Sadly, biological parents sometimes treat their children in ways we would rather not imagine.
As a volunteer Guardian ad Litem (GAL), you can be the voice for these children.
Recently in South Carolina, a GAL played a very important role to help a 15 year old young man secure a safe and permanent home through adoption.
There had been many efforts to help the young man’s mother.
Ultimately, she relinquished her custody of him.
There were also efforts to support the father.
The child's Guardian ad Litem (GAL) even helped the father to obtain housing through her church.
But there were rumors in the community---and then other allegations were made during a routine court hearing.
The allegations were enough for the GAL finally to draw a line in the sand: “I cannot support the father getting this child until these allegations have been dealt with” she decided.
Late one night the foster mother called the GAL.
She told the volunteer that she could not put her head on the pillow until she told someone what the young man had said.
Weekend visits with the father had begun.
The foster mother asked the child why he was so tired when he returned from those visits. And then the foster mother told the GAL his unimaginable answer.
The next day, the GAL went straight to the school--to the principal's office--then, after a hug and a big smile when the young man saw her, with two guidance counselors in the room, the Guardian ad Litem asked the young man if he had anything he wanted to tell her.
He told the counselors and the GAL what happened during those weekend visits with his father.
Afterwards, the volunteer remembers looking at the counselors who had tears in their eyes and saying to them, "You know what you have to do."
They called in the school resource officer who took it from there.
All of that was in the past on the day the adoption was finalized. That day was about joy: The joy of seeing a 15 year old young man without a care in the world. The joy of seeing his adoptive family-- mother, father, adult sister and her children---all there with smiles and tears and laughter.
The joy of seeing a volunteer Guardian ad Litem satisfied in the knowledge that her vigilant advocacy helped to make this day happen.
You can help Pickens county children find safe, permanent homes by becoming a volunteer Guardian ad Litem. The next free, 30 hour training starts January 9, 2012. Call Cindy Wolthuis at 878-0807 for more information on how you can be the voice of an abused or neglected child.
The Cass Elias McCarter Guardian ad Litem Program is a member of National CASA. www.nationalcasa.org