Amanda, Mom is Watching!


So a couple of days ago I enlisted the help of a professional negotiator. Today, she finally reached the guardian’s lawyer. The negotiator called me back and explained that the guardian WANTS me to “have a relationship with Amanda”, but I am “just too black and white” and that I have to “be able to compromise.”

Oh, and sure, Ted blocked his cell phone, but their house phone still works.

Doesn’t that sound a little bit like, “alternate facts”?

These types of head games make me very, very angry.

This is not normal. A normal person would say, “My number is no longer in service for Amanda’s use. But you can reach her at this number.” And then give the number.

Even my mother, who had a very bad temper and was notoriously tough to get along with, did not gaslight or lie.

First of all, if you truly wanted us to have a relationship, and if Amanda’s well-being was that important to you, why wouldn’t you have reached out to me before now?

A conscientious guardian would never:

  • Leave her in Michigan for two full months without honoring her request to come and visit me for a few days.
  • Take her back to Arizona with no phone call and no word of explanation.
  • Prevent her from writing letters of any substance for eight months.
  • Force her to send me a bill for 23 cents for postage due.
  • Prevent her from calling me for eight months.
  • Send no acknowledgment of cards or gifts I have sent over the past eight months.
  • Prevent her from calling me on Christmas or my birthday, or on our Dad’s birthday, (November 24) or the anniversary of our mother’s death. (New Years’ Eve.)
  • Prevent her from talking about me or asking other relatives about me.
  • Make no effort to communicate with me with an explanation, or ignore my emails for eight months.

The National Association to Stop Guardian Abuse has published a list of red flags to watch for, and there are at least five of which Ted is guilty.

These include:

1. The guardian and/or conservator treats you as an outsider instead of a relative, friend, or loved one.

2. The guardian/conservator sees to it that your loved one doesn’t have a phone.

3. When you visit, the guardian “hovers” or even employs someone to hover so you’re not alone with your loved one.

4. You are denied input about your loved one’s care – the doctor won’t talk to you – you are shut out.

5. The guardian/conservator refuses to take your call or answer your questions.

My expectations are as follows:

  1. Amanda can reach me by phone AT ALL TIMES. She has the freedom to call me any time she wants to. She can talk for as long as she wants, about whatever she wants.
  2. Amanda enjoys the privacy given to any normal human being. If she would like to confide in me without someone hovering around her, that is her right.
  3. Amanda receives my letters — all of them. Amanda writes me as much as she wants, and her correspondence is private, and she is given the freedom to say whatever she wants.
  4. When Amanda comes to Michigan, she can visit me if she wants to. I am, and always have been, willing to compromise on schedule.
  5. When Amanda comes to Michigan, she and I have the freedom to see a movie or have a visit — a day, a week, whatever —  without some other sibling or any person assigned by the guardian, hanging around us.
  6. I will be notified if Amanda has health issues, if she travels to another state, or anything else of significance that affects her well-being.

The above list is just normal sister stuff. These are Amanda’s basic human rights. If this is “too black and white” for you, we are going to continue to have problems. And the problems are not going away anytime soon, because what you are doing is abusive and I am not going to be quiet about it.





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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