Gender Preferences in Adoption: Snips & Snails v. Sugar & Spice

Dawn Davenport


75-80% of families prefer to adopt a girl. Ever wondered why?

75-80% of families prefer to adopt a girl. Ever wondered why?

The old nursery rhyme presents the choice quite succinctly: you can have snips, snails, and puppy dog tails (presumably along with tailless dogs) or you can have sugar, spice and all things nice.  Most adoptive parents prefer sugar and spice.  Gender preference in adoption is very real.

Adoption agencies, both domestic and international, tell me that if given a choice, 75-80% of adoptive parents prefer to adopt girls.  It’s a sad irony that there are more boys available for adoption than girls.  Interestingly, numerous researcher have found that parents expecting a child by birth prefer a boy, at least for their first child.  Issues like this intrigue me, so I’ve spent more time than I’d like to admit thinking about why adoptive parents prefer to adopt girls.

Woman Want to Adopt Girls

Women are usually the drivers in the adoption process and many women prefer to parent girls.  As with most issues of the heart, the reasons aren’t entirely clear.  They may want to enjoy the same gender specific activities and toys of their childhood, or they think they will have a better handle on how to raise girls, having been one themselves.  Single woman often prefer girls because they believe it will be easier to raise a daughter without a father.  But I think the reason may be deeper.  I believe that many women are afraid of raising boys, assuming that boys are more active, disruptive, loud, and dirty; and that teenage boys will engage in more risky or challenging behavior.

What the Research Says

There isn’t a lot of research on parental gender preference, but the limited research that is available shows that many women think that their husbands are also more comfortable raising a girl.  Dr. Kristine Freeark, a clinical psychologist specializing in adoption and a professor at the University of Michigan, notes that the perception of what the husband wants is a very influential factor in preferring a girl.  She points out that her research does not address whether this perception is accurate.

Family Keepers

The matriarchal nature of our society may also play a role.  It is more often the daughters that are the keepers of the family traditions, planners of the family reunions, and schedulers of the grandparent visits.  Parents may subconsciously be trying to position themselves on the inside track with their adult child’s family.

Daughters are also more likely to be the caregivers for aging parents.  As my husband, Peter, so inelegantly tells our kids, “In a couple of years I’m going to need someone to wipe the drool off my chin, and one of you will be the lucky one.”  (He says this to both our sons and daughters who are equally disgusted at the thought.)  We all know exceptions to this generalization, and we expect that our son will be one of these exceptions; but, perhaps on a subconscious level, parents may think daughters are a surer bet for being old-age drool wipers.

The Dress Up Factor

There is also what I call the “China doll” effect.  Girls, especially Asian and Latino girls, are sometimes perceived as pretty little dolls to be dressed up and looked at.  They often receive attention for their looks and parents may enjoy the reflected glory.  Regardless of race or ethnicity, many mothers look forward to buying clothes for their baby girl and putting their hair up in cute little pigtails or topnots.

Don’t misunderstand me: life is undoubtedly easier for the attractive and enjoying your child’s beauty and the compliments they receive is fine.  I think, however, it helps to acknowledge if this is part of the motivation for wanting a girl since not all girls gracefully fit this stereotype.  You may get one of the rough and tumble, nose-picking variety.  Even if your daughter fits the bill, you will have the added challenge of helping her understand that she is more than her looks; she is also smart, strong, and capable.

Scary Boy Factor

The reverse of the China doll syndrome is the “scary minority adolescent male” syndrome.  I think male teens have a negative image in our society, and this is especially the case with minority males.  Parents may have this stereotype in mind when thinking about parenting a black, Hispanic or Asian boy.  Plus, President Obama not withstanding, there are not as many positive male role models in the media for Latinos, Asians, and African Americans.  It is hard for many parents to imagine parenting Jackie Chan.

Cuddle Factor

And then there is the cuddle factor.  Most parents begin the adoption journey after spending years dealing with infertility.  These years of pent up desire for a child to hold and nurture can feed the desire to adopt a girl since girls are perceived as being more affectionate and responsive to cuddling.  Further, our society discourages doting on boys.  One woman I talked to summed it up well, “It is more socially acceptable to spoil a girl, and quite frankly,  I want to do some spoiling.”

