Wednesday, March 23, 2011

18 and Life

Last night my husband and I went to another class in the Transition Series to learn about Trusts and Guardianships.  Haley's Big Sis was at Drivers Ed so Haley came with us. 

She was very good, she sat there quietly.  She was interested in the presentation and the materials they handed out.  She brought a purse full of animals.  She even got cookies.

We learned a lot last night.

When Haley turns 18 things will change.  18 is a big age for anyone, but for Haley it will mean that we will have to become her Guardians because apparently it won't be enough that we are her parents.  There is a lot of legal stuff that goes on, it seems kind of strange at this point.  I understand the benefits and I understand the need to protect her.  Of course we will still care for her, but in the eyes of the world when she reaches that age she will become an adult. 

The wording is interesting:
"Adults are presumed competent to make decisions after age 18.  After age 18, parents no longer have legal authority to make decisions for a child unless there is a guardianship."
The Guardianship will protect the child concerning:
  1. medical treatment and care
  2. financial exploitation
  3. if the child becomes involved in the legal system

It is hard for me to imagine a time when we will not completely responsible for our daughter.  Especially the way she is.  She relies on us completely.  She would not survive without us.

A guardian is a person appointed by the Court to manage the affairs of a person who is incapacitated.
An incapacitated person is one who is at significant risk of harm because of a demonstrated inability to manage property or financial affairs or because of a demonstrated inability to adequately provide for nutrition, health, housing or physical safety.

That sounds like our daughter.

She will be 18 in a little over four years.  It seems like a lifetime away. 

I know that everything we are learning about is intended to protect her.  I know it is all in her best interest.

The Trust is a great thing.  The people that manage the Trust are doing a wonderful job.  They are there to protect their clients.

It is all good.

As we pulled out of the parking lot my husband and I were talking about what all of this means to us.  It is very strange.  He says we have plenty of time to make these decisions.

I feel like we don't

It feels immediate to me.  I don't know why.

Knowledge is power, but at the same time the more I learn the more concerned I become.

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