They had held out hope for so long, but now all hope is gone.
For two long years the Koesters have dreaded this day, the day when the Ministry of Children and Family Development came knocking at their door to take away the two foster children Klemens and Eva had raised as their own.
Castanet brought you their story back in June. Klemens and his mother were battling with the Ministry to keep two mentally and physically disabled children in their care.
They even went through an appeal process, but the Ministry had made the decision to move the boys, stating it was in the best interest of the children.
“During the (first) review, we were told this would be the result, they are taking the kids,” explains Klemens. “At the same time (the Ministry) did ask us, ‘why didn’t you apply for adoption’. I thought, what is this about?”
“If we were able to adopt them, why even consider taking them away. We would have been good enough for adoption (adoptive parents), but not to remain their caretakers?” says a distraught Klemens.
Then in July the Koesters thought they had gained some ground -- that one of the boy’s biological family members may have succeeded in receiving an external review of the Ministry’s decision.
“That was a false hope,” says Nancy Ross, the youngest boy’s great Aunt. “It wasn’t really an external review, it was just an extended review from within the Ministry and their decision was already made.”
Against the recommendations of the boy’s physician, the Ministry decided they would place the boys in their care, which according to Klemens would be a more clinical environment.
Very slowly, over the past few weeks, the boys have been transitioning to the new home, spending afternoons with their new care aids in an attempt to ease them into the move.
“It’s not a home, it’s presented as their home, but there are no pictures on the walls, there is no loving environment,” says Ross. “Staff has already changed immensely from the beginning of all of this, the rotation is crazy.”
“I find the part of it that they are losing the family they had all along since babies, I find it, well it’s a sad moment,” says Klemens. “It’s experimenting with children’s lives, that is kind of what I think.”
Family and friends gathered at the Koester’s home Wednesday to say goodbye to the two boys, and to give support to Klemens and Eva. They’ve lost this battle, but the fight is not over.
“We’ve been fighting this fight for over two years, I don’t think there are any resources left for us. So we are going to fight to create new resources, and hopefully we’ll be able to get some changes made within the industry,” Ross explains.
While Klemens stands firm that there cannot be, “just one sole power having the right to make all of those decisions.”
The Ministry would not come to collect the children while media were present on the Koester’s property, another delay in an already drawn out, stressful process. Castanet left the Koester’s farm, so that the family could say good-bye.
When asked if the children would understand the move and why it happened, Ross replied, ‘definitely not’.
“Will they understand it by the time they go to bed, I believe so because their whole world has just been turned upside down.”
Due to privacy laws, the Ministry would not comment on the matter, but it’s understood the Koesters along with the biological family of the youngest child will be able to visit the boys in the future.