Thursday, March 5, 2009
Someone To Watch Over Me
My daughter, Jessica, turned 18 years old this past December. Lots of people have been telling me that I need to go to court and have myself appointed her guardian. The school folks have told me that if Jessica decides she doesn't want to go to school anymore, she can make that decision for herself - unless of course I am appointed her guardian. The folks at our community service board tell me that Jessica would be able to make her own decisions regarding where she lives and what medical procedures she may want or not want - unless of course I am appointed her guardian. Friends and family tell me that I need to be appointed guardian for Jessica's sake. So, why do I feel so uncomfortable with the idea?
Jessica is significantly intellectually disabled. Her IQ is 52. She has aggressive outbursts and has injured both herself and others. She is living in a group home, and probably will be for the rest of her life. I'm hopeful she will be able to have a job, but our efforts to support that have so far not been successful.
So, it does seem like Jessica needs a guardian - someone to help her with decision making and to ensure she is not exploited or taken advantage of. Several weeks ago, I contacted the attorney that has helped me with both a due process case and a lawsuit againt Medicaid. I wasn't asking for his assistance with the guardianship because he works for our state's protection and advocacy organization and these kinds of cases are not ones they handle. Rather, I just wondered if he could recommend an attorney.
In his usual passionate,helpful manner however, he did ask one of the other attorneys in his office to contact me. I now have a meeting scheduled for the attorney, Jessica and me to discuss options. The most exciting thing about all this - the attorney told me that there are options other than guardianship. I have no idea what they are, but just the knowledge that there might be other options made me feel a little more comfortable.
Have any of you had to address issues like this? What did you ultimately do, and what were your feelings while going through the process? I'm having a tough time, and am not doing a good job explaining why. Maybe your comments will help me...