schizophrenic. Sarah was living in a group home when the guardianship began and she was running away frequently. This brought phone calls from the police in the wee hours of the morning. Eventually she was put into a mental institution. I figured she would be safe there, I figured wrong.
The institution didn’t allow smoking inside and
Sarah loved to smoke so I knew that would be an issue. A midnight phone call from the emergency room at the local hospital proved I was right. Sarah’s room in the institution was on the second floor. She jumped out of the window so she could have a smoke, breaking her back in two places when she hit the ground. I rushed to the ER and signed the paperwork
so they could provide medical attention. I was then allowed to speak to her. She explained that after she
hit the ground she crawled behind a bush and smoked a cigarette before yelling for help! She was laughing about it. I was thankful that she was okay.
The next few years brought other issues with Sarah, babies. They offered her birth control pills at the institution but she refused to take them. She claimed she loved babies and wanted to have as many as she could. The problem was that Sarah didn’t understand – didn’t care, that she wouldn’t be allowed to care for children. Her mother was already raising three of the
children she had when I first meant Sarah.
When Sarah was good during the week at the institution she would be issued weekend passes where she could stay wherever she wanted on the
weekends. She befriended some men at a group home and often slept there. She was an adult having conceptual sex so nothing could be done legally to stop it.
This was difficult for me to comprehend. If a person is not competent should they be allowed to make decisions regarding sex and birth control? I was legally responsible for her medical situation and I wanted her to be sterilized or be forced to take birth control. I fought with the doctors, nurses and social workers in an attempt to get it done. I was told that
every person in the United States, competent or not, retains the right to bear children. This was and still is completely crazy to me.
Sarah’s babies were put up for adoption. After the birth of her sixth child I got more involved with the adoption process and asked a lot of questions. I learned that the people adopting Sarah’s babies were not being told that the mother of the children they were adopting was schizophrenic and the father’s had various metal issues as well. This is important information as genetic studies prove that the children of schizophrenic parents are more likely to get it themselves but it typically wouldn’t show up until the teen years. This was ridiculous. When I challenged one of the adoption workers she said, “Legally we can’t disclose Sarah’s medical condition and no one would want to adopt these babies if we did.” I was livid.
My next battle involved a court hearing regarding
sterilization and the adoption process for the children of mentally ill patients. I was shot down quickly. I told the judge that if nothing was going to change, I no longer wanted to be a legal guardian because I couldn’t bear to be a part of what was going on. The judge told me that regardless of how I felt he would not release my responsibly until a replacement could be found. I wasn’t getting paid for doing this job, it was a volunteer position and now I was being forced to do it.
It took over a year (and another baby) for a
replacement to be found for Sarah. Emma was deemed legally competent by a court of law and was looking forward to getting her driver’s license and voting the last time I had contact with her.
Standing up for what you believe in is often more difficult than it sounds.
Have a great Sunday passengers!