Part of my blog inertia is due to the fact that in a little over two weeks, Wil will turn 18. I have been in a huge funk over this for quite some time, fear and dread dating back to 2012, at least. I don't want to apply for SSI, Medicaid, or brokerage services. I don't want to hire an attorney and basically sue Wil for guardianship, so that the day after he's 18, I will do the exact same thing as I've done the last 18 years, which is to say, pretty much everything.
"The reason guardianship is such a big deal," our attorney told us, to the tune of $400/hour, "is because people have abused it. The laws are set up to protect people. Second only to being incarcerated, guardianship strips an individual of his/her civil liberties."
I'm all for protecting the most vulnerable population. I'm all for civil liberties. I'm all for everything I'm supposed to be all for, but key-rist, arranging to have your "adult" child served papers, being vetted to prove you are not out for their "money," paying through the nose and filling out reams of paper, is just not my idea of a good time.
I could go on and on about the bureaucracy of the government, the endless red tape and tail-chasing, but you probably already know all you need to know about that. What I will tell you about, instead, is about the angels among us.
I called to schedule an 18-year well-check with Wil's doctor. I was greeted on the phone by such a competent and kind woman, whom arranged to speak to Wil to get his verbal OK, that I could speak in his behalf until the guardianship paperwork came through. She was sensitive. She was efficient. It was, dare I say, easy.
Fueled by the success of that phone call, I called Aging and Disabilities Services to have a couple questions answered. Got voicemail, left a message, did not expect to hear back. Lo and behold, Michelle called back, was gracious, full of helpful information, then later called me back again because she thought of something she forgot to tell me, that might be helpful. It was.
Feeling like I was on a roll, I pushed it further. I called Social Security to get an appointment. Yes, I was on hold for a full hour, and I heard the automated message no fewer than 60 times, but I had a cold beer and several days' worth of Facebook to catch up on, so all was not lost. Once a live person came on, she, too, was amazingly knowledgeable and helpful. Extremely.
The next day, feeling like we couldn't lose, I took Wil into the bank to do some necessary things prior to him turning 18. He was cooperative, and the teller was amazing. Turns out we needed to fill out quite a bit of paperwork. "Why don't you go across the street and get frozen yogurt. I'll fill it out for you." We did just that. We sat in the sun and enjoyed a lovely treat, and when we went back, the paperwork was complete.
There is no getting around the brutal maze of a disabled child becoming a disabled adult, but there is a way through, and that is with the help of many, many angels, both seen and unseen. And to all of you out there praying for us, thank you, those prayers are felt and much appreciated.