Friday, May 2, 2008

Why Are You Requesting A...?

I thought being amongst other PAP/AP would be a safe space, but I have quickly found out, like in any other community, we have our problems.  I'm sure many of you can relate and have your own stories about confrontations or misunderstandings.  I guess I thought it would be a little different and I wouldn't have to explain myself so know: "why are you adopting from Ethiopia?"  Instead has turned into: "why are you requesting a girl?"  

This is a current conversation on one of the Ethiopian Adoption Boards: Why do we request certain children.  The author said she understands that people want girls, infants in particular because they are cute, cuddly, and have cuter clothes than boys, oh yes also because the infants are new...I can't forget that, but if we trust in God we should take what we get. 

Wow.  On one hand, reading between the lines, I think the author is simply concerned about the overwhelming interest in Ethiopian adoptions now that Vietnam adoptions are closing and China wait times have become extreme.  Families that never even considered Ethiopian children are now saying "let's get one of them instead." So is the switch true interest in Ethiopia and their children or just in the fastest route to becoming a parent?  

Now, on the other hand, I and other families who have chosen to go with an agency that gives the ability to choose the sex of their child has done so for whatever reason they have deemed works for them and who are we to judge them.  We do not live their life or their struggle.  Some families have all boys and finally want a girl, others plan on adopting a boy at a later date, some have no interest in boys or it may be the other way around.  Whatever it is, who are we to judge and it is oh so wrong to throw God up in the mix to try to make someone feel bad for their choices.  Anyway,  guess what?  He is already there.  If there is any judgement to be made he will make it at the appropriate time.    

Now, not that I owe anyone an explanation and you know I don't really care what anyone thinks, but I'm going to tell you why I have asked to be blessed with a baby girl.  I come from a matriarchal family, and am extraordinarily close with my mother, aunts, and was close with my grandmother until her death.  Many of my friends are in amazement of the closeness I have with my family, I want to pass that relationship onto my daughter.  After I was in the hospital for 2 1/2 weeks and my mother never left my side I knew I had to have a daughter FIRST (as I am also the oldest) in my family.  I fully intend to adopt a son in a few years, but I wanted to bring my daughter home first.  And since I am single and don't have any other children, adopting as young as possible was important to me.  That is my story and I'm sticking to it!


Tracey said...

The poster on the big group was probably less than articulate in what she was saying. What she may have meant, but completely left out, is the reason people worry about the huge demand for infant girls. Left with a choice, 80% of PAPs will choose girls That is not a problem in countries like China where it is mostly girls who are available for adoption. But in Ethiopia, boys and girls are in equal need of families. If some agencies did not restrict the ability to choose gender, boys would languish in orphanages, getting older and even less desirable. The agencies are trying to find families for all the kids in their care, not just the ones there is a huge demand for. That huge demand has led to corruption in other countries. Even China, where so many girls are abandoned, has had instances of baby girls being stolen from their families and sold to orphanages to fulfill the demand for baby girls. I believe that is the issue the poster was getting at. I personally knew I would love whatever child God sent if I had given birth, and saw no difference in adoption. But obviously many people (well most I guess judging from the 80% number) feel differently. And, there are clearly agencies who accommodate that desire. At this point, the demand for babies from Ethiopia is so high, and there are enough agencies who restrict gender selection in some way, that I don't think any Ethiopian baby boys sit around waiting for families. I know it happens more and more as the kids get older though.

graceling said...

I know several families who are requesting boys, and several who are open to gender (and yes, you can be open to gender and be referred a girl.)

Personally, I am a single mom. I have done this girl thing for 5 years with my bio daughter, Abigail. I think I have some of it, at least the basics of raising a girl, down pat (ie- how to put on tights, wipe front to back, and questions like "why do grown up ladies have breasts?") On the other hand, I have no clue how to raise a boy!

Under different circumstances, I might request a boy. Under my present circumstances, I know that the only way I can take on the challenges of having another child and the challenges associated with adoption, transracial adoption in particular, is to request a girl.

I am open to age (having raised my bio daughter, I know I could love a child of any age, and don't really feel as though I need the young/infant experience).

Every family is different. I feel it is unfair to compare adoption to bio children by saying that with a bio child you just get what comes and you have no choice, so therefore you should also be open to gender in adoption. That cheapens adoption, which is, at heart, a choice. And because it is a choice, there are often other elements of choice involved.

To compare adoption to bio kids and have the "take what you get" mentality is much like saying we should all be open to medical conditions since with bio kids we also may have to "take what we get" if the child has a medical problem.

Now I am all riled up and might have to go onto the big board and post this there:)

Anna said...

The interesting thing is, this is true in foster care as well. Boys wait longer to be adopted than girls. But as a parent who has requested an infant boy, I can tell you the wait is just as long. However, I still believe you have to make a decision based on what feels right to you (and I am definately not a god person) and not what is concerning other people.
I thought the big ethiopia group discussion was very informative. But I have to be in the mood to read that group, as there is much nievity and ignorance on there. Thank god for the moderators!

haze said...

Tami, I've also had this question asked of me before by other AP/PAPs. I wish people would leave THEIR judgments out of MY life and MY choices. I don't go around judging them.

Tracey brings up some really good points, but I think we've all thought them through already and knew what we were doing when (if) we made the decision to adopt a girl.

There are a myriad of ethical landmines to step around during the adoption process. Gender choice is just one of them. Consider the choice to adopt an infant or toddler instead of an older child or teenager. Some of us are open to children classifed with 'special needs,' some of us are not.

How you came to your decisions and where you choose to draw the line for YOUR OWN FAMILY is nobody's damned business but your own. I hate the lack of privacy that the adoption community sometimes tries to force.

BTW, I am like you. Obviously adopting an infant girl but hoping I can adopt a boy the second time around.

p.s. I haven't checked out the Yahoo Groups in a while, I guess I should go read this latest hot mess.

Robbin said...

Hey Tami, I'm glad to see you address this on your own forum. I responded a couple times to that post, I was just appalled at the judgment. I'm not going to repost all of my thoughts, but I will say my decision to take an infant girl was much like your own. Additionally I am dealing with ideal of raising a Black son by a single Black mom. I don't want to CHOSE that as a scenario. If I was pregnant could I love a son, absolutely. But coming from a single parent home where my mom had a son and a daughter, I saw first hand the struggles with raising a Black boy in urban America. I don't want that situation for me on top of the obvious struggles of single parenting.
The groups can definitely be a trip.


Tasha said...

i'm requesting a girl so i'll have a drinking buddy.

Katy said...

Depending on the day, my mood, and the various topics, I find the big board to be 1. a tremendous source of information unavailable elsewhere; or 2. one of the biggest wastes of time EVER.

People make the requests they make for so many different reasons and with so many diffrent interests in mind. I like reading your reasoning. I think you and Baby I will make a fabulous mother/daughter team.

Barbara said...

Interestingly, I've never been asked the gender question. I've been asked why adoption over giving birth, and why ethiopia, but never why I chose a girl. I've put that down to people not really putting their minds to the fact that I get to choose, since these questions have always come from non-adoptive parents. Anyway, like Haze, I'll probably go for a boy next time round (oh god I'm only leaving tomorrow for the first one - way too soon to talk about the second). We'll see if that generates any questions...