The Klusman family serves God together

Andrew and Julia Klusman gather for a photo with their five children: Xavier, 14; Felix, 12; Sebastian, 9; Penelope, 7; and Marlena, 6. (Provided)

DUNCAN—In many families, the list of father-son activities includes things like playing catch and going fishing. For the Klusman family, serving on the altar is part of that list. 

Andrew Klusman and his three sons can be found serving Mass together at Prince of Peace Church in Taylors. It’s just part of the faith-filled life Mr. Klusman and his wife Julia work to give their five children, who are all adopted. Their five children are Xavier, 14; Felix, 12; Sebastian, 9; Penelope, 7; and Marlena, 6. 

The Klusmans, who moved to the Upstate in 2017 from Florida, hope their family can be an example for others who are considering fostering and adoption, and also an example of what it means to live a joyful life in the Church. 

The couple met while both were students at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, and married in 2000. Mr. Klusman said he knew he was unable to have biological children, so the couple immediately started thinking about adopting because both had a deep desire to become parents. 

Xavier and Felix became their sons through private adoptions. Then they served as foster parents for their three youngest children — all siblings — before adopting them. 

The Klusmans left Florida and headed for the mountains of South Carolina in 2017 because they wanted to live somewhere with more variety in the weather and easy access to the outdoors. Mrs. Klusman also has family in the area and wanted to be closer to them. Mr. Klusman works in the mortgage industry and was able to find a job with a bank in Greenville. 

The biggest concern, they said, was making sure they were able to carry on the deeply faith-filled life they worked to create for their children. So as soon as they moved, they started looking for a new parish. 

Mrs. Klusman said they were initially concerned they wouldn’t find a tight-knit Catholic community like the one they left behind in Jacksonville, but they lucked out at the first Sunday Mass they attended at Prince of Peace Church. 

“We knew immediately it was the right place, and it’s been an amazing place for us and for the kids,” Mrs. Klusman said. She said their oldest son, Xavier, had stopped being an altar server before they left Florida, but after attending a Vacation Bible School at Prince of Peace, he was motivated to start up again. His brothers joined him and Mr. Klusman recently took his place on the altar next to them. 

“At our parish, fathers are being encouraged to serve with their sons, and I’m the first one who signed up,” he said. “It’s been a great experience so far, and it’s given me a new way to share the faith with my sons.” 

Mr. Klusman and his two older sons are also involved in Fraternus, an organization of Catholic men who serve as mentors for boys to help them grow into virtuous men.  

When not caught up with work, school and church activities, the family enjoys spending time together in the outdoors. They purchased one of the state park “passports” offered by the Department of Natural Resources, have visited all the ones in the Upstate many times and hope to start exploring more parks in other regions. 

Right now Mr. and Mrs. Klusman, like parents all over the country, are going through the challenges of hybrid learning, with the children studying three days at home and two days in person at their schools. They say the strong love they’ve developed as a family is helping them through. 

The couple encourages people to step out in faith and open their hearts and homes to adopted and foster children.

“I would say if you feel like you are called to adopt or become a foster parent, don’t hesitate to do it,” Mrs. Klusman said. “These children, especially those in foster care, need loving homes. Yes, it can be hard and it’s a big learning curve when you first begin, but these children are worth the effort. You owe yourself to consider it. Fostering and adoption is another way of following the call to become a parent.”