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More and more adoption agencies are prohibiting adopting parents from stating a gender preference. Should parents who adopt be given the choice of a boy or girl, or simply be expected to accept whatever child is becomes available?

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My husband always wanted a girl, and that's what we got -- three of them, in fact -- and it wasn't really planned that way! Believe me, Elizabeth had many a discussion with him about gender preference! That being said, though, I think it's hard to answer this question with an unequivocal yes or no. For example, what about the times when an adoptive family still is fertile, has had all boys, and desperately wants a girl? I know Abrazo places with infertile families, but there are state agencies and other private agencies out there that place with fertile parents. Or, what about againers who have adopted twice ... same gender ... and would like to add a third of a different gender? Maybe different rules should apply for first-timers and againers? I don't know ... I just believe that a cookie cutter approach to almost any question will almost always cause trouble down the line! Whether we want to admit it, adoption IS different than bio-birthing, so I'm not sure you can compare apples to apples here. Just my two cents worth ...

Edited by FeelingBlessed
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FeelingBlessed I agree with your reply! I don't think there is just one way to answer.

In our family we have an older boy and younger girl and if we have a third I would really like to have another boy. Why? Because that is just how I see our family, I like the idea of having the middle child a diffrent gender than the other two. Don't get me wrong though if I were to have another girl I would be just as happy! Doug and I have always wanted children and if want a girl he wants a boy so we have always been happy! He wanted a boy firts and I a girl, when Miller came home first I wouldn't have changes a thing!! Then Delaney when Doug wanted another boy and me a girl so bad! Who knows maybe our next will be twins, a boy and a girl laugh.gif

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I think that's a hard to answer question too - I think I would say yes, they can specify a gender preference but I also think that if a different gender comes along - they should give it consideration as well (there's just so much more to being a parent and making the decision on a case than just gender...even though one may think they really, really, really prefer a girl (or a boy) - what if a potential birthparent is pregnant with a baby of a different gender and for whatever reasons, that birthmother and that couple (or person) are just "right" for each other.....also, just like Jennifer said - you may have a preference for one or the other but once you become the parent to the one you are blessed with, you decide that everything worked out exactly as they should and you're thinking, "preference, what preference?"

I know in mine & Lance's case - we did have a preference for a girl - we would have been ecstatic either way but in the questionnaire we filled out for Abrazo - it's asked if we have a preference and I felt I'd be lying to say, "no". I didn't want to limit my choices for just a girl though - and I know I got a call from them early on about a potential placement that was a baby boy and I was over the moon with that possibility. So - I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's fine to have a preference but hopefully - a couple (or person) will remain open-minded for their own sake - they could be keeping themselves from being the parents to their dream baby/child if they start placing too many restrictions and not just let things happen and make a decision taking into consideration many other things than just gender.

And I just wanted to comment on the argument of nature not offering that option so adoption shouldn't either - I don't like to make that type of argument for things related to adoptive parents and their choices - maybe I'm totally wrong but there are so many choices that biological parents have (i.e. nature) that adoptive parents don't have so to say that because nature doesn't offer gender selection, adoption shouldn't either just doesn't seem like a valid argument. Again, hopefully not to offend anyone but things that come to mind - mostly the care taken by the biological mom during her pregnancy - the food she eats, the alcohol she consumes (or doesn't), the drugs (legal &/or illegal - including cough medicine, tylenol, etc - not just street drugs) she takes, the type of labor, delivery, birthing method she chooses), the stress she is under, etc - those things are not within an adoptive parents control (which I'm totally not complaining about - I'm just saying - that's the case - we have to accept that part of everything and let go of how we would handle our pregnancy - so...to me, I just don't think you can compare nature with adoption in such black & white terms).

I also want to make it very clear that I'm also not saying that birthparents do drugs, drink alcohol, have huge amounts of stress, and choose bad birthing methods. I am just trying to make a point that the person who is pregnant with the child is the person who is responsible for making the decisions on everything related to their pregnancy. Hopefully, my dissertation above comes out how I meant it and not how it sounds when I just re-read it - argh...

-Lisa

Edited by linlacor
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I don't think that gender should matter. The thing that I feel should matter the most is the relationship that you build with the birthmother. My question is what if you match with a birthmother and think that she is having the gender of baby that you want and then find out later that a mistake was made and the baby is actually the other gender. I know that it doesn't happen very ofter, but it does happen. Would you unmatch for that reason? I just feel that God will bring the right birthmother and families together and that gender doesn't matter. What we see as our family may not be the same thing that God sees, and afterall, isn't His plan the one that we are supposed to follow.

