A friend recently asked if I blog anymore. Truth is I’m nearly unable to keep up with real life, offline. I’m a part-time many things: Freelancer, volunteer, pet caretaker, chef, shopper, investor, wife, sister, and mother, BodyPumper, cyclist, reader, news hound… and Don Draper fan. Oh: And part-time patient. The older I get, the more things I acquire that require a physician’s attention.
Real life made me cry today. That’s something I rarely do. Catching up on email I came across one describing some critical Guardian ad Litem cases awaiting a volunteer guardian. These are high-risk cases where the judge ordered appointment of a guardian, but no guardian has yet volunteered. These particular cases have aged in place and are headed for dismissal, like lost pets at the pound too long, that haven’t been adopted, and can no longer stay in the system.
The descriptions are heartbreaking. Parents, almost always drug abusers, abusing and neglecting their children. Families with major physical and mental health issues. Infants to teens who need someone on their side. The state only removes children for the most egregious parental misbehavior. I tell myself that I have to find the time to take another case – can I do it? I’m overwhelmed on a regular basis.
Former colleagues and friends say I’m, “so great,” for volunteering as a guardian. I say, “You can do it too.” The thing is, once you know about these kids, even one of them, if you have 5-7 hours a week, how can you not help? That’s all it takes to look out for one kid at a time, to visit and talk to him or her every month, to make sure he or she is getting the health care that’s needed and is OK in foster or relative care, observe occasional parental visits if they occur, and periodically check in with your guardee’s teachers and on parental compliance with court-ordered classes or treatment. You also are the one who will speak up for your guardee’s interests when the case comes up in court, or support your kids who are old enough and have the courage to speak up for themselves in court.
Right now in Hillsborough County, Florida, there are more than 800 children who’ve been removed from their home, who need a Guardian ad Litem.
Yes, I like to blog. Right now I don’t have the time. Life races by and I want to, I need to pay attention to what’s more important.