Sunday, January 13, 2013

Adoptive Parent Rant

Humor me for a moment.  I'm about to do something I really try hard not to do:  question the choices other people make in parenting.  And really it's not even a parenting choice; it's more about a parent's choice. 

Can I tell you how crazy it makes me to watch potential adoptive parents continue to say how much they are looking for a girl?  I just saw someone who was online today, asking questions about adoption, specifically how long it would take to be matched with a girl because "we just believe some families were made for girls."  (I know I should not post quotes of what someone has said on an online forum and normally I would never do so but it just affects me so.  I in no way want to be seen as out to get any person for the words she has said, only to draw attention to how that comment might sound to others.)  Comments like that are made fairly regularly in the adoption world so really it's not just about what one person has said; it's more about a compilation of comments.

I certainly understand and respect a single parent who says I need to parent a child who is the same gender as I am.  I get how a single mom may have doubts about her ability to handle a teen of the opposite sex or help an older child of the opposite sex adjust to family living.  I certainly am okay with her choice to set out to adopt a girl.

But for the rest of us, let's call a spade a spade and say "I am making a choice and that choice may mean I wait a crazy long time waiting for a girl while boy after boy passes right on by."  I know there are all sorts of reasons people make the choices they do.  Things like a desire to provide a sister for the silbings or a desire to reuse the girl things a family may already have like clothes and toys.  Probably even practical reasons I haven't considered.  But I just have a hard time understanding choices made about gender, made before a specific child is even considered, the choice that says "we are only open to adoption if we can adopt a girl."

I understand that adoption involves a lot of very personal choices.  One of the very first things you do in an adoption is go through a checklist of special needs and decide what special needs you belive your family is capable of parenting.  I suppose some would say selecting a gender is similar to that.  But I can't help but think it's not.  Raising a boy does not require a special skill set, an extensive group of specialists, a life time of committment to caring for a child's basic needs, or access to specific resources. 

Raising a boy, while different than raising a girl, requires the same desire to pour out a 1 Corinthians 13 type love on a child.  That's it. 

(I suppose it might also require some extra Oxyclean and frequent flyer miles at your local hospital but even that is pretty child specific.  My first is a boy who is cautious and sensitive although little by the little, he is stepping out of those comfort zones.)

It breaks my heart to think of kids like my two boys being set aside not because their ages were not a good fit or because they had special needs that a family could not manage but simply because they were boys.  Yes, successful adoption is about managing expectations and matching your expectations and needs to an adoption situation.  But really?  Gender is the deal breaker?  I just don't get it.


Kathy C. said...

It's funny because I check the FL state adoption list every week--but only the boy's list. Kind of pointless anyway because we can't get our county to work with us, but stil....

Rose Anne said...

So know what you talking about! 11years ago when I was starting the process , people thought I was nuts. Single and wanting to adopt aboy. people kept saying are you sure?
God knew what he was donging because, I don't know what I would do without this not so little person in my life!!!

three little birds said...

Single mama to two boys (toddler and teen) and loving it, my gender in no way defines my ability to parent boys!