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  • Sarah Swindell

Our Day in Court


Don't let the smiling faces fool you. Our faces are jokingly saying, "I can't believe we really just had to do that." But in reality, it's not a joke at all to us.


Today we had to go to court, in a real courthouse, and stand in front of a real judge, with two real attorneys; one for us and another one we had to get to represent Dawson. We were there to get guardianship of our own son and is all just part of the process when your child is disabled and turns 18.


And you know what? I get it. I get that it is all part of the process and is there for a good reason. As with a lot of things in the world, all it takes is for one messed up person to take advantage of someone with a disability or an elderly person, to really make things more difficult for the good people trying to do what is right.


As Greg and I sat in the courtroom next to our attorney, I kept looking at Dawson's attorney sitting in front of us. I knew her since she had come to our home a month earlier to "talk" to Dawson and probably to check out his home situation which I totally respect. But I could not stop my mind from thinking how crazy this whole situation was.

I thought about the months of preparation, paperwork and thousands of dollars we had to spend on the attorneys to do everything right as good people should. Was all this totally necessary to get "permission" to care for the son that we were the parents of, and loved more than anyone else in the world?


I thought about all the taxpayers' money going to all the employees in the courtroom for our silly little case. Money that would have been much better spent on something way more fancy than ours.


Most of all, it actually hurt and felt incredibly uncomfortable standing in front of strangers, having to prove to the court that we are fit parents and deserve to be his guardians.


Nobody was fighting us to be his guardian or protesting that we are unfit. We had all the medical documentation from his pediatrician that has cared for Dawson since he was five, stating he is completely "incapacitated." Which seemed like a harsh word but was the box the doctor checked, along with a statement that the best place for him was with his parents. Even our children along with his teacher were called to confirm we are capable of caring for Dawson.


Thousands of dollars gone that could have been spent on Dawson's care. Time the attorneys and court employees could have spent on cases like family violence or things like parents who bought their child's acceptance into college.


The whole event took less than 5 minutes in front of the judge. But it took so much away from all that should feel right in the world and turned it into something that it never needed to be in the first place.


















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