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Proving You’re a Good Parent

Posted by: pprpipe on: July 9, 2010

Proving You’re a Good Parent

How to measure good parenting? What if a stranger had the power to declare that ours was not good enough?

That’s the reality that faced Liane Kupferberg Carter recently, when she found herself explaining to a representative of the court that Cheap replica designer handbags for sale! Thousands of quality china wholesale available!she was the best possible guardian for her son. Readers of Motherlode know Liane well, as a devoted mom of an autistic teenager (and as one heck of a writer.) But once Mickey turns 18, the simple fact of having raised him is not enough to retain Best replica shop online is proud to present more than 5000 replica handbags products.legal influence over his life. Which is why a stranger arrived one day with questions.

I will tell you the end of the story first — All the boys dream that they should have different styles of Louis vuitton bags which can show their refined taste.the Carters were granted guardianship in time for Mickey’s 18th birthday next week. But even knowing all along that this would probably be the outcome didn’t keep Liane and her husband from wondering how to prove their love. Particularly when you yourself wonder if you have, after all, been the best parent you can be.

By Liane Kupferberg Carter

The woman on the phone said her name was Aretha Franklin.

“Really,” she added.

She was calling, she said, because the Surrogate’s Court had just appointed her agency as guardian ad litem, temporary guardian for our 17-year-old son Mickey. We had just filed papers two days earlier, asking the court to allow us to assume guardianship of all legal, medical and financial decisions on Mickey’s behalf. This is something that must be done before his 18th birthday, the age of majority, when in the eyes of the law he becomes an adult.

While other parents have been shepherding their children through SATs and college essays, our time has been filled with lawyers and estate planners, as we struggled through setting up several supplemental special needs trusts on behalf of our developmentally disabled son. The guardianship piece is the last step in this painstaking process; we have had to examine and project every possible scenario of our deaths and what this would mean for our son. It has brought up feelings I didn’t fully anticipate. Not just the obvious ones, the fear of one’s own mortality. As the parent of an autistic child you think you’ve done your grieving. Then it smacks you in the face again.

Last week we had to take Mickey to the lawyer’s office so that Diana, the paralegal, could officially serve him with papers notifying him that we were petitioning the court on his behalf. Mickey, knowing that something was up, refused to stand. He refused to shake her hand or make eye contact. Standard M.O. for him in a new situation when he is anxious. Standard embarrassment for us.

“As part of the procedure, the court has appointed Mental Hygiene Legal Services for Mickey,” she said. “Basically, their role is to complete some interviews with both of you as proposed guardians for him and with anyone else they feel would be a useful source of information. The court will rely on their report to determine if this guardianship is a safe and appropriate one for Michael.”

Appropriate? We are his parents.

I know that having the state appoint a temporary legal guardian while they process our appeal is pro forma. They do it for every case. It’s meant to protect my child’s best interests. It’s meant to protect all the children in the system. So why am I feeling as if someone has called Child Protective Services on us and now a social worker is coming to make a home visit and poke into the personal business of how we have raised our child? What if we don’t pass the test? Does that mean the state gets to decide what school he attends? Which medications best treat his seizures? Where, how and with whom he lives?

For the past 17 years, we have had therapists, teachers and administrators in our home — in our lives, evaluating him, and by extension, it often feels, us. Most of them have been lovely. (A few, not. One, it turned out, abusive. That is another story.) But there is such a lack of privacy. With 10 hours a week of ongoing after-school therapy in our home, we haven’t been able to sit down and eat a normal family dinner in years. It’s bad enough we get stared at in public; you learn to expect it. But no one wants to be observed during intimate family moments. I’m tired Find complete details about cheap jersey Velour Terry Tracksuits from gotowholesale.of the well-meaning questions that often feel like veiled criticisms: Why do you let him wear sweat pants to school when the other kids are wearing jeans? Why does he use such tepid water when he showers? Why can’t you make him eat vegetables? Last year, his teacher sat in our kitchen sipping green tea one afternoon and suggested we put kale in the blender to make a vegetable smoothie.

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