Amanda Portrait – Day 6


I call this one “Raggedy Mandy.” It is oil pencil on charcoal paper, about 9×12″. She didn’t play with dolls a whole lot, but once in awhile I could catch her with one.

I have been granted a hearing.

May 2 in Sault Ste Marie, I will talk to another judge in an attempt to have Amanda’s voice heard.

This time, I will be better prepared. I hope that this man is willing to listen to the facts, and not allow the truth to be muddied by a bunch of drama and accusations.

It really is very simple: Amanda is an adult. She can think for herself. She deserves to choose how to spend her leisure time. She should have the right to visit whatever family members want to have her. She should have the right to talk to family members on the phone. She should be able to express her thoughts freely without fear of constant editing, hovering, gag orders and whatever.

She has enjoyed a normal sense of freedom and respect throughout her life, and there is no reason for it to change now.

She deserves a lot of credit for her generosity and kindness. However, she is no fool and she knows who her friends are.

I am trying to follow her example and not be swallowed up by the darkness. If I can stay focused on the real issue instead of getting sucked into diversionary tactics where I wind up attempting to explain or defend myself, I think we will be okay. This is not about me. At least, it shouldn’t be.

I hope the judge will have a conversation with her. I think it is the only way he can make an informed decision. He will need to cut through the noise and see the truth.

Amanda has Down syndrome and is currently being held by her guardian, who is not allowing us to have contact. On March 27 it will be 8 months since I have spoken with my sister. I am doing a portrait of her every day until I hear from Amanda.

A few warning signals of guardianship abuse:

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.

6. Your loved one doesn’t get his/her mail.

7. If your loved one is in a nursing home, you’re only allowed to visit in the dining room or recreation room.

8. You start seeing questionable documents and realize financial accounts are closed or changed and the statements have been diverted to the guardian/conservator.

9. You discover the taxes haven’t been paid — or even filed.

10. The nursing facility tells you when you visit, you “upset” your family member or upset the staff.

11. Items are missing from your loved one’s home.

12. Your loved one appears to be more sluggish, perhaps even dazed.

The days of guardians running the show are coming to an end. There is help available.  Click the link below:


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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