That is just my opinion and I don't mean to disrespect anyone who feels differently.

Tots

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After reading both Lisa and Tots posts (no offense taken on either), I have to agree with both. As Lisa stated, there's no harm in a couple having a preference; but they should remain open and not limit themselves. And also like Tots posted, God has a plan for each of us and alot of times it is not what we had planned for ourselves. An analogy that comes to mind is when you are young, you have this image of what your spouse will look like. Tall, dark, and handsome. When "Mr Right" comes along, isn't it funny how sometimes he is short, with red hair and freckles. But in our eyes, he is still tall, dark, and handsome b/c this is the man God had planned for you. See, we had a preference when we were young - but remained open minded. When you adopt, you may prefer one gender - but don't limit yourself. You may be shutting a door before you even get a chance to open it. I hope this makes some sort of sense and apologize if the comparison is not clear for everyone. This came to mind and I just wanted to share.

Rhonda smile.gif

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We agree with Lisa and the tots. We feel that God will bless us with the opportunity to parent. We also feel he will bless us with the gender. We do not feel that the gender should matter. Our focus it to have the opportunity to raise a child in our home. We could not imagine turning that opportunity down due to the child's gender.

Craig and Brandee

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  • 3 weeks later...
Guest in-mama21

hello everyone.

this is something I have been thinking about for a while. We have one son through adoption. and I would love to havea girl but i would be just as thrilled withanother boy. So I am still torn as to what i think.

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Guest Pamela

Well I just have to add my two cents. I am in absolute agreement with the idea that gender does not matter. Yes we have a preference for a girl. We have our 19 month old Nathan who we want to have a sibling and we would prefer a girl. We are allowed to dream too and hope too just like all parents in waiting hope and dream (regardless of biological or adoptive status).

I believe though that the decision will be based on the "perfect match" with the birthfamily. We want a birthfamily that is right for us and meant for us regardless of what gender child is born. The magic is in the match and then the child will be the perfect gender!! biggrin.gif

pkk

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  • 9 months later...

Yikes! An ever-growing number of Abrazo parents-in-waiting at present are holding out for girls--and girls only! What is up with that?! (As the mom of two boys--I protest!!! Little boy clothes may not be as frilly and cute, but there's nothing like a tiny son's giggly, wet kisses!) wink.gif

Gender preferences are fine for those adoptive parents who have plenty of time to wait for a placement (because even though we may seem to be placing plenty of female infants lately, most birthmoms don't know the baby's gender when they chose the adoptive family, so families who are only waiting on children of one particular sex typically find it much harder to get matched, since the number of birthmoms to whom their profile can be shown is so greatly reduced.) And it is also very frustrating to loving birthmoms seeking homes for their babies, to think that so many of the folks out there "just waiting for a baby to love" could only accept a child with certain "parts"...!

So for those of you out there who can only think pink--suit yourself! but please, be patient!!

(An interesting side note: sociologists say that biological families typically desire a male child first and a female child second, while adopting families overwhelming prefer female children first. Why? Theory has it that boys carry on the family name but are more likely to leave home sooner, while girls are "daughters forever," ergo, those who waited longer to build their family are more apprehensive about their children becoming independent. Any thoughts from the peanut gallery?)

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Boys are Best!!!! Of course, I didn't think that until I had one of my very own. I think people think girls will be "easier", whatever that means, but I"m here to tell you as a mom who thought she wanted a girl, I never thougtht I'd have an African American Boy, but I could n't imagine it any other way now nor would I want it any other way! I LOVE MY BOY. God knew what he was doing all along. Me.......not a clue! Good thing he's in charge!!!!!!! smile.gif

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Elizabeth- Do birthparents ever choose 2 families the placement will be determined by the sex of the baby?

Just curious, because my brother's birthmother (she was 18) had decided if it was a boy, he would be ours and if he would have been a girl he would go to a different family. Is this even healthy for Open adoptions?? (his is closed)

Just Curious-

Loriahn

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We would love for our next child to be a boy, but we would be perfectly happy with whatever God has in mind for us, so we won't make any requests. Cecilia has even been telling us that she wants a "broder" (brother). I asked her why and she said so she can be the only girl and not share her toys. What can I say, she knows her mind.

Back to the question, I think adoptive parents should be able to choose if they want to, but they have to understand that they will have to be patient. However, I think they should also be open-minded to either sex, if it comes along. This is a very hard question.

