Could You Open Your Heart to a Boy?

Eight-year-old Maverick is waiting for a family!

This is it!

You have decided to adopt. You’ve chosen an agency. And you’ve started an application…

You’ve shared all the details of your life. Your medical history. Your references. Every email address and phone number at which we could possibly reach you. Your form is almost complete.

And then… There it is. The question. The one you’ve dreaded answering.

“What gender of child would you consider adopting?”

Rationally, you know that you could love a boy just as much as you love a girl. You even know that most families request a girl. And that requesting “girl only” will limit the countries from which you can adopt, and will likely mean a longer wait for a match with a child.

In your heart, you also know that boys need and deserve families just as much as girls…

But still, something holds you back. You think of your long-held desire for a daughter, a sweet, loving little girl. You set aside the form to complete another day…

Kaden loves soccer and basketball, and is excited about the possibility of being adopted!

For many families, this is a watershed moment. The gender bias in adoption defies logic, much as love defies logic. “Did these realizations make me yearn for a little boy?” Holt adoptive mom Andrea asked herself in her article, My Name is Andrea, and I was Once Reluctant to Adopt a Boy. “No,” she wrote. “I still imagined how much more fun it would be to have a houseful of girls.”

We can only speculate the reasons over 80 percent of families request a girl, when so many sweet, adorable boys are waiting for parents of their own. Maybe we can attribute it to the perception that orphanages are still overwhelmed with infant girls — as was the case in China during the late 1990s, when the one-child policy compelled so many families to abandon their daughters.

Antony is a charming 4-year-old boy who loves climbing on the school playground.

But for at least a decade, this has not been the case. Boys need families just as much as girls. In fact, because so many families request girls, more boys wait for families than girls.

Some of them are older boys like Royce and Nigel from China, Hector and Tristan from S.E. Asia. Some of them are younger boys whose faces never appear on our photolisting because they are matched with families so soon after they complete their dossiers! And like the vast majority of children now coming home to families through international adoption, many of them have special needs.

But often, their “special need” comes down to just one factor… They were born male.

Holt staff members have met Nigel several times and describe him as a wonderful, gentle boy.

So did Andrea overcome her own self-proclaimed “gender bias”?

“I forced myself to begin imagining what it would be like to be the mom to a son,” she wrote. “I watched boys playing at the park, looked through little boy clothes when I was out shopping, and imagined what an honor it would be to raise a boy to be a good man, husband and father. I watched as friends and acquaintances who had originally desired only a girl opened their hearts to boys and were so blessed to have done so.”

Soon after, Andrea and her husband opened their hearts to first one, and then another boy…

Andrea and Son

“We were holding on so tight to a vision of our family and our lives,” she wrote. “Letting go is so liberating, so rewarding, and so joyful!  We never could have imagined!

Ultimately, every family should decide what is best and right for them. But when you come across that checkbox asking what gender you would consider, take a moment and reflect, and ask yourself, could you open your heart to a boy?

You might find raising a son more joyful and rewarding than you ever imagined.


Hector is described by his foster parents as a sweet, loving and affectionate boy who loves learning new things.


Royce_Jan. 24, 2015 (3)
One adoptive mom says Royce stole her heart when she adopted her son from his same orphanage. Now it’s Royce’s turn to find a family!

For more information about Royce or Nigel, contact Jessica Zeeb at

For information about Kaden, Hector, Maverick or Antony, contact Kristen Henry at



3 Replies to “Could You Open Your Heart to a Boy?”

  1. I myself am not really bias. I have 5 birth children and 1 adopted BOY! Maybe I am not bias because I already have 3 girls and 3 boys though. I think a little boy was perfect for us. He was in birth order too, so younger than our bio kids. We adopted through foster care though, so we weren’t “choosing”. You don’t choose when you get pregnant, so I really liked the fact that our son was “chosen” for us! Boys(just like girls) are so precious, and so many people are missing out!

  2. I can very much relate to this article. We are in Holt’s China program and were originally going for a girl, not knowing the need to adopt boys. A few months after our dossier was in China, we switched to be open to either gender and was matched with our sweet boy only 3 days later. I wouldn’t have it any other way! Unlike the Mama in the blog post, I already have 2 biological boys at home, so I know boys and adore them! We hope to go get our China boy in a couple of months. 🙂

  3. When I think about all the children longing for a family, it breaks my heart. To think about a child not being adopted just because of his gender breaks my heart even more. For our first adoption my husband and I were approved by our local children’s services to adopt one child. We were open to either gender, after all, when a couple becomes pregnant they don’t choose the gender of their child. When Minnie D. from Holt called us and asked if we’d consider twin boys, we could scarcely contain our excitement. We were bursting at the seams, pie in the sky, over-flowing with pure joy!
    Mark(Kien) and Joel (Hieu) have been such a joy and pleasure and I am humbled and truly blessed to call myself their mother. I wouldn’t change a thing…..because it’s a God thing. God wants to give us the desires of our heart when we seek His guidance. Mark and Joel are now handsome, intelligent Christian men of 20 years. What a blessing.
    The truth is that orphaned and relinquished children need us…..our home, our family, our medical care, but MOSTLY our LOVE.
    What you will get in return is the BIGGEST BLESSING you could ever
    Boys are AWESOME!! Is your son waiting for you? Go.
    Gale Stair
    (My husband and I also have a beautiful 18 year-old daughter and her adoption story is also a miracle…..That story for another time 😀

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