The Crew

The Crew
Christina, Matthew, Joshua and Katie Grace XiHua

Friday, December 4, 2009


Exactly what is a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL)? Throughout my life, I have wanted to do something to help children in need. I knew, if I just looked around, there was something I could do close to home. Having attempted to adopt from foster care years ago, and finding that the sweet tiny girl we wanted (only 6 years old mind you) was so badly abused that she could not be placed in a home with siblings, I was shockingly introduced to the world of abused children. It was a world more common than I had realized. WHO would touch a child with intention of harm like that? Don't people know how innocent they are? When you see your own child get a genuine fear come over them, perhaps about a stranger, or a situation where they feel lost, you can see their helplessness and sensitivity. What parent would intentionally harm them or ALLOW or worse yet ENCOURAGE someone in their home harm them in ways that would make ours hearts sick? When the child completely and utterly depends on that parent to protect them? It's almost too much to bear and I know many people who say to me, "Don't tell me about it, I don't want to know." Well, we HAVE TO know, because it is happening all around us. The children cannot protect themselves.
Last year I became a volunteer Guardian Ad Litem. A GAL is a person who advocates for the rights of abused and neglected children in the foster care system. I did 30 hours of training, and pretty much had my first case given to me immediately. I learn most as I go along! I am now on my 3rd case of a sibling group. I visit them a couple times a month. Talk with them, visit their school, observe situations, homes, care-takers and watch for signs of problems. Make sure they are getting the care and protection they need. I attend court with them when needed. It sounds like a lot, but I really only spend a few hours a week working on my case. I promise you, anyone can do this. The reward is establishing a relationship with these broken children. They love for me to visit! They talk and enjoy the attention. I still keep in touch with my first case regularly, even though he is in another county now.
I never thought I would be driving around through the back roads of my county visiting old shambled trailers and finding little sad children inside. Or perhaps a child readjusting in a big beautiful foster home. Or a child trying to find his place in a group home. All of the families welcome me, no matter what has happened. They know I am there for the child's best interest. If you are interested in being a volunteer in your immediate community, consider being a GAL. The program supervisors will work with you and only give you what you can handle. Even if it is just one child who you have to visit occasionally. Or as many as you want, because there are THOUSANDS in your county. It is so rewarding and they need us!

Matthew 25:40
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'


  1. That is great Annie, you are doing that! You are such a generous person and have a heart full of gold. I am sad to hear that there are so many just in one county, and I know there are many out here as well. But I am not sure if there is a progam like that, but I will look out for it!

  2. I think GAL is such an amazing program and I have been so proud of their efforts for years. Congratulations for being a GAL volunteer and for writing such a beautiful and powerful essay about this work!! I think you have a very impressive love for these children.


Many hungry children near the boarder of Myanmar and Thailand-click on photo