My name is Annie and I suffer from agoraphobia. I had not left my apartment for 10 years until just recently. My neighbor, Sam Dawson, needed me to testify for him in a custody hearing for his daughter, Lucy Diamond Dawson. The experience has taught me a lot about myself and the importance of friendship and love. It has also inspired me to reach out from beyond my self imposed prison walls to learn, share, and experience more about the world. The Internet is my vehicle towards that goal.
My friend Sam is a very special person. He worked at Starbucks for many years and has a wonderful circle of friends that join him for their weekly traditions of "movie night" and "IHOP Wednesdays." Sam’s life changed after a homeless woman needed a place to stay and took advantage of Sam’s generosity and naiveté. Sam would have never believed she would get pregnant then abandon him with the baby immediately after her birth. But so it happened that Sam found himself a single father with a beautiful daughter he named Lucy Diamond after the Beatle’s song. Now single parents are a normal condition in our world today, but, you see, Sam has the mental capacity of a 7-year-old. When his daughter was born, he needed guidance and emotional support. I was glad I could be nearby to help. For example I taught Sam to him to feed the baby according to a TV schedule by leaving the television on Nickelodeon and feeding her at the beginning of certain shows. With a little guidance and all Sam’s devotion and love, Lucy grew and blossomed for her first 7 years.
When Lucy started school she began to realize how much of the world, and particularly her friends, saw her father. She revolted against her own intelligence in an effort to be like her father. The school met with Sam to tell them that they were concerned about her maleficent views about herself. They became concerned about Lucy’s welfare. An innocent and unfortunate brush with the police then alerted social services that a man with mental retardation was raising a daughter alone. Lucy was taken from Sam and proceedings started to take his parental rights and allow Lucy to be adopted.
Sam’s friends: Ifty, who mildly retarded and is a savant in regard to any movie (similar to "Rainman" starring Dustin Hoffman); Robert, a man too paranoid for his own means; Brad, who has Down’s syndrome, and lovable Joe, who is also mentally retarded. Sam’s group of friends helps Sam look for a lawyer in the phone book to get Lucy back. They find Rita Harrison. Rita has a reputation for taking only high-profile, expensive cases. She is teased by her associates when she claims to take pro bono cases at a party. Reluctantly Rita takes Sam’s case pro bono after later encountering Sam in front of her associates at work.
It is this relationship between lawyer and client with a mental handicap that has captured my interest. After learning a bit about an attorney’s professional responsibility, I still have some concerns with how this relationship and the lawyer’s role in general has played out. Rita is a true fighter and zealot advocator for Sam and Lucy, but some of the things I have observed and have learned from Sam has given me cause for thought. It is this topic I will address in my Website.
An Explanation - next
Page 5 - more pictures
Mental Retardation - The ARC
Parents Who Have Mental Retardation
National Downs Syndrome Society
Arkansas Court Rules & Administrative Orders
Green Eggs and Ham
I am Sam Official Movie Site