from her boyfriend, goes through drug treatment and completes some classes along with checking in daily for potential drug screens and showing up to visits with her daughter. Mom just started getting into action 5 months after her daughter was removed. Her actions may be too late but most likely she will not complete drug treatment and will not move out from her boyfriend. Mom knew from the beginning that she has 6 months to prove that she can be a better parent by carrying out the court ordered plan. That 6 months is up at the end of March. If mom is not in drug treatment at our next hearing in 4 weeks, then the parental rights will be removed next.

So that is the update on the mom that we got while waiting for court. While we were talking with little girl's social worker, the mom was meeting with her public defender/lawyer in a room across the hallway. We were informed that there is a warrant out for mom's arrest but the officials were not sure if it was accurate because it only showed up in 1 of 2 databases. While we were talking about this, our social worker said, look through the is getting arrested. So the warrant was indeed correct and the mom was under arrest for not appearing in criminal court when she was scheduled for charges of child endangerment. We watched through the glass as mom was handcuffed and taken away, tears streaming down her cheeks. She appeared to be trying to get her daughter back and get herself some help but all that changed in an instant. She spent last night in jail and may still be there for a day or two more. The county is probably planning to hold her until they can get a bed ready for her at the inpatient drug treatment program.

We have visits scheduled for Friday and next Tuesday for little girl and mom to get some supervised time together but they may not be happening now. Somehow in some weird way I may have gotten my prayer answered. I was praying for mom to not show up because she would have fewer rights to see her daughter again. I knew this would help lead to little girl getting a permanent healthy family sooner. I was also hoping that she wouldn't show up to our next visit so that our lives are not made more difficult. Little girl always regresses after seeing her mom so that makes our family life even harder. So now mom may be in jail or in treatment for our next visit so most likely it will not be happening. Once that is confirmed on Friday, it will feel much better but until then, I am still praying for no more visits with mom until she is better, if that ever happens.

I prayed hard for mom to get better when we first got little girl. I knew I was praying against the odds but figured it would still be better for both of them in the end. All of the people involved in the case have been assuming this mom would not be able to get better. We are in agreement with them and focusing on getting a better life for this little girl. So mom's recovery is secondary to saving this little girl's life now.