Louis van Amstel is looking back at his decision to adopt older children and reflecting on the process that helped to build his family of four.
The longtime Dancing with the Stars pro, 50, and husband Joshua Lancaster adopted both of their sons from the foster care system at 10 years old — Daniel, now 14, from Colorado and Jonny, now 13, from Nevada in 2020.
“Everyone wants [to adopt] the babies but we didn’t. My love language is traveling. With a baby, for the first three years, forget any traveling!” van Amstel tells PEOPLE. “Jonny had never seen an ocean in his life. For a family like ours that loves to travel and has been all over the world, I want my kids to have that experience.”
Van Amstel says he and Lancaster started the conversation about adoption in 2017. “It became very clear that we were going to adopt older kids in the United States,” he says. “It was always the plan.”
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While Daniel and Jonny aren’t biological siblings, the boys have become bonded brothers in the nearly three years they have lived under the same roof.
“They love each other, they fight with each other, they have each other’s backs, they throw each other under the bus,” van Amstel says with a laugh. “We took it one step at a time.”
“We have weekly therapy sessions,” he continues. “Both boys love going to school too. The teachers love them.”
Van Amstel, who founded the dance fitness program LaBlast, hopes his story will inspire others to think about adopting older children.
“There are so many kids in foster care that all need a loving home,” he says. “And they will change your life for the better.”
Now as a family of four, van Amstel says some of their favorite activities together include traveling and skiing.
“We have seven ski resorts within an hour drive,” says van Amstel, who lives in Utah with his family. “And I grew up skiing. My husband learned in the early years of us together and he loves it. My kids both love it. My oldest Daniel, we’re even looking next year to go in ski team, race team. He’s so good at it.”
The professional dancer says his kids are also hoping to get to Holland one day to see where van Amstel grew up.
“We really love to travel and see the world. My kids are now asking when they can go to Holland to see my home,” he says. “Not only my home country but my home city, Amsterdam.”
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