Bloodline Factor

The family name has traditionally been passed through the males of a family and some families are less willing to have a male outside their blood line carry the name into future generations.  Most liberated modern folks don’t consciously subscribe to this belief, but on an unconscious level they may be vulnerable or may think that grandparents will be more accepting of an adopted daughter since she would have less impact on the family name.

My View from the Trenches

Before starting my family I definitely sided with the sugar and spice side in the battle of the sexes.  Now, two sons and two daughters later, I have a different view.  While I would never deny that there are differences between boys and girls, my experience and research shows that there are more differences within a gender than there are between the genders.  Also, the “easiest” has more to do with the personality of the child and the parent than on the gender. The child that we find easiest to raise is usually the child that fits the best with our personality.

While the loudest of my children is a boy, one daughter is a close second.  The calmest of my children is a boy.  The most talkative of my kids is a boy, but the one who talks most freely about emotions is a girl.  I should also add that the one least likely to share her emotions is the other girl.   By far the sweetest of all my kids is a boy (at least that was the case until he turned 13, but I’ve concluded that all 13 year olds are developmentally incapable of being sweet, and I still have hope that he’ll revert to his sweet self when he is older).  All four of mine are slobs and pack rats.  All four hated showers, brushing teeth, changing underwear, and all other forms of personal hygiene until the appeal of the opposite sex beckoned.

I haven’t seen much difference in parental anxiety in the teen years based on the gender of the child.  I worry about them all, and the one I worry about the most changes daily.  If forced to pick, I’d have to say that the “hardest” is one son, but the “easiest” is the other son—so far at least.  But I still have one daughter left to go, so all bets are off.

Undeniably, girls are more fun to dress until they develop a fashion sense of their own (and I use the word “fashion” quite loosely), which usually hits around the age of five.  From that point on they are harder and more expensive to dress.  As they age, you find yourself forced to ask questions such as “Who in their right mind would pay that much for a pair of jeans?” and “Where, outside of a red light district, would you wear that?”

I now feel blessed to have children of both genders and of all different personality types.  The “easiest” varies depending on developmental stage (mine and theirs) and personality (mine and theirs).  For me, a little snail and tail mixed with my sugar and spice is the best of all worlds.

Did you have a preference of gender when you adopted? If so, why?

Originally published in 2009. Updated in 2015
Image credit: jcbonbon (note cards available)

30/12/2015 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Adoption, Adoption Blog, Blog | 53 Comments

53 Responses to Gender Preferences in Adoption: Snips & Snails v. Sugar & Spice

  1. Pingback: A/S/L – All the Single Mommies

  2. Avatar Jeff says:

    I have for awhile wanted to adopt a older child. I would like the child to be male. I dont have lots of money but I do have a nice home and i can give the boy the attention and love that he deserves. If anyone knows how this could happen i woulc be so greatful. I.really would like to avoid agencies.

    • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

      Jeff, Creating a Family has lots of resources on how to adopt older children on our Adoption A-Z Resource Guide ( ). Most older children are adopted either from US foster care or internationally. An agency is required for both. Intensive pre-adoption education and a home study is and should be required.

    • Avatar MARK H CROSS says:

      actually as a adoptive father of a son I can tell you that he was super easy. The females in my family where absolut hell to have around and because of that I do not want daughters. But it does depend on each individual.

  3. Avatar Raffaella says:

    Absolutely a daughter / daughters.
    I know the relationship between sisters , between girls who are cousines , how a little girl imitates wants to be a lookalike of her mother , how many children were raised by a strong single mother , I want a strong daughter .
    I want a girl to continue the family name , to change mentalities and not to give up her name like it used to be for nearly all.
    Also because daughters for life , sons until wives.
    Adopted children have stories before and not easy and men are way numerous more in jails in most countries I know and it starts from the childhood.
    My hubby prefers to have a girl too. When his parents had one daughter they did not believe it for days.
    Also because little girls in so many countries do not have the access to schools , are used in poor countries which do not want international adoption openned for their children , girls end being sexual objects and it happens in several continents.
    To me , it is pretty normal to be one who would help such a princess who ignores she deserves to be treated correctly. And to see life through colorful clothes we can find for girls.

