I can laugh at almost anything. I like to joke around and I think I have a good sense of humor. I'm not even afraid to laugh at myself. But the other day when I called the New York State Bar Association, I wasn't expecting laughter.
Since The Boy's Turning 5 meeting is coming up (sometime soon, who knows when) I am trying to find an attorney who will take our case at a reduced rate or (fingers crossed) pro bono. An attorney at work suggested I call The Bar. So I did. This pretty much sums up on conversation.
Me: Hello. I'm hoping you may be able to provide some assistance...
(Blah blah blah, summed up my situation.)
Her: That's so funny. A woman just called yesterday with the same situation. 'Money was no object,' she said. The school she wants to son to go to costs $43, 000 - what a waste of money. Can you believe that?
Me: Um, yes. I can believe that, the school I'm applying for is $93, 000 per year--
Her: Why so much money? They have good public schools for autistic kids. Such a waste of money...
Oh, I'm sorry - Did I call the Board of Education or The New York Bar Association? But thanks for letting me know your opinion.
Me: There really aren't. So as I was saying - I'm looking for an attorney who would possibly take my case at a reduced rate or pro bono.
And then she laughed. LAUGHED! Like I was Comedy Central on a Saturday night funny.
Her: Oh no - we only have one attorney that does Special Education and he charges $450-$500 dollars an hour. And the the first question he asks the client is 'Do you have the money?' If you don't have it, he won't waste his time. But he's such a great guy, really nice - good attorney if you can afford him.
Really lady? Cause he sounds like a jerk attorney. Sorry - I'm still a little bitter.
Me: So would you be able to refer me to any one else?
Her: HA! You have no money. No one is going to help you. You're on your own.
I said thank you before hanging up. I won't write all expletives I mumbled under my breath. And then I printed out all the CLE materials on Special Education on the website. While I'm not prepared to give up my search for an attorney I can truly afford, I am prepared to really do it on my own, if I have to.
I like to believe that parents are the best advocates for their children. That no matter what a piece of paper says, a parent will know what their child needs. And I also believe that if a parent has the right tools, knows the law and can articulate the argument - a judge will listen. I need to believe that. That when the time comes, the person in authority will take me seriously.
I also believe that one day I will look back at this and laugh. Or at least, that's what I hope.