Sunday, July 9, 2017

Guardianship Of The Adult Special Needs Child



After spending Years of frustration to be granted Legal Guardianship of The G-Kid Force and finally prevailing Fifteen Years later, I don't like to think about the topic much, if at all, but one simply must face the possibility it might be necessary... AGAIN!!!   I'm speaking of coarse about Guardianship of the Adult Special Needs Child you've raised to Adulthood.  You know, when they make that huge leap from Childhood to Legal Adulthood at the tender Age of 18... as if Magically now they become a brand new person!!!   And Poof... competency is no longer an 'Issue' and has to be redetermined no matter how Obvious to the contrary!!!   And Lord knows Who will make that determination or how competent THEY are at diagnosing and evaluating Competency and ability to live Independently with a measure of Success?!??!?!


via: Pinterest

For some who clearly will always need a full time Caregiver and Guardian it might seem a no brainer if the extent of Disability is profound, but that won't have any bearing, Trust me, it won't!!!   Been there, done that with the Prodigal Daughter and depending upon how loopy the Caseworker might be evaluating competency, everything is subject to change without notice and leave you aghast!  No matter how profound the Disability, when they turn 18 they are emancipated and deemed competent until... well... they're NOT... and that can be a Process as complex and debated as the Disability itself!


via: The Society, Inc.

I was my Adult, Seriously Mentally Ill, Daughter's Trustee and Guardian for a short while after Adulthood because she was high functional enough to recognize she needed assistance and requested it.  They deemed her competent enough to choose who she Trusted and would help her manage finances, housing, daily living, qualifying and applying for Benefits for the Disabled, etcetera and all was well until... well... it WASN'T!   As the Mental Health situation unraveled and deteriorated further, and she was in and out of Institutions like a Yo-Yo... some loopy Caseworker suddenly decided she no longer needed someone else to manage her affairs!  Uh oh... This will get "Interesting" in a hurry I predicted... and boy did it!!!  I can't roll my Eyes enough!




Suffice to say that it wasn't too long... in fact Immediate... before Miss Non Compos Mentis, coupled with the total incompetent Cluster F**K that is the SSI System at Social Security, had a serious "Situation" and a panicked Caseworker found my number in her File and called me in desperation to help them fix what they had created and had spun completely out of control and way Left in an Epic way!  Nope, I was 'involuntarily released and retired' from that Position I says... and The System has been dealing with the results of many such poor executive decisions ever since with said Prodigal Daughter and it has 'Cost' them ie: Society dearly... not to mention what it has cost HER and I don't mean in dollars and cents necessarily!




And Oh, the Cost to her Children as well... all FIVE of them... since numerous requests for sterilization, by her and the Family over the years, were never granted either until No. Five arrived!  Past abuses cited of mandatory sterilization... the reproductive decisions are left to Nature I guess... since leaving it up to an impaired person(s) is a crap shoot!   No, she cannot Care for any of them, that didn't matter either... and a few were born quite unhealthy due to her extremely deteriorated condition and how she lives.  Which is why I've been raising Nos. One and Two, born with significant 'Issues' ... and Paternal Family in Mexico are raising Nos. Three, Four and Five.   Could extended Guardianship and Guidance have prevented the Train Wreck that ensued, perhaps, we'll just never know now.




I Love all of her Children dearly, ALL of my Grandchildren are deemed Glorious Divine Blessings... they are ALL, every one, Gifts from God.   However, it is a serious dilemma when the Parent(s) are not deemed fit or Well enough to Raise them, isn't it?   Who will step in or be "Volunteered" to fill the Void... since any Child must be Raised, they can't Raise or Support themselves from birth now can they, somebody has to assume that weighty responsibility and often extreme hardship of significant medical expense, self-sacrifice and long-term Care? 


via: Pocket Full Of Heirlooms

  And what about those not born Healthy and Whole, what The System labels The Hard To Place Child, which will be likely to be much more than an 18 year Commitment lemme tell ya and a LOT of Extreme Parenting and Caregiving, and often profound Medical needs, mebbe for a Lifetime!!!  And that can happen whether you are the Birth Parent or a Alternative Placement and it HAS to be addressed.  Which is why I try not to think about the fact that the Prodigal Daughter's Son, The Young Prince, who will turn 18 next August, will cross a similar bridge into Adulthood and as a person diagnosed with Serious Mental Illness and it's Disabling factors and 'baggage'. 