  4. Avatar Amie says:

    I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 8 and although technically I’m able to get pregnant I’ve always known I wouldn’t because of the health risks. Thankfully my husband was fine with not having biological children and jumped on the adoption band wagon easily. When we put together our dossier we didn’t put down a gender preference and were told that pretty much meant we’d have a boy. We were ecstatic and to this day I can’t imagine our lives any differently. Our son is our world. If we were to adopt again my husband would want a daughter if given the choice. I think I’d prefer another little boy. I like being a Mom to boys, I’d love to have 3 of them! At the end of the day though gender doesn’t make much of a difference to us, we are just happy to have a happy, healthy and loving child.

  5. Avatar Brianna says:

    I think another thing that you’ve maybe overlooked is the past history of the adoptive parents. Specifically, abuse history. Someone who may have been abused, physically, sexually, emotionally, may be feel they would rather raise a girl based on fear of a male. I know that is definitely a reasoning of my own, first subconscious until I did a little soul searching and actually realized it. After a long history of being abused as a child by a male, I have a somewhat fear of males, especially adolescent-adult. And while a little baby boy is amazing, they do grow up. And I think that could be a factor keeping some people from choosing puppy dog tails.

    • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

      I’m so sorry you had to experience that Brianna.

    • Avatar Sara says:

      I too was abused, and was scared to find out I was pregnant with boys. But they are exactly what I needed. I get to see their kind hearts, and their deep, protective love for ME. wow. They LOVE me. Being abused gave me a false image of how “all men are”.
      My boys helped change that image for me.
      Maybe raising them to be good men will help change that image for other women. Xoxo

      • Tracy Whitney Tracy Whitney says:

        Sara, thanks for sharing that. That’s really beautiful. Raising good men who respect and honor women is a great purpose!!!!

  6. Avatar MJ says:

    I’m an infertile, adoptive mom, and foster mom. This article basically hits the nail on the head for me. I was not shy at all when we started our foster process that I wanted girls. We have one really really large room with 3 beds where I pictured 3 sisters. Amazingly, not ONCE were we called by DSS for multiple children of the same gender!! So, that dream will never happen and now we’re considering rearranging the furniture to suit what is happening in reality! I imagined it would be far-fetched a bit for DSS to place sisters with us for one reason: we specifically requested to avoid sexual abuse victims and since girls are so susceptible to that I thought we might really never have a set of girls. I was the one driving the process, and my husband was all for girls too, probably mostly for the bloodline reason, although that is truly conjecture. I grew up with one older brother who is shy and quiet and reads a lot. He was not rowdy and the typically-thought-of male. He was into science, medicine, and Tae Kwon Do. Maybe part of my desire to want girls was because I did not have a sister which I always wanted. I wanted someone to share clothes with and have tea parties with and go on dates with and shop with. Since I did not get that growing up, I do not want to miss out on that as a mom. I imagine it will be easier for me to bond/connect/relate/converse with a girl. I actually think that bonding with an adopted son is harder for the mom. When we were selected to foster to adopt, it was for a 2.5 year old boy. We said yes, and I’m so glad we did, he’s a great kid that we love immensely. But I still think that I will relate betters to girls. I am one. I like what girls like. I was so ready for dress up and tea parties and instead for the time being I got train tracks. My heart’s desire is not playing train but I do because I love my son. He is potty training now and the other day I saw him start to urinate not really knowing it wasn’t going to go into the toilet and sure enough he peed on the shower curtain. I immediately thought, “This does not happen with girls!!!”

    • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

      Actually, it can happen. One of my daughters had seen a little boy pee standing up and she decided to make it her life goal to learn how to do that when she was around 3. I can’t tell you how much pee I cleaned up before she finally succeeded if somewhat messily (yes, it can be done with persistence). 🙂

    • Avatar JoJo says:

      It’s possible that you could get your wish, but also be aware that girls may not live up to the fantasy you’ve put in your head. What if the girl you adopt is a tomboy? Also, there’s no promise that siblings will get along, since it usually comes down to whether their personalities mesh or not. I know sisters that don’t even talk, especially since one would always sleep with the guys that the other was interested in. Some siblings get along great, others never really get along.

      Additionally, one of my friend’s daughters decided that smearing her feces on the wall would be fun and was the hardest out of all of her kids to potty train (she was almost 4 when she finally decided to stop wearing diapers). So, it really comes down to the personality of the child. I don’t mean to be a negative nancy, but I think in order to avoid hurt feelings you should consider that girls may not live up to the expectation you have for them either.

