I’m so excited to share something with you today, something that I chose to invest my heart into, even though its easier to look the other way.
I am sort of confrontational by nature. I don’t really mean to be, I am just passionate about the the things the fuel me. I am not one to keep quiet, be still, or stand by. I am sometimes perceived to be a pessimist because my eyes are opened wide to the problems or the world, but that is simply not true. It’s just…we cannot change or influence that which we pretend not to see. What many perceive as arguing, I consider dialogue about important issues. Just because two people don’t agree, doesn’t always mean it’s arguing, or maybe it does… but not all arguments are negative. Anyone who knows me knows that confrontational topics draw me in like a fly to those little blue zapper lights.
…Back on track now…
My overactive and hyper analytical brain doesn’t only recognize societal strife, it compels me to actively contribute to a solution.
I guess I should start by briefly explaining what a Guardian as Litem is…
A Guardian ad Litem is a court appointed child advocate. We represent the abused, neglected, and foster children in our respective counties. There are many reasons that a parent(s) might lose custody of their child, and I promise that it happens a lot more than you think, right in your area. When this happens mom or dad (or both) get an attorney, DCF has attorneys…but the children don’t. Guardians are there to speak on behalf of the needs of the child, because they might not always be the same as the best needs for mom. We also make sure that our children’s needs are met while they are being watched over by the state. Because let’s be real…”the state” needs all the help it can get.
I get lots of valuable information and experience as a potential law student. I file reports, write reports to the judge for judicial reviews, and get to interact with the GAL lawyer, the defense attorneys, and the judge. I’ve actually learned a lot in a little bit of time.
It’s not always easy, some children come from some really bad places. As a mom, and as a person, it can be hard to see. But there is something so rewarding about playing a part in making their lives better. I get to help make sure that their needs are met, because navigating the world of foster care is hard sometimes, even for foster families with the best intentions. And by doing so, we get to become their friend, a type of safe zone that doesn’t exist another way. I owe no allegiance to DCF, I don’t have to report to them. I don’t concern myself with the criminal proceedings of the parents too much either, the children tell me how they feel; if they feel safe going back home, if mom’s boyfriend is nice to them or not, even if they need new shoes. Some guardians get to bring their children beds for the first time. Can you imagine?
Then, I enjoy contributing to change. I feel like so many people are so quick to point out what is wrong with everything, and yet they do nothing about any of it. Guardian ad Litem has given me the opportunity to bring about positive change. I get to see the small results before my very eyes, and I know that it contributes to something bigger too. Obviously, I have a special place in my heart for children, most moms do. But it just eats me up inside knowing that not every child feels safe, happy, or loved. I act as a Guardian locally, so these are children that we might see everyday, and you would never know what they’ve been through. I am contributing to my community, my children’s community.
So next time you catch yourself finding fault with the world, ask yourself what you’re doing to change it. Finding problems is a lot easier than finding solutions. No, being a Guardian ad Litem is not for everyone. It’s not for the faint of heart, I walk a weird line between wanting to cry, strangle someone, and getting my act together so that I can harness these emotions into something productive. <This is a valuable life skill. 😉
I don’t know if it’s because I spend so much time following the news (and thus the awful awful happenings of the world) but I could never just get up each day and pretend my little grain of sand was the only one that existed. I would like to believe that we all have it in our hearts to be the good in the world, or else… it wouldn’t be so easy for us to find the flaws in the first place. Be the change.
How do you put good out into the world? I’d love to hear, truly.