You’ve waited a long time to have a child. You have hoped, dreamed and planned for years. You have decided to adopt and now the time has come to start the process.
You always pictured yourself with a little girl, buying pretty dresses, doing her hair and playing dress up. He has always envisioned a son with whom he could toss a ball, build a fort and watch sports.
Before you start saying kids of both genders now play sports, cook, bake and dress stylishly—let’s focus on the issue here. Can you gender select when you adopt?
Let’s reflect a moment. If you got pregnant, you would have a 50-50% chance of having a girl (or boy). One of life’s surprises is finding out which. Unlike other countries in the world, it is doubtful you would end a pregnancy or give a child to another family because of its gender. You would love and raise the child. No?
But adoption is different. You have had so many disappointments. Why can’t you choose?
Domestic Adoption
Most domestic adoptions involve your connecting and working with a pregnant woman throughout her pregnancy. Most birthmothers do not know the gender of the baby. Some will ask if you want to know. However, they will have to wait until the OBGYN can tell by the sonogram. By then, you and the birthparent(s) will have a relationship. You will have an emotional tie. The birthparent(s) is counting on you, as you are on them. You have incurred expenses. It’s not so easy to walk away.
Many years ago (about 20 to 25), it was possible to have 2 prospective families work with an adoption situation—one wanting a boy and one wanting a girl. When the gender was known, often at birth, the family was notified and took home the baby of the chosen gender. This is no longer possible.
Some adoption agencies are able to work with a birth parent, not assigning the case to a prospective adoptive family until later in the pregnancy, thereby sometimes knowing the gender of the baby. On occasion a birthmother will not contact an adoption agency or attorney until she gives birth. Of course, then the gender is known.
The situations with known gender are infrequent. So again, think of your being pregnant. While you may have preferred a boy or a girl, you would have happily and lovingly raised a child of either gender. You need to think of adoption similarly—only another woman is carrying the baby to term for you.
International Adoption
Because children adopted internationally are already born and are classified as orphans prior to being referred for adoption, you may be able to specify a girl or a boy in your application. Based on criteria, such as gender, age, health or reason for placement—the adoption professionals working with you for your adoption may use this information to match you with a child.
However you should not choose international adoption solely because you can gender select. There are many facets to consider, a primary one being the cultural and ethnic heritage of the child. Your family will be intercultural. For many who adopt internationally, the adoption will be obvious to outsiders. People will tend to ask more questions, so be prepared. (You also have to be comfortable with having less medical and familial background information on your child.)
There are many things to consider when adopting, including the gender, age, health and background information of a child. Remember, if you were having a biological child you would have a 50-50% chance of it being a boy or a girl. However if you have your heart set on a girl or a boy, be very clear with the adoption professionals you are working with, listen to their advice and be aware that the more restrictive you are, the longer it may take to adopt.