Well, it’s time for me to update you, dear Reader, as to what has been going on with the Klassen clan. Big changes, indeed!

In February, Cindy and I travelled with our daughters Adrianna, Mireya, and Nicole to the Philippines to adopt 9 year old Andy. This adoption process began about 3 years earlier, and finally we received permission to travel. Cindy and I had been making Skype calls to the orphanage over the preceding months, just for Andy to get familiar with us. So, here we are, back in Canada with our new son, and family total now up to 6 kids.

So, you may ask, how has my life changed? Here are the top 10 changes to the life of Steve Klassen.

10. OUCH! As our other 5 kids are beyond the age of playing with Hot Wheels, it’s been awhile since toy cars have been left lying around on the hallway floor. Imagine my joy as I walked down the dark hallway in bare feet late one night only to feel that sharp pain sensation on the bottom of my foot. For any Pastors reading this, you’d be proud of my controlled tongue, I think.

9. BUNK MATES. To ease Andy’s transition into our home, I have been sleeping in a second bed we have in Andy’s room. He’s used to sleeping in a room with about 8 other boys, and so it’s too early to leave him alone all night. I’ve actually enjoyed the camp-like atmosphere, telling Andy stories after the lights out, and even doing shadow figures with our flashlights. But sometimes we get in trouble from the camp leader (Mom) for laughing too loud when Andy’s supposed to be sleeping.

8. STREET HOCKEY. I’ve always loved playing hockey, but Jude (age 20) and Jared (16) are usually too busy being cool to play with the old man anymore. But now I have Andy, who is actually impressed with my stick handling skills. I dusted off the old hockey net and sticks and I’ve been teaching Andy the tricks that kept me in the league a long time. Tricks like the “flying elbow”, the back of the foot “tap”, and the jersey over the head pull.

7. THE KIDDIE POOL. I took Andy to the pool a few weeks back. We enjoyed the waterslide and splashing around the kiddie pool. But then it struck me, “I can’t believe I’m in the kiddie pool again. Will I ever get out?” You see I entered the kiddie pool about 17 years ago with Jude, and all my friends who were there with me have long since moved on. But you know what? The kiddie pool is actually pretty fun and so I just pretend I’m 30 again!

6. TIM HORTONS BUDDY. Andy is my latest Tim Hortons buddy. Sure Jude, Adrianna, and Jared will come sometimes and Mireya and Nicole a bit more often, but Andy is good to go whenever I need a buddy to hit the coffee shop with. He’s getting pretty good at ordering my “large steeped tea, double, double!” Perhaps he comes for the donuts more than the company?

5. THOMAS IS BACK! With Jude and Jared now “aged out” of Thomas fun, our Thomas the Tank Engine set hasn’t seen much use lately. With Andy now in the mix, Cindy ventured down into the crawl space and brought up all our old wooden track, bridges, tunnels, risers, engines, and rail cars, and now I am back on hands and knees building track with Andy. It’s still lots of fun; it just takes my back a little longer to straighten out once we’re done then it used to.

4. BATTLESHIP. Yes, the game Battleship is back in vogue in the Klassen household. I’m not sure what kind of navy they have there in the Philippines but Andy gets pretty animated when playing this game. I’m also not used to getting “chirped” while playing Battleship, but it seems intimidation factors into Andy’s game strategy. He hoots and hollers when registering a “hit”, and often a “sink” results in a victory dance over my watery grave…

3. ROCK PAPER SCISSORS. Being somewhat logically oriented, I always believed this game to be a game of chance. But Andy has taught me that this game is NOT about probability and statistics, but rather it is about stare downs, the “delayed” showing of your hand, victory gloating, behavioral habits and trends, and other psychological tools designed to give one an edge. And though I often played this game with my other kids, I had no clue that Rock Paper Scissors could escalate so quickly into an all out wrestling match ☺

2. NIGHT TIME READING. When you think about it, there really is no reason to stop reading to your kids at bedtime just because they’re getting “too old for that”. Nonetheless, part of Andy’s new bedtime routine is for Cindy and I to read to him before bed. I find it settles me down as well, and I get a good review of the basics necessary for adult life. Things like sharing, cleaning up your messes, treating others nice, respecting your Mom and Dad, and not lying, cheating, or stealing. Imagine if we all quit Facebook and went back to the wisdom found in the Berenstain Bears, Curious George, and Dr. Seuss.

1. THE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE. In our minds, Andy became a part of our family three years ago, before we even knew him. We just determined that adoption is a family value that we cherish, and that ever kid deserves a family. Andy is a wonderful boy who now has a family to guide and support his journey of becoming the man God intends him to be. This journey will have its challenges, but isn’t it the wind that makes the tree strong? If you, dear Reader, have ever considered adoption, Cindy and I would love to share our story with you and to be a knowledge resource. When people ask why we adopt, the reasons are many, but this quote sums it up nicely.

Adoption is less about getting a child for your family

And more about giving your family for a child.

~ Steve Klassen

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