By Deborah S. Ball, Esq.
This is the story of my ward, Roslyn. She grew up at a time when children with disabilities were not afforded the type of services they have today. For Roslyn, she was extremely sheltered, by parents she loved very much. But, for all of the love her parents gave her (including her father teaching her to dance), Roslyn never acquired life skills. She was dependent on her parents for everything.
And so, as Roslyn became an adult, she lived with her parents. Then, each died and Roslyn (though she has a brother), was essentially on her own for the first time. She could not take care of herself and ended up being hospitalized. This was approximately ten years ago. I received a telephone call from the judge handling the guardianship matter. The hospital needed to discharge Roslyn, but no one had authority to consent to a placement. The judge asked me if I would become Roslyn's guardian. The commission would be $750.00 per year, to offset my office expenditures. No one would accept the case.
I became Roslyn's guardian and have not regretted doing so. Although I have not received any compensation (for reasons beyond the scope of this essay), Roslyn has become a part of my life. Roslyn is higher functioning than those around her and we have developed a very special relationship. Although she is on government assistance, I advocate for her to receive the best medical attention she deserves. She lives in a group home and attends a day program, which unfortunately, may not be suitable due to her functional level. I've been told there are no alternative programs available for Roslyn.
As for our relationship, Roslyn never forgets to ask how my husband, son and dog are doing. I show her pictures of my family and she has spoken with my son by phone. I have learned a lot from Roslyn, as she has much to offer. I am grateful to have accepted this guardianship because I know I have made a difference in Roslyn's life, as she has in mine.