Question: My spouse and I are concerned about the plight of orphans and seriously interested in adopting a child who needs a home – possibly a child from another country or a different ethnic group. What’s your perspective on interracial or intercultural adoption? 


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 Focus on the Family 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 150,000 children currently waiting to be adopted here in Canada and 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.

All created in the image of God

In response to your specific inquiry 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 referenced above, we would wholeheartedly support and encourage families to welcome any child awaiting adoption with open arms.

The need for cultural sensitivity 

At the same time, we would also suggest that a household 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 neighbourhood, or perhaps an extended family member, harbour racial prejudice and could possibly display those tendencies 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 Focus on the Family 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.

For additional information about adoption-related issues, please visit our Waiting to Belong website.

© 2010 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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