Jill

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Elizabeth,

You know we are always ready to add some more blue to our family. Just in case you need us tongue.gif

After having a boy and a girl, I think a boys are easier. Miller is louder and more rough but he loves mommy so much biggrin.gif Delaney is such a little diva. She threw a fit recently because Doug was putting on her shirt and she didn't want to wear it (at 2). She gives the dirtist looks you can imagine and to top it off she is hard headed. The pluses with girls; they love their daddy so much, you get to buy all those cute clothes (that puts a hole in your wallet) and they are so caring.

Now I know every child is different but in our two Miller is easier (could be he is older). In our family we only need one princess and more princes to look after her.

Something cute Delaney is doping now, she is asking for a baby Lincoln (thats the name we have picked if we have another boy). Maybe she knows its time?

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I love little girls, but one thing I am learning as Grace Ann grows older is little girls can very much be little drama queens. Most of my friends have boys and when I tell them the things Grace Ann is doing and saying they just laugh. They have never experienced these things with their sons. From what they have said boys are much easier.

At our house it is divided. I will be happy with a boy or a girl next time. Chris is really praying hard for blue. Grace Ann has taken to calling her flip-flops her baby sisters. She holds them, rocks them, sings to them and puts them to bed! I guess that is a sign(a very weird sign) that she is ready to be a big sister.

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This a tuff subject. When I was pregnant with my first child I wanted a boy cause I wanted the oldest to be a bay. But nature gave me a girl. I believe that it is alright for parents to want a certian gender but they also should be able to love and except what ever gender comes their way. birthparents don't have the option to pick and choose. We have to except what we have no matter what. But then in some cases it might be better for them to wait for the right gender because some people might not love the wrong gender as much as they would the right one. I know that sounds bad but we all know that happens. I hear stories all the time of people treating their children badly because they weren't what they wanted. But hopely we don't know anyone like that and I am sure everyone here would love a child no matter what! But anyways this is just my thought.

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I am mixed on this topic, before I adopted my first son, I would have said that you should not be able to choose because if you have a bio child you don't have a choice. But now that I have 2 boys, if we adopted a 3rd I would like it to be a girl. Although my husband always says that if another boy came are way, he knows I would jump right on it.

Now on the issue of one gender being easier than the other, I believe that it is all about the child's personality not the gender. I have 2 sons that are as different as night and day, my oldest presents me with a challenge every day, and my youngest throws the occasional fit but is very easy for the most part. And my oldest is a total momma's boy and my youngest loves his daddy, so you never can tell. But I will say has a mother of 2 boys I would never have it any other way.

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I really appreciate this topic. My husband and I have been discussing this topic for awhile now. We are currently parents in waiting and are open to etheir sex. We have two boys and they are the best. I have enjoyed every moment with them. We have three neices so we have some idea what it would be like to have a daughter. As best as I can tell boys seem to be easier than girls. But I think that may change as the years past by.

I guess what my husband and I came to realize is that is okay to hope for girl but it really does not matter. We would hate to limit our options and miss out on something great!!!! We feel that God has his plan for us and we must sit back and be patient until the time comes for it to be revealled!!!! After all we are all in this process to become parents, and parents of boys are not any less of parents than those of girls!!! They both give great hugs and kisses!!!

Angie

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What a great question.

I have 5 nieces and I have always wanted a girl yet somehow I knew I would have the first boy in the family. Last December, thanks to Abrazo, we have our beautiful boy Austin.

We did not specify boy or girl with Austin but we are hoping to be againers next year and in my heart I know that I would love to have a girl this next time. I do worry that it's wrong somehow. But at the same time, our becoming parents through adoption is different than childbirth. I'm sure many of us would have loved the opportunity to birth a child without having a choice of sex. That is not an option we have due to infertility. It is a unique side of adoption, so is it so wrong to want to choose our next babies sex?

Our adoption experience has been so awesome and I know God chose our wonderful Austin and I would not want it any other way. We love him with all our hearts. I also know that when the time comes and Abrazo makes that incredible call we all dream of we will forget all about the sex of the baby and cry out in joy...boy or girl!

Gabriela

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Man is this ever a hard question when you really sit down and think about it!

I'll give you my bottom line (pun intended) first - I think it just has to be a case by case decision between the birthfamily(s) adoptive family and case worker.

I can see perfectly logical reasons both to specify gender and also to not be allowed to specify gender. Most of those reasons have been so thoughtfully detailed by others on this forum. I can easily see why couples who have one child might want to specify (and be willing to wait on) a certain gender.

