My son turns 18 in a week. We have taken care of his every need for 17 years, and yet somehow, I’m just not quite prepared for this transition and the guardianship process.
My husband and I met with an attorney to learn the guardianship process. As I sat in that meeting, I began to feel my eyes glaze over. It was as if I was hearing a foreign language. I began to feel my heart sink. Because 17 years ago, I never thought I would be sitting in a meeting trying to plan on my son not being able to ever make decisions for himself.
We learned that the guardianship process has several strange rules. A Deputy must bring our son the actual paperwork for him to appear in court. Strangely, our son wasn’t fazed by this. And as usual tried to make friends with the Deputy. He asked him “Hey dude, what happened to your hand?” when he noticed a band aid.
As for me, seeing the actual paperwork and the word “Incapacitated” about broke my heart into a million pieces. It started a one-hour crying jag.
Our next visitor was the attorney that was appointed as our son’s advocate. I don’t think he had much experience with young adults with disabilities. He asked our son if he trusted his parents to continue taking care of him for the rest of his life. After about 3-4 questions with no answers, the man finally got the clue that he wasn’t going to respond. We were asked questions about what our son could do for himself. We answered no to all of them, and that sinking heartache hit again.
Thankfully, my oldest son helped me realize this week that all the hard work we have done for 17 years would go right down the drain if we didn’t do this.
So, Jackson, you are ours, sweet boy, from now until eternity!
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs to share their tips and stories about caring for their children during difficult times.