Balancing Acts

A working single mom attending law school

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Posts Tagged ‘children’s rights’

A weekend!

Posted by newlawmom on May 21, 2011

Without law school? How the hell did that happen? No, no, not now dear. Just enjoy the moment. Seriously. I confess, there is wine involved in this post. The bestest wine ever, if that is possible.  Between the tragic illness of my mother, law school and legal work, I have literally not had a weekend completely and totally free for as long as I can remember. There was always something pressing. But this weekend? I have all to myself. And I intend to enjoy every minute of it.

Tonight involves serious quantities of wine. Pinot Grigio if you need to know. And one tear-jerker movie – The Other Woman with Natalie Portman. I love a good tear jerker. It gives me good reason to just let the tears flow for all of the 1010 reasons I might cry otherwise over the course of year, but manage to postpone. Graduation is a good reason to cry tears of pure happiness. I seriously feel so grateful to have this degree. It means, well, everything. Literally everything. It was a promise made to my adopted son, and I have fulfilled it. With latin honors to boot. But it is more than that. It is proof to all of the world that I am not stupid. That I have value. That I am capable of completing a task I set out to do. And it is a ticket, to be able to contribute something positive to the world. Not sure what I think I have done with the first 40 something years of my life, but I guess I haven’t contributed enough yet. So the tears are flowing. Natilie Portman, of course. You know, every woman loves a good tear jerker.

Someone told me once that I use too many commas. Tonight I say “Who the hell cares?” Who the fuck cares, really? I will use as many commas as I damn well please. And such is the story of my life. I went to a PPT the other day for a client ( and the client is always the parent, which is a problem for me.) The client should really be the student. That is the person who needs to be satisfied. But alas, the law says 16 year old children don’t have any rights. Now who decided that? And…in this case, my kid wants to go out for a smoke before school. Do we really want a child to drop out of school because he wants to leave school grounds to smoke before school? Really? We’re going to punish him and tell him that if he leaves school grounds to smoke in the morning, we will kick him out? But if he smokes on school grounds he would be expelled.  Wouldn’t it be easier to accept that we can not control him, allow him to smoke, and assure him that, notwithstanding his terrible habit, we welcome him to finish his high school education? Is this really radical? Where is the common sense? “Smoking is illegal.” “Kids leaving school grounds is a serious problem.” “We need to call the police.” Really? What planet did I step off of?

In other words, I have no idea where I fit into this legal picture I have drawn. But I sure as hell hope I find my way. And I hope clients find me. Because I am eager to figure out just where the logic actually lies. Some of these laws/rules/regulations/expectations/understandings have just gone one step too far. They no longer make sense. The big picture is more than a little bit cloudy. Dear children of the world – there is one almost, not quite, hopefully soon to be licensed attorney who is just waiting for the opportunity to protect your rights. I actually think you have some. And if that is radical of me, I am willing to accept the consequences.

And to my fellow blogger, browsers. legal professionals, and law students….while I need to protect myself long enough to pass the character and fitness portion of the bar exam, I did not end up in law school because I am a wuss. I don’t think the rapture will actually come to pass. Therefore, I expect to be alive. And for as long as I am alive, I am going to live. For so long as I am living, I will devote my life to the rights of children. All children. It might not be a direct path. But underlying everything is a belief that children do have rights. To claim otherwise is to disparage the human race. So I am coming back to the world of blogging. Because it is wholly insufficient to keep these grand ideas to myself. The wine helps, but the passion exists notwithstanding. I love my life, I love my kids, I love the law, truth, justice, and happiness. Rapture? Yeah. Come and get me.

Posted in child welfare, Child Welfare Issues, Ethics and moral values, law school, Parenthood, Purpose, Relationships | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

RAD and the law

Posted by newlawmom on April 9, 2009

Well, I still don’t have it all figured out. But I do find myself continuing to peruse message boards and blogs that relate to attachment disorder, foster care and adoption. Less so boards that relate to childhood mental health problems in the absence of trauma. I think of my son nearly every day. I wish I could picture him living happily and successfully, just as though nothing bad ever happened to him at all. I think every mother would wish that for her child, just to be able to fix all the problems. I couldn’t fix them so now I just like to dream that the problems just magically disappeared for him once I stepped out of the picture. But in my heart I know that is an illusion. Last night I almost signed up on a message board for people who have experienced disrupted adoptions. But I stopped because I figure most of those people had infants who they wanted and never got rather than mothers like me who voluntarily (and necessarily) gave up a child and returned him to the custody of the state. It nearly killed me. But the damage done to him, to me, and particularly to my other children would have been much more substantial if I had continued down an impossible path. I was way out of my league. Sadly, I don’t think there is a league that is prepared to deal with the serious disturbances that can result when a human being is tortured for the first few years of life. If there was, I surely would have found it. The struggle now is to figure out how the law can benefit these children, or better yet, how it can be applied to protect them in the first place. I think the basis for this needs to be found in the constitution.  I will be working with a professor over the summer on establishing a network within the school for training to be a court appointed special advocate (CASA) and guardian ad litem (GAL) for children in state placement. That is good. But it is not the solution to the underlying problem, which is my focus and ultimate goal. The children in this country must have certain rights, and when those rights are violated, they must have access to justice and appropriate restitution, including appropriate physical, mental, and emotional health care. And I need to either locate or perform research that will establish that these children DO NOT recover from their substantial injury. I suspect that is the case more often than not, despite the happy face people want to put on the situation. It is not enough to promote foster care and adoption. That does not put these children into a position where they are made whole.  I am not anti-foster care. I am Pro-child. Every child, including the invisible ones. So…at the end of my first year of law school, I remain committed to the children, even if I have needed to devote my energy to legal subjects that seem to have nothing to do with child welfare at all.

Posted in 1L, child welfare, Child Welfare Issues, ethics, foster care, law school, Parenthood, Purpose, trauma | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »