Today I had to be up and out of the house early, because there was a court hearing for the child I'm a GAL for. I don't think I told you all about meeting this little guy. He's in the care of his great grandparents because his mother has addiction issues and mental illness. He's been with them since he was a month old, and he's thriving in their care. He has big blue eyes and a goofy, two-toothed grin, and is just about the most adorable toddler you ever saw. He was immediately taken with me when I visited the first time, crawling over to me, pulling himself up, and holding out his arms for me to pick him up. He sat in my lap the whole time I was there, and would have happily left with me if we had allowed it! His g-grandma said, "I'm sorry, Baby...you have to stay here with the old folks!" They're very nice people and are giving the boy (and his teenaged half brother) a safe and loving home. They allow the mother to visit whenever she wants to, but they know that the likelihood of her ever being able to care for him properly is low. She's in and out of mental institutions and drug rehab, and her live-in boyfriend (the little boy's father) just got out of prison and has addiction problems of his own.
My GAL assignment is a lucky boy to have loving relatives willing and able to take him in and raise him, so there's no question of his ending up in foster care. I do feel sorry for the grandparents, though. Little B is a delightful child and seems to have outgrown the withdrawal issues he had at birth, but I can't imagine taking on the burden of any 13 month old child at their age. The day I visited happened to be their 50th wedding anniversary, and this is their great grandchild. They love him and want him, though, and it's obvious that they're taking excellent care of him. The judge at the hearing this morning thanked them on behalf of the court and of the state for what they're doing for this child. It made my eyes tear up a little; this particular judge is my favorite because he always speaks so kindly and respectfully to everyone who comes before him in court. He's very wise, and more than fair, and has a gentle sense of humor that I really appreciate. He also thanked me in court today for serving as this boy's Guardian. How nice is that?
This case goes back to court at least one more time, in late August, and I'm about to take on a new case that has a hearing in only two weeks. I'll have to jump right in and arrange to meet the child (or children) so that I can have a report ready by July 23. I'm trying to get in as many cases as possible while I'm out of school for the summer. I won't be able to take on many new ones once I'm back at work.