I work very part-time for my brother-in-law. I help with the filing at his law firm. I go in whenever my schedule permits and I enjoy the people I work with. They always make me feel like I am doing them a huge favor by coming in and filing!
Today I was at work filing just like I usually do. I happened upon a document called a "Final Decree". I read part of it as I was trying to figure out how to file it. As I read, I realized this document had more meaning for me than I had known.
Alan and I were told that before Davin turns 18, we must become Davin's legal guardians. I had no idea this was something we had to do. Wouldn't we just continue caring for Davin like always because he is our son? Apparently, when someone is 18, they are an adult. If they are not able to make decisions about their care, etc, they need a guardian. We have been discussing this with my brother-in-law and as an attorney, he is going to help us do this in the next couple of weeks. I guess I had not thought too much about the legal aspect of this. I just thought it would be a judge seeing that we love our son and want to take care of him for the rest of our lives.
Well, as I read the document, the words that they used to describe this person.....it brought tears to my eyes. The document talks about how this person can not make decisions for themselves and it all sounded so hopeless. So, I am guessing that Davin's document will not say, "Davin is an 17 year-old young man who is loved and adored and needs his family's input to make decisions." I wish it was going to say that, but the words I read today, cut through me like a knife. The court was going to talk about my son that same way.
To tell the truth, this has been happening for Davin's whole life. I have received tons of papers that described what Davin can't do. Reading any of those papers would discourage me so much, especially in the beginning. However, as I got used to "the drill", I started getting the papers in the mail and tucking them away where I had them if I needed them, but I didn't have to give them the power to define who my boy was or was not. Davin is not just words on a paper. He is my son, a brother to three siblings who adore him, a grandson who lights up when he sees his grandparents, especially his grandfathers:) Davin gives so much and does not have speech. How much smarter is he than me to be able to communicate with so little??
I think the day we go through the court proceedings will be rough. We have been through rough days before. We have heard devastating news before. To quote my husband from the day that our son was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, "Heather, is he any different than he was yesterday?" I will remember those words on that day, too.