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…
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.
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.
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…
“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.
For more information about Royce or Nigel, contact Jessica Zeeb at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information about Kaden, Hector, Maverick or Antony, contact Kristen Henry at email@example.com.