Dr. Phil Wants Amanda and Me On His Show

Dr. Phil called.

Okay, it was actually Dr. Phil’s employee.

On December 7th, I received an email from Kristi Hall, a producer for Dr. Phil. She was trying to call me to potentially arrange for Amanda and me to appear on his show. We were to discuss our book, The North Side of Down, and issues concerning guardianship for people with disabilities.

North with BRAG

If we are given this air time, it could mean tremendous exposure for the issue of guardianship, and the civil rights of disabled individuals.

I had explained to Kristi that, in my efforts to get help for my sister and me, I have peeled back the cover on what appears to be a national epidemic. Since the establishment of the ABLE act in many states, people with disabilities are more susceptible than ever to be exploited for their status as tax deductions. A disabled person can become essentially an asset upon the death of the parents. The guardianship of people with disabilities is complete anarchy. An adult with a disability has no control over what happens in their life. They have less influence than that of a minor child in a custody battle.
Amanda has good medical care and a social life with our brother in Arizona. But she would never wish to have me excluded from her life. She would not want her past wiped out as if it didn’t exist. It has to be so disheartening for someone so witty and insightful, who has already contributed so much to society, to have no control over their activities or their relationships.

Naturally, this interview would involve the cooperation of Amanda’s current guardian, and would require the discussion of problems with Amanda’s situation.

Well, why not? Other families are going through similar issues. A visit with a mediator of Dr. Phil’s stature could pull the cover off a huge problem with the American judicial system. And, heck, it might even help us. I would love to be able to put it all on the table, to learn ways I can make Amanda’s life better, as well as allow her to air her grievances.

Presumably, producer Kristi reached out to our brother, Amanda’s guardian Ted Bailey, who has not honored us with a response.

Amanda would certainly be open to the opportunity since Ted admitted to me a couple of years ago that she had actually suggested we contact Dr. Phil.

The show pays travel and accommodations for its guests. Travel to LA wouldn’t be much of a jump from where Ted and Amanda currently live in Mesa Arizona.


This is an invitation in good faith. What is the worst that could happen? The sibling troubles are no secret. For crying out loud, I wrote a book about the dispute following the death of our parents. I have been blogging about Amanda since Ted refused to let her come and stay with me during her visit to Michigan last summer. Our dirty laundry is airing for all to see! If family members would have the courage to come forward, to face an opportunity like this, maybe we can make the world a better place! There is no shame in airing problems. Every family has them.

This is aside from the fact that it would be great book promotion for The North Side of Down. Amanda earns half the royalties. She could only benefit in that regard.

So. The gauntlet is thrown. What are you so afraid of?

Amanda didn’t call me on Christmas. December 27th marks five months since I have spoken with Amanda. This is the longest we sisters have ever gone without speaking, and the first Christmas in our lifetime that we did not speak.

This is a legacy for any guardian to take pride in, eh?

Amanda was allowed to send me a birthday card, and a Christmas card. Notes were brief, and totally unlike her. In October, she sent me a bill for postage due for a small package I had sent her. “You owe me 23 cents Nancy please and thank you.”


This note is in her handwriting, but it is not something she would ever elect to say or do. It made me wonder what they did to force her to write this!

I sent her a buck and told her to keep the change, and not to worry about it, I understand. I write her letters faithfully every week. I have no way of knowing whether she receives them.

They don’t have to let Amanda call me and tell me if she saw thw new Star Wars movie. She can’t confide in me anymore, or tell me about her day. She can’t thank me for the watch I sent her, or the writing journal, or the make-up bag. In fact, I don’t even know if she received my gifts or got to open them. I don’t know if she is getting all the cards and letters and photos that I send her every week. I just keep on sending them.

Other family members and extended family, relatives, friends, whomever, who are enabling this isolation with their silence, are just as guilty of abuse as Ted and Ruthie. You are all accountable.

Amanda will not be touched by the ugliness surrounding her. She cannot be changed. She will remain loving, affectionate, forgiving and fair. They can try to brainwash her, but if they expect her to become as hateful and childish as they are, they are going to wind up disappointed. She will remain forever without guile. They can keep us apart for as long as Ted remains guardian, but they will never tarnish the love between us. They cannot change her past, or force her to forget me.

They can, however, cause her great pain and stress for the duration of the guardianship. This may be a side effect of whatever their goal is, but is an inevitable result of their actions. I know how much this is hurting her. She might not show it, but if they think she is okay with all this, they are lying to themselves and others.

Or, maybe, they just don’t care.

The greatest irony here is, despite having an extra chromosome, Amanda remains the only adult in the room.

Happy Holidays, dear Blood Sister. Sending you all my love across the miles.

I don’t know what else to do for Amanda other than just keep blogging and putting the word out. We need a mediator. Dr. Phil would be a good solution.

Suggestions are welcome.




About Nancy J. Bailey

Artist, author, bad karaoke singer. Woodsy ragamuffin. Mom of a horse named Clifford who plays fetch and paints with watercolors. He visits libraries and schools with me, to promote literacy and making the world a better place. Yes, he is house trained, no, he doesn't live in my house! I have written three books about Clifford. But my newest book, THE NORTH SIDE OF DOWN, is co-written by my awesome sister Amanda, who has Down syndrome. Her unexpected one-liner wisecracks can always make me laugh. If you make me laugh, you've made my day!
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11 Responses to Dr. Phil Wants Amanda and Me On His Show

  1. Oh my, I do hope that Dr. Phil can make this happen. I am so sad for you and Amanda and I know what an important part of your life she has been. Sending good energy to all parties that they let this happen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Carol. I’m sure you saw Amanda a number of times showing Christmas Pepper back in the 90’s. She had lots of fun at those shows. I appreciate the good energy!


      • The ego of her guardians is getting in the way of her joy and the joy she brings you. It is cruel and wrong on so many levels. Amanda is the one who suffers. I remember how close you are/were. I really hope there is a resolution that takes her feelings into consideration. She has spent her whole life in that area of Michigan, hasn’t she. She has been safe there and treated well from all I know.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, she lived in the same town in the UP throughout her life. She spent several weeks with me each summer. Sometimes it was as long as six weeks. She has good medical care now, in Arizona, I think. But it doesn’t make up for what they have taken away.


  2. Beth Carpenter says:

    Am hoping that you do get to get on Dr. Phil’s show. I try to watch him everyday if possible. You on show would be very interesting to me as we have a daughter Connie that is 52 years old and is mental disabled and seizures, We have her placed in community home for special residents. Your story would be very interesting to me and maybe help me some. Wishing you all the best. Beth Carpenter.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for reaching out, Beth. I do hope that our story would bring you some comfort. It sounds like Connie is in need of extra care. Those of us with loved ones who are adults with special needs, require a closer look at what can be made available to maximize their quality of life… And ours by default!


  3. Patrice Pauylet says:

    Nancy you are in my thoughts with this. My siblings are spread all over the country. My rule is to visit whenever I can! Get out !y credit card and money is well spent! Your brother needs to Posen his grip and let the sisters share both physical and mental hugs! Hope Dr. Phil comes to fruition!!!!! And Hope for a better New Year for the Bailey sisters!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Katrina Gonzales says:

    Great opportunity for you all to get your word out and start mending the broken hearts and lives. However, I have a feeling they won’t let it happen. God bless you both!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Neverthless, She Persisted | Diary of a Misplaced Yooper: Cliffy's Mom's Blog

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