 I know there won't be any Follow-Up from The System just because now he's Transitioned from a significantly Disabled Child receiving some hard fought for Services to an emancipated Adult that just immediately won't receive any as if Poof, he no longer Needs them!!!  Magic Wand waved over the situation, Fairie Dust sprinkled heavily... apparently turning 18 erases any and all Needs or Disabling factors, NO?!??!??!    Follow-Up was beyond dismal even when The System was allegedly handling their Case as Minors so I expect even less involvement for Disabled Adults.    Legally I won't be responsible for him anymore, Legally he'll be responsible for himself.  And be tasked with Navigating The System without any Advocacy Assigned to Transition him, since none will be provided. 




 Which is handy for The System, since even with a staunch Advocate, receiving Assistance and Qualifying for Benefits is next to Impossible!  Without Advocacy, the profoundly Disabled don't stand a Dog's chance in Hell of receiving anything they might qualify for, or even being capable of figuring out the complexity of The System and how to navigate it or find and apply for Services.  I mean, how can most of them, REALLY, lets just be Real, many have no Voice or Political Clout to Change anything wrong with how it just IS for them!!! The System doesn't Care how many of the Mentally Ill are left with little more than a Scavenged Shopping Cart and a Park Bench, living on the Streets and perpetually in the elements with no Services whatsoever, you see them everywhere in the Cities!  The Prodigal Daughter has lived that way for Years now in two different Countries!




 The Young Prince already assumes he's got Life all figured out, as most Teens do, and doesn't always recognize his vulnerabilities nor his specific impairments or skewed Tormented Thinking clouded by the Mental Illness.   He had to be removed off all his Psyche Meds this year due to serious physical health complications from side effects, so we're going thru this Cold Turkey as well... splendid and what a Wild Ride that is lemme tell ya!  I would like to Imagine he'll be High Functional ENOUGH not to Need Help and that Life will just play out like it does for any person not also dealing with a significant Medical or Mental Health Diagnosis.




   That things won't go way Left for him when he's having Mental Health Days and Meltdowns or is rendered non-functional for Weeks or Months at a time... and he'll maintain gainful Employment to Support himself without Help and not meet with discrimination and Social bias on his Life's Journey.   Yeah, I know... so we won't even go over that likelihood, it's too discouraging and paralyzing emotionally for me!  Previous Assessments claim he is not unwell ENOUGH, even with solid proof to the contrary.




  And don't even get me started on the Appeals Process... it's probably easier getting someone Appealed off Death Row and just as futile!!!  But I suppose his Outcome could be Good, I Pray that it will be since he may have to just go thru Life without a Legal Guardian or Volunteer Advocate after Gramma Dawn crosses over anyway, since I don't Plan on becoming an Immortal and he doesn't have a Brother's Keeper.  So we might as well throw him in the deep end now and let him tread water and learn to swim while we can still stand by as diligent Lifeguards.   Since that is likely how it will play out given his temperament and fierce desire for Independence.  He wants NO Dependency or Reliance upon The System... he HATES how conditional, invasive and flawed it is... how it has been such a Dog and Pony Show all his Life.




For those with Children who are not High Functional they will unfortunately have to go thru The Process of figuring out who will be the Guardian of their Adult Special Needs Child and perform the duties best?   If there is no possibility of Independent Living then it is crucial someone be Assigned... but I've heard horror stories of how convoluted that can be regardless of The Obvious.  And it can be crazy expensive and lengthy as well, unless you can manage waivers or reductions of Legal Fees and Filings, well... you could go broke.   Hell, with Full Time Caregiving you often could without all the extraneous hassles of the Legal System tossed in for good measure!




