July 13, 2011
You've been served!
We had to go to the attorney's office and an independent party gave Alex the court documents. The exchange was notarized by another party. Thankfully, in our state this can be done without involvement of the police or sheriff. That would have freaked out all of us.
We applied for legal guardianship of Alex, which can be done any time after turning 18, earlier than most families I know. It was purely a personal decision; Alex will live with us for at least three more years, so it was not necessary to go through the expense and paperwork yet. But now it is almost done, and I will not have to worry about it again.
It read as follows:
The outcome of this proceeding may limit or take away your right to make decisions about your personal affairs or your financial affairs or both. You must appear in person unless excused by the Court. The petitioner is required to make reasonable efforts to help you attend the hearing.
You have the right to be represented by an attorney of your choice at your expense. If you cannot afford an attorney, one might be appointed for you at State expense. You may request a professional evaluation of your condition. You have the right to present evidence and subpoena witnesses and documents; examine witnesses, including any court appointed physician, psychologist, or other qualified individual providing evaluation, and the court visitor, and to otherwise participate in the hearing. You may ask that the hearing be held in a manner that reasonably accommodates you. You have the right to request that the hearing be closed, but the hearing may not be closed over your objective.
I have such mixed feeling about this whole process. First I cannot believe I have to ask a court to allow me to take away my daughter’s legal rights. Alex is my daughter and her safety my number one priority. Why can’t we continue to care, nurture and protect her until she is ready to take over? But I get it, there need to be laws to protect people with disabilities and this is one of the ways to do it.
I have much sadness in my heart that this cute bubbly 18 year old who lives with me is not ready to venture out into the real world, like her sister did almost a year ago. Once again I grieve the future I have envisioned when I was pregnant with Alex, but I also know Alex’s future will be bright. I am sorry that Alex really does not understand her rights as an adult, and despite our numerous conversations about this petition, it does not mean anything to her. It is such a bittersweet moment in my life.
Alex’s life will not change one single bit. It is mine that has shifted as the real world creeps in to our family I have become anxious and concerned. I do not know why, we will plow ahead as always, but I have a sense of unease. I almost feel like I have taken away a fundamental right of Alex’s, but the alternative is scarier.