  7. Avatar Infertile Male says:

    I definitely want a daughter. I have a strong desire to parent a little girl. I know of the challenges raising a daughter–that is part of the appeal for me!! For example, I would look forward to being that protective dad that interviews his daughter’s dates and makes sure that some boy does not come along and break her heart. I see that dads and daughters have a very special bond, from what I can tell there is nothing quite like it. AS a man whose emotional make up is closer to that of a woman than a man, I think I would be a better father to a daughter. I did a blog post of this topic last month that lays out in great detail my reasons for wanting a little girl.

  8. Avatar Alida says:

    Great post Dawn. I have enjoyed reading it and it might be true for most families. For us, we had a son, so naturally we’d like a daughter too so we’re in the process of adopting a daughter. If we had a daughter first, then we’d be adopting a boy, so we can have a son. We always ‘dreamed’ …. at the time (14 years ago) we didn’t actually think we could really pull it off and have the resources one day to adopt …. but we’d say: “We’ll have one child, and then adopt the opposite sex … that way we’ll be sure to have one of each.” Now, a decade and a half later we are actually adopting ….. incredible!!! I’m so excited. Son I’ll not only have a son, but also a daughter.

  9. Avatar Boy's Mama says:

    I learned about this statistic when I started the adoption process and decided I did not want to choose based on gender. I have to admit though that I really did want a boy from the beginning. Boys are just more fun (if you like outdoor activities and sports which I do). I love rough and tumble play and think it’s fun to go to the park to find bugs and lizards ; ) I just thought we’d “fit” better together and so far that’s true.

    I’ll add that my son loves to cuddle. I have a friend that had a bio girl and wouldn’t put up with any cuddling after about 10 months of age. Just shows, you never know.

    • Boy’s Mama, I agree that it is impossible to predict cuddling based on gender. Of my 4 kids, the cuddliest is one son. The other son, while not all that cuddly as a kid, is now in college, and he ALWAYS ends every phone conversation with us with “love you”. He was also the most open to publicly kissing us, including in the hallway outside of fifth grade on the first day of school. Can’t say the same about the other 3. 🙂

    • Avatar Raffaella says:

      I want a daughter for the exact outdoors activities , it would be less of a mess to me . I was such child , my hubby too and we did not end with the same preserved bodies , I mean scars , dirty clothes and so on. He even had a surgery. Growing up , he is not fan of outdoors activities , while I am for sports and to be close to animals , insects , the nature.
      I was not a cuddle girl , nor my brother and as grown up , our mother will tell you about her son “we was not like that younger” , my hubby had done things who were not correct towards his mother too older.

  10. When we adopted each child through domestic adoption, we had no preference and we had no idea what each girl’s gender would be.

    Regarding the cuddle factor, one mom (along with her husband) who adopted an older girl from China said that she could not imagine bringing an older boy into the home and offering him all the affection that such a child entering a family may need. It is probably more acceptable to be demonstrative to a girl than to a boy, but the amount of physical affection needed is more a factor of the child’s personality and his or her past circumstances than the child’s gender. I admire this mom for being so honest. There are many reasons why parents prefer one gender (usually a girl) that are even unknown to the adoptive parents.

  11. Avatar Angela says:

    I too am in the minority . . . the older that I became, the more I sided with wanting boys (if given the choice). I originally started off adulthood thinking it would be nice to have a boy and a girl, but then life quickly reveals how much more difficult it is to be a woman in this society and expect the same attention/respect/pay/advancement etc. as men. By the time of my mature adulthood, I came to the conclusion that I really didn’t want to have a girl that would undoubtedly go through the amount of inequity that I experienced in my life. Let alone trying to balance your many expected “roles”, all the appearance stuff, and expecting to “look good” throughout an entire lifetime. It is too much. Overall, I was extremely elated to have been referred an amazing boy for adoption a few years ago and are now in process to adopt his full sibling brother. I love the “boy world” and would not change anything!!! I and am forever grateful my boys and could not imagine life without them 🙂

    • Avatar Masearte says:

