Guardian + a Grandmother
Before the beginning of 2008 I had never given much thought to a Guardian Ad Litem. Surely, I had heard the words but I had no inkling of the job they do or the importance of their existence. All of that changed in January of 2008.
'In one instant, with one phone call, everything in my life changed. I had received a call from my youngest daughter that DCF investigators were at her house and that she needed me to come get my 20 month old granddaughter. Not wanting the baby to go to foster care, I left immediately to get her. '
This call did not come as a complete surprise. My daughter and her husband had been struggling with a pain medication addiction for some time and I was actually relieved to hear this latest development, naively thinking that this would lead to help for both of them in getting out from under this monster that had them in its grip. Little did I know of all the twists and turns that would occur in the next 3 years.
It was a long, complicated, frustrating and convoluted process. I was not allowed to say much in reference to what I had seen ... "hearsay" , you know. The case workers changed more often than the diapers I was changing here at home. Each time this happened the investigation would have to start all over.
I felt my hands were tied and any witnesses I tried to produce were not considered as evidence .. until Hannah was assigned a "guardian". She became our "port in the storm". She was very thorough in her investigation and the monitoring of myself, the child and the child's parents .. and her evidence mattered to the judge!
The child was eventually returned to the parents to give them a chance to prove themselves. Unfortunately for them, they were unable to do that. Fortunately for the child, the guardian was on top of the situation and once again stepped in on the child's behalf. She was very fair and did not make her recommendation based on "hearsay" but was very thorough about monitoring the parents' habits and activities. Based on her observations and thoroughness, the child was once again removed from the situation and allowed to live in a loving, caring, safe home. She has been with me for 8 years now and is a healthy, happy and well-adjusted child.
We thank God for her undying dedication and persistence during our years of frustration, and for how many other lives she has touched. I feel so blessed to have her in our lives and both my granddaughter and I continue to count her has one of our dearest friends. We still keep in touch with her and look forward to seeing her when we can.
Hannah is the epitome of the definition of "guardian" ... defender, protector. May God bless all the Guardian Ad Litem volunteers. They are the real heroes. Thank you for all the time and energy that you spend in the lives of all the children who would otherwise have no defense.