Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pink or Blue: How About You?

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.   


  1. Great post! You put into words my thoughts on the adoption industry. That is exactly how I felt when we "shopped" around for an agency. My husband and I can only hope that our conviction to do what was right is what God intended for our girl. That decision affected more people than we could have imagined.

  2. I totally agree with your statement about parents entering the world of adoption with a lot of prayer because there are so many decisions to be made. The things that have to be decided are pretty much overwhelming most of the times. I would caution parents entering into adoption to remain flexible....what you think will happen more than likely won't! Also, much like children, no two adoptions are alike. I think God works on our hearts in different ways. What one person may feel is "right" may not necessarily be "right" for the next person. And things can change over time (especially when you wait half a decade like we did). What you may have thought was the way you needed to go may not be what you end up with in the end...and when you hold your baby for the first time you'll think why did I ever want it any other way???

  3. There is nothing wrong with a gender preference. People who have a preference won't be shown to a mom expecting the other gender, so she will never be hurt by knowing they didn't want her child. Yet a mom having the gender the adoptive family wants may be delighted to know her child is especially wanted or that the family is prepared for pink and princesses or pirate swords and T-ball. If adoptive parents choose not to be gender specific and are open to all special needs, races, ages, and gender, that is awesome. If other adoptive parents make a different choice that is right for them and their family, that is awesome, too. For someone else to sit in judgement and say that only certain reasons are good enough for it to be okay to make a choice or set a limit is what I see as wrong.


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