Adoption can be complicated, but for Dancing with the Stars pro Louis van Amstel, one part of the adoption process was incredibly simple: deciding to adopt older children. He and his husband Joshua Lancaster adopted their two sons Daniel and Jonny from the foster care system when they were 10 years old.
"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 told 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 and Lancaster adopted Daniel, now 14, from Colorado and Jonny, now 13, from Nevada in 2020. The professional choreographer explained that he and his husband started the conversation about adoption back in 2017 when they got married.
"It became very clear that we were going to adopt older kids in the United States," he explained. "It was always the plan." Another part of the plan involves weekly family therapy sessions.
"They love each other, they fight with each other, they have each other's backs, they throw each other under the bus," van Amstel told People. "We took it one step at a time."
The choreographer hopes that his family’s story encourages others to adopt older children. "There are so many kids in foster care that all need a loving home," he noted. "And they will change your life for the better."
Van Amstel and his husband adopted Daniel and Jonny through the foster care system with the help of Raise the Future, an organization that provides “evidence-based, wraparound services that reduce the amount of time youth in foster care live without a permanent family.”
Back in 2021, van Amstel emphasized the importance of adopting older kids. “They give you so much joy,” he told the organization.
Van Amstel encouraged anyone considering adoption to go for it. “Do it. Do not hesitate, because it will change your life for the better.”