ASK AGONY UNCLE ELI

Rainbow Counsellor Elijah Michel is here to help with your problems. Today he tackles questions about phone addiction and child adoption. 

Hi Eli, my partner and I are keen to have a family. As two men, we would like to adopt and give a child that needs it a good home. We recently started talking about this with friends and they have all said it’s extremely difficult to do in NZ and our only chance is if we were willing to take on a child who had a severe disability or was suffering severe trauma. While we would obviously love that kid just as much, this feels like it would be too big a step, when neither of us have parenting experience. Any advice?

It’s fantastic you are wanting to share your love and nurturing with a child already in this world without parents. Keep in mind, many first-time parents around the globe give birth to children with disabilities, or offspring that experienced trauma early in life, and do a wonderful job at raising them, so no need to doubt your parenting abilities! You could always consider fostering as a starting point if you wanted to strengthen your hearts and home in advance. Agencies like Key Assets, Barnados, and Immerse (who offer training in trauma-informed care) are same-sex couple affirming and will support you all the way. If you’re able to provide a safe and stable environment and you fall in love with your foster kids, this might solve your family creation problem right there.

Dear Eli, I just can’t seem to get off my phone. I focus on a task for a few minutes and then my phone is back in my hand. Whether it’s Grindr, Instagram, Twitter or porn, my day goes and I haven’t got half the tasks done and I am falling asleep late. I have tried disconnecting and I feel lost, isolated and lonely without it. I now enjoy getting on my phone more than I like hanging out with friends and family. What can I do?

I recommend watching the new Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma. It shows

you are certainly not alone in your behaviour and your self-awareness around it is commendable. Scrolling the internet is a distraction from our worries, an esteem booster, a social connection tool, a voice platform and an adrenalin rush, and provides instant gratification. It’s becoming harder to get away from – especially when connected to our work – but at the end of the day, it is not genuine face-to-face or heart-to-heart reality. Be mindful internet addiction is becoming more prominent and is just as damaging as other addictions that affect our mind, body and behaviour. Try and schedule times to put down your phone, go for walks, meditate and see friends in the flesh.