Q: Would you recommend adopting a child from another country or a different ethnic group? My spouse and I are seriously interested in helping a youngster who needs a home, but we're unsure about the potential risks and challenges of interracial or intercultural adoption.
Jim: Let me applaud you for your willingness to bring a needy child into your home. As you may know, Focus on the Family's Adoption and Orphan Care Initiative was developed to raise awareness about the plight of orphans and to urge people to become involved. With 100,000 children waiting to be adopted here in the United States and more than 150 million orphans worldwide, it's clear that there's an opportunity to make a life-changing difference in these precious lives.
As one who was orphaned at a young age, I would wholeheartedly support and encourage families to welcome any child awaiting adoption with open arms, regardless of his or her nationality or ethnic origin. It's important, however, for everyone to be aware of and prepared for relational dynamics that might potentially have an impact. For example, if someone in the neighborhood, or perhaps an extended family member, harbors 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 become educated about and culturally sensitive to their child's ethnicity.
Although it's 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 helpful: "Handbook on Thriving as an Adoptive Family: Real-Life Solutions to Common Challenges." You can order a copy from our online store (family.christianbook.com), or by calling us at 855-771-HELP (4357).
Q: Our family has high standards when it comes to our movie choices. But how do we handle movies that kids often watch at slumber parties?
Bob Waliszewski, Director, Plugged In: Good question. You're smart to assume that overnighters will involve at least one film before kids actually get to the "slumber" part of the party.
Here's what I'd recommend: Call the parents of the child hosting the event. Explain that because of the influential nature of motion pictures, your family is very intentional about consuming films that have a positive impact, and because of this, you'd like a heads-up on what movies, if any, are being planned for the night. They may appreciate the inquiry because many parents have boundaries for their own kids. If the film being showcased presents concerns, politely explain why and offer to send some alternative movies with your child. Should you experience or sense a lack of support, you may need to determine whether or not your child should attend the gathering, or if he or she is trustworthy and courageous enough to ask to be excused while others are watching.
One last thing: Become the "go-to" house for your kids' activities -- slumber parties and all other fun things -- as much as possible. Instead of watching movies (which takes no creativity whatsoever), help your kids plan a "better than watching a movie" slumber party.
Maybe you can play a game of broom soccer or ultimate Frisbee at a park nearby. A scavenger hunt that involves video-recording certain activities (e.g., videotape a dog that responds to the command, "Bang!" by rolling over and playing dead) is always a winner with kids. Or if there's talent within the group, have the kids script and shoot a melodrama using their phones, which they can then enjoy watching together afterward.
Consider looking online for other kid-safe ideas.
Jim Daly is a husband and father, an author, and president of Focus on the Family and host of the Focus on the Family radio program. Catch up with him at www.jimdalyblog.com or at www.facebook.com/DalyFocus.