So then I started thinking on what you would have to do to specify the gender. To absolutely know the gender of the infant before birth you would have to have either an amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling done. Neither is done solely to determine the infant's gender as both have some risk of miscarriage.

Ultrasound images are unreliable predictors of gender. Researchers using ultrasound correctly predicted gender for 46-70.3% of the infants examined at 11 weeks, and for 79-100% at 13 weeks (different studies have different levels of accuracy. In general, the later in the pregnancy the more accurate the prediction). I thought that the new 3D ultrasound would be even more accurate, but in the study I found, gender was predicted accurately 85.3% of the time. That means 14 out of 100 children would be surprises! When an error is made, the most common mistake is thinking that male fetuses are female (about 50% at 11 weeks). Female fetuses are incorrectly labeled as male only about 5% of the time.

If you didn't go the prenatal testing route, would you give up the pre-delivery match with a birthmother to wait until the baby was born to match? We didn't get to do that, but it seems to me that those months between matching and placement must be exciting as the families get acquainted and that it would be sad to give that up.

"Children are an inheritance from the LORD. They are a reward from Him." Psalm 127:3

Edited by DrMom
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This is a great question.

We did not specify that we wanted boy or girl, we just wanted a baby.

When we got the call from Abrazo that there was a baby, it honestly did not matter what the sex was, we were just elated to know that we were becoming parents.

We have a baby girl, Samantha and I could not imagine our lives any other way.

We hope to be againers someday and I know that when that call comes like the first one did, the sex won't matter. What will be important is there is another baby that needs a loving home and our arms and hearts will be open to him/her.

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  • 1 year later...
As far as your question about B-Mom's.  Some may come to Abrazo early in their pregnancy and not yet know the sex of their baby.  While yet others already know the sex before you match with them.  Our little girl was a BOG, so we had not matched with her B-mom before she delivered.  We got the call when Makayla was 5 weeks old.  Sidenote:  Don't forget.  Ultrasounds are usually pretty accurate but not 100% fool proof.  What would you do if you matched with a B-mom who thought they were having a boy...only to deliver a girl???

Elaine brought up this very important issue on another thread, and it's one that I've been struggling with, lately.

Abrazo has always allowed adoptive parents to specify a gender preference, not because we like the idea, but because we worry that if we don't , people may match with birthmoms and then dump them if/when the sono is done and reveals that the baby's gender is not what they'd hoped for.

But what if you've got a strong gender preference, and you're matched with a birthmom who's learned to trust you in the months before the birth, but in the delivery room, you discover the sono was wrong?

Do you turn your back on that baby and walk away?

For some families, the answer is not so hard: they would proceed with placement, regardless. But for others, the question poses a dilemma, because they are forced to admit they would "have" to wait for what they really wanted.

And where would that leave the poor baby and his/her birthmom? Abandoned at her most vulnerable, rejected by people they loved, forced to forfeit their chosen plan and somehow, instantly, formulate a new plan, with another family they didn't really know-- or take it as a "sign from God" that the adoption wasn't meant to be and somehow try to parent, without the benefit of months of preparation to bring a baby home?

How can we, as an agency, empower adoptive parents to make their own best decisions for the building of their families, while protecting birthparents and their babies from this kind of loss?

How do we "match" couples with inflexible gender requirements? We can't "save" them only for BOG cases-- that would be unfair to our other clients, who would then be resigned to accepting a disproportionate share of the risks--and costs-- that come with pregnancy matches. We can't ask pregnant birthmoms to pick two families with opposite gender preferences and build relationships with both, leading to certain devastation on the part of the family who doesn't get the baby.

I don't know the answers... but I'm certainly open to suggestions!

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How do we "match" couples with inflexible gender requirements? We can't "save" them only for BOG cases-- that would be unfair to our other clients, who would then be resigned to accepting a disproportionate share of the risks--and costs-- that come with pregnancy matches.

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Can you allow birthmoms of a BOG to look at ALL profiles that meet her preferences, both those who specify gender and those who don't, while allowing profiles for families who have specific gender preferences to be seen only by those birthmoms who have a BOG of the preferred gender. Does that make sense?

In other words, the birthmom of a BOG could choose from the entire pool of adoptive parents therefore it wouldn't be unfair to clients who do not specify a gender preference, but it would also solve the dilemma of knowing the gender of the baby for sure. That would mean that clients who specify gender could only be chosen by birthmoms of BOG, thereby increasing their wait time most likely. But they already accept that possibility when they specify gender.