      I am with you I was never a tom boy, actually a girly girl. I also grew up with mainly women, I have a strong bond with my mother and 3 sisters. I couldn’t imagine life without them, because we are so close. As someone who is a feminist and is around mainly women, this comes to a shock to people when I admit as a WOMEN I am in the minority in that when I decide to have children I would prefer a boy. I have read many articles that reveal more women prefer girls and many don’t care but they are closey even while many men prefer boys overwhelmingly to girls. The reason I want a boy is because although I’m grateful for the women in my life, I have always wanted to see what it was like on the other side raising a boy. I am 23 years old, I’m not ready for a child yet, but for when that time comes I would prefer a boy, and my boyfriend strongly prefers a boy. I also disagree on the whole it’s more acceptable to spoil boys because although most women prefer girls, many women at least uncounciously spoil their boys more and are much more leinit. I guess I’m guilty of wanting to spoil my little boy, and having that special mother and son bond that mothers of sons talk about. It’s crazy I have dreamed so much about my little boy even in my dreams, and I can’t wait until it comes true ☺️

  12. Avatar Emily says:

    We are considering adopting an older child from foster care. We have 2 bio kids; a 5 yo boy and 7 yo girl. We would be adopting a child older than our bio kids (yes, we are considering adopting out of birth order). I prefer adopting a boy. I am a tomboy and think it would be easier to relate to a boy as they tend to be more athletic. I also think that my son would benefit greatly from having another boy around. He is surrounded by girls. On our street the kids his age are all girls. His cousins that live close enough to see frequently are all girls. He is often left out. My husband on the other hand prefers a girl. His number 1 concern about adoption is the safety of our bio kids. Since many older kids in foster care have abusive pasts he feels a girl would be less likely to turn into the abuser and harm our bio kids. He thinks a girl would be a safer choice. I haven’t found any evidence one way or the other.

    • Emily, I haven’t seen any evidence one way or the other either. If you are referring to the child’s propensity to act out sexually after having been sexually abused, I would guess that it is a risk for both genders, but how they act out may differ. This is information you will be given in your foster care training, so you can make the decision on gender further down the road.

  13. Avatar Laura Jean says:

    I wonder how gender norms and stereotypes influence these decisions, expectations and reality for families. You certainly touch on these ideas but without specifically referring to gender norming which is so very pervasive in our culture. As a feminist I find is really disgusting.

    I certainly remember some research as a child psych undergrad that demonstrated the importance of same sex role models, and I can understand where a single parent might feel they can better meet those needs of a child that is the same gender.

    Having adopted a daughter in the past year, I find this article very interesting as we have worked very hard to minimize gender stereotyping in our house. It’s been challenging as family and friends seem to think a little girl “needs” frilly things and Barbie dolls. I’m not against these things but I want my daughter to tell us what she is interested in. So far that’s been a nice balance of playing with dirt, trains, and her doll house.

  14. Avatar Laura Jean says:

    Dawn, I think it’s very challenging to study this and to be aware of just how deep gender norming goes. It is so pervasive the way we talk to infant girls and boys can be so different from the very start. There may be gender differences but parsing out which ones are innate and which ones we encourage thereby influencing which genes become active during development we are a long way from figuring out. I think as human beings men and women are more alike then we are different and that many of those differences are influenced by our culture. But I think your post and a previous post about adopting boys is thought provoking for me anyway about how we perceive what our sons and daughter will be like based on gender and expectation. As a preschool teach I became very aware of gender norming and now that I am a parent I’m painfully aware of even my own limitations. When my daughter asked me about the big house on our money, I told her it was where the president lives and she asked if she could live there without thinking I told her she could grow up and marry a president, then I tried to correct myself and tell her she could be president and then ironically I realized she couldn’t be the president of the US because she was born in Russia. But even as aware as I am or try to be those subconscious ideas stick with us. In my family it is true there is a value on girls for being the ones who hold the family together. In 1955 when my mother was born the third girl the doctor was a afraid to bring her out to show my grandfather but my grandfather said he was glad she was healthy and that daugthers always come home. As we think about adding more children to our family I think it would be a shame not to have a son as my husband is such a great role model and I want there to be more men like him in the world, who do laundry, cook, and shop. Alas our daughter is convinced she would prefer a sister.

  15. A little late to the conversation here but I wanted to add the voice of another older, single mother/little boy adoption. I have two sons, one almost thirteen (yikes!!) and one two and a half who just recently joined our family. Both of my boys are active, messy, joyful, and very very snuggly. Little boys (and big boys too) can be just as loving and communicative and fulfilling as you would imagine little girls to be. Thanks so much for this great post!

