In the past year or so, since we adopted Baby E, we've been asked multiple times, "Didn't you want a boy?" or "Will you get a boy next?"
Let me be clear: My husband and I do not feel right choosing the sex of our child. Just as we didn't feel right choosing our child's race, or if we'd take twins or not.
Why do we not "feel right" selecting which sex we are open to when adopting domestically? Because that means we are closed to another.
I often wonder, how would an expectant mother, one who is considering adoption, feel if she learned that a prospective adoptive couple wasn't interested in adopting her baby because the baby wasn't the "right" sex?
I understand, to some extent, that if a family's children are all boys or all girls, that they might desire a child of the opposite sex. Maybe their home has been showered in toy trains and baseballs and Transformers for years, and a little "sugar and spice" might be welcomed. Or maybe a family of girls would like to experience raising a boy. I think the curiosity and desire for something (or someone) new is natural.
But, that doesn't make it "right."
I'm not sure when adoption became like a fast-food experience; place your order, wait for it, and ding! it comes up as your ordered. Adoption is a consumer-driven industry. Adoptive parents hold a lot of power because they fund the industry; therefore, they are also able to make demands that agencies often do not deny (or that they often welcome) because they don't want to tick off the people who fund their business.
I understand that in some circumstances, there are children of a certain sex, disability, or race that are much more available and in need of homes than another. Particularly, in international and foster adoption. In foster care adoption, there are large sibling groups, many of them minority children, waiting for forever families.
I also agree that there are some unique situations, such as one mama I know, a single woman, who felt raising a girl was reasonably the best decision given that she knew she could "role model" being a woman to her daughter, but who would be a role model to a son should she adopt one? I also understand and agree with one set of friends of ours who live in a rural area with no African Americans (complete with an active chapter of the KKK), who didn't have the opportunity (job-wise) to move, and therefore, were only open to a Caucasian child. I think these friends of ours made the best choices they could in their realities.
But I think adoptive families, we walk a fine line. Adoption, at it's heart, is a selfish choice. I wanted to be a mother, so we adopted. Period. Along the way we tried to make prayerful, selfless choices, but were we always successful? I don't know. Because what the heart wants isn't always what is right.
Adoptive families need to carefully and prayerfully enter into adoption and all that the process involves. There are many choices to be made---open or closed, which races of children, medical needs, etc.---and those choices affect many people, even people we will never meet.
Adopting is a journey like none other, and I hope each of us can enter into the process boldly and with the conviction to always do what is right.