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Entries in guardian ad litem (1)


I'm Dancing As Fast As I Can

I've been negligent here in my little sliver of space in the Cyber World.  I've had other priorities; namely, my everyday life and the people who touch that life in ways both large and small.  I've been really focused on both family and the children I represent as a Guardian ad Litem.  I am an Introvert.  I know that I present outwardly as what many consider an Extrovert, but the nature of my training as an  administrator gave me the skills to glad hand with diverse populations of patrons and be a salesman for the school district and really, what is any good teacher but an actor upon the classroom stage, performing six one man performances every day?  An Introvert is re-energized from within and spends their emotional resources in a narrowly focused manner.  The Extrovert is the one who is energized by lots of "people contact" rather than depleted by it.  You can take this quiz to find  out which you are.  You may be surprised at your result or it may just be that I am an outlier.  Try the quiz and see.

A disproportionate amount of my time and emotional energy has, in the last month, been spent in my work as a Guardian ad Litem.  Every GaL is different and comes from a different background.  I'm not a gitchygoo and fawn over the baby kind of person.  I don't want to be a court appointed Grandmother. I don't want to take kids out to a ball game or to Burger King. I have plenty of grandkids of my own.  My outside area for my doctoral work was school law.  I'm a trained and pretty skilled  quintessential bureaucrat.  I understand law and I understand governmental systems.  I don't consider the parents who have had their children removed by court order the enemy.  The majority of the parents are messed up people incapable of caring for a kitten much less a child.  All of mine have addictions, some with mental health issues who self-medicate.  Would I invite any of these people over for dinner?  No.  Do I think their kids should be handed back to them?  No.  Do I try to help them and come to them from a place of support rather than condemnation?  Absolutely.  I'm about the law.  I'm about the process.  I'm about everyone's rights.  I'm about kids being safe.  I'm about kids being loved by the people who should love them.  I'm about being careful, crossing the t s and dotting the i s.

By statute the primary goal for children under court protection is MANDATED and ALWAYS reunification. with parent/s.  The mandated timeline is one year from sheltering date. Parents are often incarcerated during part of the year.  All parents are assigned a case worker and are given a case plan that has tasks such as drug and alcohol counseling, frequent drug testing, anger management classes, domestic violence classes, parenting classes, psychiatric treatment and so on.  They have to get a job.  They have to secure housing.  They have to register with the child support enforcement people.  They begin, usually, with eight hours a month (2 hrs per week) SUPERVISED visitation with their children. 

 Do I feel sorry for the parents?  No.  They threw the first snowball.  Do I knock myself out trying to help them?  Yes.  Children belong with their parents if at all possible.  You can believe me or not, but these parents love their children.  Not our definition of what loving children looks like.  They're too messed up for that.  They're too drug addicted.  Or they're too intellectually deficient IQ-wise.  Or they are too mentally ill.  They don't know how to love like we love.  Much of what I see is generational.  It's pretty difficult to parent if you've never been parented.  If you have no model for what a healthy parent child relationship looks like how can you create one?  But here's the thing, I believe in regrets, redemption and resolution.  I'm going to knock myself out keeping track of these parents, talking to them on the phone, offering them rides if they can't get to visitation appointments, just listening to them.  I have to believe they can complete their case plan, they can get clean, they can get that GED, get that job, get rid of that man who pulls them down, be clear eyed and clear minded.  If I don't believe in redemption for these mothers (or any of us) how can I believe that the world will keep spinning, that Daffodils will poke up through the snow every Spring?  If I don't believe in any of that, how can I believe in myself? 

The work I do is soul sucking.  It exhausts me.  That's why this little blog of mine gets neglected.  I'm exhausted just from writing this.  But, I miss writing.  Because, hey I'm an Introvert, remember?  And, I live in my own head, so I miss doing a brain dump here. There's a lot  more I have to say, to spew.  I need to empty it out. 

PS:  I redecorated here at 3AM this morning.  I've gone contemporary minimalist (I think).  Did anyone notice?