Thursday, April 6, 2017

Hope Goes To Court!!!

Yeah! I am now going to hang with my MOM and DAD forever!!!
Our grand dog wanted to come home with me.  Poor Ruby wanted to be with Papa!  I explained to the dog, within the earshot of Harper Rose, " You can't stay the night because Papa and I are going to court tomorrow.  We are filing for Guardianship of Hope.  And in the afternoon, Hope has a doctor appointment and a blood test!" Ruby, the smart miniature poodle, understood and retreated to the house.  Harper, on the other hand, listened intently and filed it in her inquisitive brain. And probably dreamt about it!

Harper's teacher was concerned about Hope's health. Harper told her teacher that she was worried about Hope.  She told her, " Mumma and Papa had to go to court because there is something wrong with Hope's head and they need to get a guardian!"

Harper knows that Hope has Down syndrome and knows that she needs us to take care of her.  Bless Harper's heart in putting this all together!  Bissy straightened it all out at preschool.

Guardianship is a real thing.  We feel it is an important step in keeping Hope safe for the rest of her life.  I have an author friend that wrote about her daughter who has Autism.  There were some very scary things that happened and my friend could do nothing about it because she did not have guardianship at the time.  The book is called Not Different Enough by Gloria Doty. She has other great books too.
Check out my friends website.

What is Legal Guardianship?  Well, Hope turned 18, became an adult and had the right to do ANYTHING without our permission, knowledge, blessing, or control.  Pretty scary for a kid who once drove a car in the forest! With Tom and I as her legal guardian, we now are able to speak to the doctors about her ailments, control how she spends her money and demand to know where she is after 5pm every evening!  Without legal guardianship,we are shit out of luck and she could be in a shit load of trouble. Can you imagine the financial fiasco of letting her shop at Dollar Tree and Goodwill alone!  Can you imagine the amount a crap that would enter her apartment that she could legally rent if she had money!

How do you obtain Legal Guardianship?  Get a lawyer and let him do it!  It took exactly 3 months.
It involves medical documentation that Hope, in deed, needed legal guardians.  This cost $15 and took 1 and 1/2 months for the doctor to request records from their legal department and then back to the doctor to sign, then back to the lawyer and then back to us! ONE AND A HALF MONTHS!!!! Excuse me, look at her...she has Down syndrome!!!!!!The doctors office is 3/4 miles from my home!  I could have ridden a bike and delivered everything in a week. But, I was not in charge!!!! The medical records were impressive.  It said, Hope's diagnosis is Down syndrome with borderline intellectual function, maladaptive behavior and gastroesophageal reflux disease. And it said that she belonged either with her family or a group home with close supervision.  BINGO...that was the golden ticket for Legal Guardianship.

Since she was already 18, the process also required Hope to receive a certified letter stating that we are seeking guardianship and in this letter the court date was set as April 6, 2017.  The date was set but we had one more hurdle to jump.  She had a state appointed guardian that had to visit our home and write a report. This was called Guardian Ad Litem Report-Adult. That was the last part of the three month wait. 

You can imagine how I felt about someone coming to my home to deem us worthy of being her guardian, after we had already raised her for 18 years.  It wasn't stressful. It wasn't invasive.  It was just a plain weird feeling.  It was like, ok, we did this for 18 years what if we don't pass the test.  It wasn't a test, thank goodness!  It was a 45 minute visit and she wrote a glowing report that cost $225.

What is like going to court for Legal Guardianship? We aren't real court savvy.  I reported to jury duty once and figured that all court rooms were located in the same area.  NOT!  We were waiting in the wrong building with some pretty scary folks.  According to the creepy man yelling at the lady next to him, she was staring at people and she better stop.  Add your own profanity.   I finally asked a passing attorney where the Guardianship courts were, and we got the hell out of Dodge!

So there you have it.  We don't have the final bill, but I believe the entire process is $1000 and some change.  It is the price that you pay for peace of mind when it comes to our loved ones with special needs.  Please encourage anyone who has a child turning into adult real soon to seek the help of an attorney in filing for legal guardianship.  I will sleep better tonight knowing that Hope won't be at the Dollar Tree spending all her money, driving her souped up car and taking it back to her fancy apartment!

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