The 2010 Census shows that 51% of children born in the United States are boys. The Department of State’s Report on Intercountry Adoption recorded that boys make up only 38% percent of all children adopted by Americans outside the United States – quite disproportional when compared to the Census data.
Turns out that since prospective international adoptive parents often get to specify the gender of their desired child, they choose girls more often than they choose boys. Perhaps this is because adoption is frequently driven by prospective adoptive moms or perhaps the prospective adoptive families feel that a girl is easier to understand or to parent. Whatever, the reason, it’s clear that boys have the same right to a loving, permanent home as girls and as a mother of three boys, I cheer every time we are able to match a boy to a prospective family.
This preference for girls came to my attention soon after I started working for MLJ Adoptions nearly four years ago. A family turned down a referral of a male infant, opting to wait longer for a female infant. As a newcomer to the adoption world, I was taken aback that someone would turn down a healthy infant referral. Fortunately, another family came along and accepted him. I often think of that family and imagine the tremendous joy they must be experiencing raising their son.
My sons are older now; 19, 16 and 15. So I can say with certainty that raising three sons has been a journey filled with joy and so much laughter. Yes, when they are younger they can be loud and rambunctious and they are likely to leave a lot of Legos lying around on the floor (ouch!). And yes, they make for smelly teenagers, especially if hockey equipment is involved.
But they can also be loving, cuddly, smart, funny, well the list could go on and on. My favorite memories of the boys when they were younger are all four of us sitting in an oversized, yellow chair reading book after book together. Their passions ran deep and we devoured books on planes, numbers, nature and science. They amazed me with their curiosity and the connections and observations they made. Today, all three are on paths to explore those passions while I look lovingly and longingly over those shelves of picture books now gathering dust but never forgotten. I could not be more proud or happier about my role as a mother to three boys.
Aside from the joy in parenting boys, prospective adoptive parents should consider this potentially, significant advantage in choosing to adopt boys. The wait for a referral of a boy may be considerably shorter than if they request a healthy infant girl. Often the wait for a healthy girl can be double the wait for a healthy boy. International adoption can be a lengthy process filled with waiting. Why not select this potential path to shorten the wait?
Adoption should be primarily about finding homes for children without homes, not about meeting requirements established by parents. For many young boys around the world, this preference means spending years, or even their whole childhoods, in orphanages or foster care. Every child needs and deserves a loving, permanent home filled with unconditional love, the support of a parent and loads of books!
The MLJ Adoptions’ Waiting Child Photolisting includes many boys waiting for a family. For more information, please contact us.