 I almost lost my Mind receiving Guardianship of these Precious two when they were mere Minors and bounced between Kinship Placement Status, Ward Of The State Status, and Adoption Status!  When we finally cut thru all the miles of Red Tape and complexities of our Case, I was emotionally spent, mentally drained and physically exhausted from all the Hoop Jumping and groveling it required!  *Whew!*   But they were totally Worth it!  He was already well into being Fifteen by then and we did joke that if it had taken just over two years longer, well, we could have cut right to the chase of him being Full Grown and not needing Assistance and Care anymore as a Minor or Legal Placement!




But when that Milestone occurs, for each of them, Transitioning from Child to Adult... if you think that the nervousness you might have experienced about your whole and healthy Child moving forward as an Adult is intense... try magnifying that when you have one with Special Needs Status!  Life can be tough enough and a harsh taskmaster for any of us and Life ain't Fair or bras wouldn't come in sizes.   For those with Disabilities it can be a stacked deck filled with even more obstacles and prejudices to overcome in order to Enjoy Quality of Life, Inclusion and even just Survival!   Abuses abound, Neglect abounds, Discrimination abounds, ambivalence within Society abounds.  The Valuation or Worth of the Individual is often perceived and relegated in terms of the almighty dollar or ability to be a 'contribution' to Society or a Cost to it.  As if the Right to Live is purely a Financial constraint 'Others' get to decide upon!




Not knowing Who those 'Others' might be and what their Agendas and Motives are... I will be available to my Adult Special Needs Children and Special Needs Grandchildren until the day I draw my last breath.  To Guide them, Protect and Advocate for them staunchly, whether or not I am Legally Assigned that Position.   It's not as if it's a Volunteer Position any of us relishes having to fill actually since it is fraught with hardships and obstacles you can't even begin to imagine nor accurately predict. 




  Just getting him, he who 'Tests' with a 148 alleged Genius IQ but Fails just about everything, thru High School is going to be a very long Process without his Aging Out of The Educational System!   I Hate receiving Mail from his Alternative School as much as I did his High School now.  They say he's Brilliant and Engaging, that he's doing 'better' and yet the Grades... well... read them and Weep!  I suppose the one 'A' IS 'better' and a lone 'D' marginally 'better'?  I abhor the dreaded IEP's which are the devil and we have no Advocates left to attend them with me now and be my backup Posse.  So I don't think too far ahead, I Live in the Moment since that's what I can Handle right NOW!   To me IQ Tests don't measure Intelligence or Life Function, it only tests the ability to score high on an IQ Test, that and a buck might buy you a Coffee, but not at Starbucks... will you have Fries with that?   So whether or not either of The Force will require Guardianship as an Adult is still a thought in Limbo and remains to be seen... but is it always on the far recesses of the Outer Limits of my Mind.



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Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

6 comments:

  1. Oh that dreaded borderland of not quite diagnosable. We inhabit the same place!
    Wishing you many hugs from those same gorgeously difficult but wonderful grandkids.
    You are a megastar. I'm so sorry to hear about your daughter. xo Jazzy Jack

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    1. You are always such an Encouragement my Friend and I know we travel along a relatively similar Journey with our Wonderful Kiddos!

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  2. Oh that is too much to dwell on! It has to be one day at a time for sanity I'm sure!

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    1. Indeed it is, tho' The Lord has put many in my Path unexpectedly that are a Help, Today for example I had to take a Shuttle while my Truck was in the Dealership having repairs and the Shuttle Driver is a retired Social Worker and has Fostered and Adopted NINE Special Needs kiddos with significant challenges. He told me of some resources I should be receiving and am not... so I'm looking into it! Divine appointments, it always blows me away!

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  3. You do us all a service by sharing this information in such a personal way. Thank you.

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    1. I'm always Hopeful that in the Sharing we can Help one another with valuable information, Hope and Supportiveness in many of Life's Issues!

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