Family split between two states: Arizona and Iowa

Sam Klein’s, sophomore, family is currently split between two states, hundreds of miles apart. Read about how the family stays connected and perseveres.


Courtesy of the Klein Family

(Left to Right) Shaun, Sam, Jamee, Ben and Jojo Klein pictured above.

The Klein family is currently living in two different states: Iowa and Arizona. In August of 2019, Sam Klein, sophomore, moved to Iowa with her dad from Arizona. She then started her sophomore year at Liberty. Sam has two siblings, a twin brother named Ben, freshman, and a younger sister named Jojo, an eighth grader. 

Ben moved to Iowa in December, 2019 to attend Liberty with Sam.  At Liberty, Ben spends his time in the special needs suite. He was diagnosed with Tatton-Brown Rahman Syndrome two years ago and has had autism for his whole life. Tatton-Brown Rahman Syndrome is an overgrowth syndrome that produces faster than normal growth before and after birth. Some of Ben’s symptoms include overgrowth and being on the autism spectrum. 

Jojo is currently still living in Arizona to finish her eighth grade year. Next school year, she will move to Iowa and start her freshman year at Liberty. 

“I didn’t want to leave my friends, and I like it here. There are good people [in Arizona], and it just feels like home,” said Jojo. 

So far Sam is enjoying her time in Iowa despite living in a colder environment and being sick for most of her time here. At school, she has been involved in the dive team, basketball, and Best Buddies, as well as being on a competitive dive team. 

“It’s been pretty smooth going. I sometimes have hard times where I miss being in Arizona a lot, but then I also think about how the change was ultimately good for me,” Sam said.

The move has been a big adjustment for the family. Their family has lived in Arizona for all of Sam, Ben, and Jojo’s lives. Sam’s parents lived in Iowa and Kansas City before Sam and her siblings were born. Ultimately, they moved back to Iowa in order to be closer to family. With Jojo still in Arizona, their parents are constantly switching between Iowa and Arizona. While one parent lives in Arizona the other lives in Iowa, and they have very limited time together. 

“Our whole family lives here, and both my grandpas are sick, so my mom wanted us to be able to see them more,” said Sam. 

With the family still not living in the same place, finding time to talk is hard. Even though Arizona is only one hour behind Iowa, it is difficult for them to coordinate a time where they are all free. One of the only ways they are able to communicate is over the app FaceTime. However, the family does get to reunite with each other over school breaks. Over winter break, Jojo and her dad came to Iowa, and over spring break Sam her brother and mom are going to travel to Arizona. 

“[We see everyone on] breaks. I saw my sister on winter break, and in Arizona they have a fall break, so I saw her then, and I will probably see her on spring break, because I think I am going to Arizona,” Sam said.

 Over the summer, Jojo and her mom will be permanently moving to Iowa. By next school year, the whole Klein family will be living in one place. 

“I’m not really excited because I am nervous, but I get to start new so that is fun,” said Jojo.