Last week was an eventful week for the Klim family! So let’s get to it.As many of you know Sylvia is our foster daughter that came to live with us on March 31, 2013. What some of you may not know is that about a month after she moved in, her birth mother filed an appeal with the Washington State Court of Appeals to fight her parental rights termination. After a ridiculous amount of delays and continuances by the attorneys on both sides, the Court of Appeals finally filed their decision at the end of October 2014. They ruled that her legal rights weren’t violated and that the termination stood. We were elated, but not for long. Her attorneys quickly turned around and filed an appeal with the Washington State Supreme Court. We began to feel that this legal battle was never going to be resolved and that Sylvia would be an adult before we could adopt her. The Supreme Court doesn’t hear every case filed before them, unlike the Court of Appeals. On June 2nd they met to discuss whether or not they would hear the case. We weren’t sure how long it would take for us to hear their decision but assumed it would be a couple of months. Instead it only took two days. Last Thursday I got the call from our attorney that the Supreme Court refused to hear birth mom’s case. Which means [drumroll please]….we can proceed with adoption! [Cheers, clapping, jumping for joy, tears, laughter, happy faces] For the last two years this legal mumbo jumbo has hung over our family and prevented a little girl from having her forever family. When I got the call I literally jumped in the air, danced around the living room and cried. I didn’t realize what a tremendous weight I had been carrying over this. I felt so free and light when I got the news. I instantly called the social worker to tell her the good news and to tell her to get going on the adoption paperwork. Our attorney also kicked it into high gear to get the paperwork going. They are working hard to finalize the adoption before we got to Florida on June 29th. I don’t know if they will make it but honestly I don’t care. All that matters is that it is going to happen and that there aren’t any more legal roadblocks.
Kevin and I were so emotional and excited that day and couldn’t wait to sit Sylvia down and tell her. I wanted to race to her school and tell her that morning when I found out, but couldn’t do it without Kevin so we had to wait for him to get home. When we sat Sylvia down that night and told her we had something to tell her she said she knew what is probably was. I asked her what she thought it was. She said it was probably about the adoption. We told her she was right and that the Supreme Court finally made their decision and that we were now able to go through with the adoption. Her response? She shrugged her shoulders and said “ok”. Kevin and I looked at each other and laughed. She told us that she knew it would happen so it wasn’t a big deal to her. Aaaahhh to be an innocent child again! We never really told Sylvia the whole story about what was happening. We didn’t want to put blame on her birth mother and stir up more issues for her. So about a year ago when she was asking a lot of questions about when we were going to adopt her, we had her counselor and social worker sit down with us to explain to Sylvia what was happening. We told her that the judge in Spokane said we could adopt her but that there were other judges who were the bosses of the Spokane judge and they had to look at the case to make sure the Spokane judge followed the law. Being shielded from all the details and not knowing the risk prevented her from the worry we were going through. Which is how it should be for a child. She of course was more excited to hear we were going out to dinner at one of her favorite restaurants to celebrate than she was about being adopted.
Over the weekend we discussed her name change. She wants to keep her first and middle name and of course she wants her last name to be Klim. But we also decided to add another name. If Jackson had been a girl his name would have been Kira. That was the name we wanted for our little girl. So her new name will be Sylvia Storm Kira Klim. She is pretty excited about that. Last night Kevin and I signed the court documents for adoption. We are almost there!
Now on to the Jackson update. We had our meeting last week regarding Jackson’s placement. It went well. There were about 13 people at the meeting. It was pretty unanimous that where Jackson is at now is not the best place for him. One of the district reps even made the comment that it seemed Jackson was pretty excluded in his classroom. He has been. A couple of things happened in the days leading up to the meeting that reaffirmed this. I spoke with Jackson’s out of school speech therapist who made the comment that when he visited Jackson in his classroom it was evident that his teacher was a good teacher to “her kids”. He then said it was very apparent to him that she didn’t consider Jackson to be one of her kids. That broke my heart. The day before our meeting I picked Jackson up from school to take him to horse riding therapy. When I asked his paraeducator how his day was her reply was “He was too happy, to the point that it just didn’t work for us.” SERIOUSLY!!! She was complaining that Jackson was “too happy”. I get complaints when he is unhappy, now I get a complaint that he is too happy. I wanted to slap her. When I told these two stories in the meeting I started to cry. I promised myself I wasn’t going to cry! But the reality of these comments really hurt. It hurt because Jackson is such a sweet, loving little boy. For them to not see that and appreciate who he is tore at my heart. And for them not to teach him and ensure he is learning angers me.
The decision we made was to move Jackson to a different school. While I hate moving him around, I definitely don’t want him at that school anymore. Kevin and I will go to his new school this week to visit and observe. At this point we are thinking Jackson will be moving between two classrooms. One where he will work more academically and one where there will be some inclusion, field trips, and more one on one for him. I think it is a good solution and one I hope will give Jackson what he needs to succeed. I was happy that the district listened to the concerns, recognized them and was willing to think out of the box and not place Jackson somewhere he didn’t belong.
All in all it has been an emotionally exhausting week at the Klim’s. But progress has been made all around! As Christopher Nuttall said “Concentrate on the here and now. The future can take care of itself.”