Just my two cents.

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On first blush, that seems reasonable... but then, how would you prevent other couples who have no gender preference but don't want to cover a birthmom's pregnancy expenses or who want to avoid the openness/intimacy of longer matches, from asking to also be shown only in BOG cases? huh.gif

We have plenty of couples, childless and otherwise, who ask why we can't just "save" them for BOG cases, in hopes of placing more quickly and more cheaply. Our response has been that we avoid discriminating between our adoptive families by making all qualified profiles available to each birthmom, and leave it up to her to decide who seems to be the best choice.

Also, Texas Licensing has a requirement that agencies apply their policies equally to all clients, so I'm not sure how we could make an exception for gender-specific couples but not for others...? Hmm. (Suebee, keep working on this one, wouldja? and let us know if you come up with more solutions!!)

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Well, obviously I have had direct, personal experience with this and I'll share my thoughts - not sure I really have any solutions. Personally, I think Abrazo (or all agencies for that matter) need to determine if they are in support of gender preference/specification or if they're not (regardless of the reasons and what you're attempting to avoid happening (i.e. dumping a birthmother once the sono reveals the "wrong" gender). If an agency isn't in support of gender preference/specification - then I think it is in the best interest of everyone involved to not only discourage gender preference/specification but disallow it completely (at least for the full-service program). If this is something you are in support of, then it's worthwhile looking at options on how you as an agency can find something that works for everyone (although you'll never be able to please everyone).

I think to not allow gender specification is a perfectly valid policy to have if it is what is in your heart. There was an Adoptive Families magazine article not long ago (cover story I believe) about the gender preference/specification debate and it's a pretty big one these days in the adoption community. The only way this will ever end (for the most part) is if agencies put in place policies that don't allow it (just like Abrazo has an open adoption only policy). People may gripe and people may find other agencies who do not have such policies in place but are those really clients you want to be working with in the first place (because you'll find yourself forever in disagreement on the matter).

Sure, there will be those who try to find a way around the policy and who just hope for the gender they have a preference for and will turn down cases or back-out of matches if things don't work out as they were hoping...but, that also happens with the open adoption policy - there are always those who just say what you want to hear in order to be accepted into Abrazo's program because they've heard great things about the experience - and figure that open adoption thing is no big deal - they can agree to that (but really have no intentions of doing so).

I can completely understand the fairness (or not fairness) of the situation with those who don't have gender specifications and trying to balance the BOG to be a truly random occurence - so honestly, my suggestion would be to just not allow for gender preference specification - people can share that they have a preference, provided they're open to adopting another gender (because having a gender preference is common...even among people who are pregnant - I've met my share of expecting mothers who say, "What I want most of all is to have a healthy baby but we'd really love to have our first child be a little boy") but making sure that it's very clear what Abrazo can and can't do with regards to accommodating the preference (probably not the best word to use but it's late for me and I'm trying to make this a brief post).

Just my 2 cents - although I'd love to see other suggestions on here - I just hope that whatever happens, it's the same for everyone (i.e. that some gender preferences are worked with and others aren't)

Thanks for opening this up Elizabeth and really giving this a lot of thought and consideration - and by asking for others' input - that's very much an "Abrazo Way" which is what makes y'all so unique and special and awesome!

Just in closing (I had a couple more thoughts after re-reading your original post on Elaine's quote) - what we have learned through our experience is the only case where you can ethically (if that's even appropriate but I'll leave the debate on whether specifying a gender is or isn't ethical for another topic) is where a baby has already been born - so, either a BOG or an infant/toddler/child already being parented. I think educating prospective parents on this the moment they indicate they have a preference (to make sure everyone is on the same page in terms of how limited their preference is) is to everyone's benefit and if they realize that their preference is more than just a preference, then as we were advised - they need to consider an infant/toddler adoption rather than a newborn adoption. Also, I'm thinking you probably have these situations more in cases with "Againers" than those who are adopting/hoping to parent for the first time...we had a strong girl preference the first time but our desire to hurry up and become parents outweighed our preference for a daughter. This time, however - we feel we have more time and were willing to wait as long as it took - I just wonder if there are others who had a stronger preference the 2nd time (or 3rd) than they did the first time? Not really asking that as a question although it sounds as though I am...okay, must go catch up on sleep - this worrying about my surgery is keeping me up wayyy too much!

-Lisa

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