Would you advise us to adopt a child from another country or a different ethnic group? My spouse and I are concerned about the plight of orphans and seriously interested in helping a youngster who needs a home, but we're unsure about the potential risks and challenges associated with interracial or intercultural adoption. Can you offer any advice?
First, we want to commend you on your willingness to bring a needy child into your home. Throughout Scripture we are reminded of God's concern and tender care for the orphaned. All believers are called to defend and care for the fatherless (Isaiah 1:17 and James 1:27). As you may know, as part of our own efforts to be true to this command our ministry has developed our Adoption and Orphan Care Initiative™. This arm of our outreach is committed to raising awareness about this subject and to urging more Christians to become involved. With more than 130,000 children currently waiting to be adopted here in the United States and over 145 million orphans worldwide, it's clear that God's people have an opportunity to take a more active role in making a difference in these precious lives.
As for your question about interracial adoption, Focus believes strongly in what the Bible makes clear: Every individual, whatever their race or ethnic background, has been created in the image of God, and we are equally valuable in the eyes of the Lord. With this in mind, and considering the great need discussed above, we would wholeheartedly support and encourage families to welcome any child awaiting adoption with open arms.
At the same time, we would also suggest that a family considering such a step do so with everyone's eyes wide open, so to speak. It is important to be aware of relational dynamics that might potentially have an impact. (For example, if others in the neighborhood, or perhaps an extended family member, harbor racial prejudice and could possibly display those attitudes in front of the child, the prospective parents need to be prepared to deal with the situation appropriately.) In addition, parents should take intentional steps to be culturally sensitive to the child's ethnicity.
Although it is difficult to address this topic comprehensively in this context, you may be interested to know that our staff has devoted an entire chapter to interracial adoption in a book we've prepared that you might find informative – Handbook on Thriving as an Adoptive Family: Real-Life Solutions to Common Challenges. You may order this resource from our Online Store.
Fostering or Adopting Children from Difficult Backgrounds (resource list)