  16. Avatar WantToAdopt says:

    What also drives me a little crazy is when people who already have a girl or girls, specify girls still and I still see that happening. So moms with boys want to adopt girls, and moms with girls want to adopt girls. The first scenario makes sense to me. Personally I would love to adopt a girl, THEN a boy since so many people want girls. It bugs me… But since I can’t seem to get my husband to adopt AT ALL none of this seems likely 🙁

  17. Avatar WantToAdopt says:

    With two bio boys I want to adopt a girl. My husband has fought me for over 9 YEARS on adoption or even having another bio child (too late now for another bio now). He has NEVER wanted a girl and is 100% happy with parenting only his own gender. It’s so easy to say “they don’t know what boys are like” or “We have both and appreciate them equally” once you had a chance to HAVE both. Why am I such a BAD person because I want to have a parenting experience biology didn’t give me? My husband has told me I don’t love our sons because I wanted a girl as well ! And that is 100% untrue as I love them with all my heart. Did other women who had a girl suddenly stop loving their boys when they got a girl?

  18. Avatar Michelle says:

    Adoption 2012: Unless you adopt internationally (which continues to decline) or through foster care- both types of adoptions the children are born- it is rare to be able to gender select with newborn adoptions.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Michelle, good point. It is not OK to accept an match with an expectant woman, and then decline the match after birth if the child does not match the gender you think you would prefer. Most domestic adoption agencies do not allow gender specification, but the gender may be “known” through ultrasound prior to birth.

  19. Avatar Dina says:

    Hi Dawn, I LOVE your podcast. Thank you so much for being such an inspiration and source of wisdom for me! I read this article with great interest, because I would prefer to adopt girls, while my husband wants a boy. So we might go for a mixed couple (we are both flexible though).

    I find it interesting that you quote someone as saying society finds it more acceptable to spoil a girl. I don’t have that impression at all. On the contrary, I find mothers of boys are way more lenient with them, and society seems to think that is okay. If a boy shows wild behaviour that is accepted as part of being a boy. A girl is scolded for the same behaviour. Mothers of girls seem to expect them to do chores much earlier than boys. IF boys are expected to do any chores at all, they are often paid for them, whereas girls are expected to do them for free.

    These observations are supported by research by the way (I read this a while ago though). Mothers of boys were more lenient in the studies: They reacted faster if their male baby started to cry and stuck less rigidly to feeding times. Girls were scolded for behaviours, boys could display without being scolded and so on and so forth.

    I totally agree with you on everyone is different though. I think, how boys and girls behave has more to do with personality than gender – plus the (sub-)cultures they grow up in.

  20. I also looked into adopting a girl. Do you think that most families prefer girls because of the concern that boys with their testosterone can be more unpredictable and perhaps more of a parental challenge?"75-80% of adoptive parents prefer to adopt girls"

  21. Avatar Chris says:

    Interesting. I hadn’t realized the difference b/w birth preferences and adoption preferences. We have two kids, a boy and a girl and we love them both so much. We have said that we’ll take whatever gender God brings us through adoption though if true choice be told – my husband (who is likely to get his wish) leans a little toward boy and I lean a little toward girl – but the preferences are mild b/c we see the joys of both children regardless of gender.

  22. Avatar welovethechildren says:

    Yes.. I do def want another boy.. they are easier to raise and not as emotional in the pre teen and teen years.. and also with being young adults too.. I am an older mom , married and have 5 by adoption and 3 by birth. So, if we adopt again.. we want a boy for sure!

  23. Avatar Linda says:

    I am in the minority here! I am a single woman, who always wanted boys. When I tried to get pregnant, I always imagined I would have a girl (not sure why) but when I went to adopt, i was open to either gender, knowing I would likely have a boy. And I was VERY happy when I was referred a boy from Guatemala and LOVE having a boy. I dreaded having to play Barbie and worry about a 5 year old wanting make up. I was a “tomboy” and love sports. I know a girl might not have wanted to play Barbie, but I really wanted a boy. If I can ever afford to adopt again, I would probably adopt another boy!

  24. Avatar Amanda says:

    We have three bio boys, ages 9, 6 and 3. They are the dearst, cutest things on earth. I always thought I’d have girls, but was blessed with boys. Now, I see little girls and think they are cute, but not as adorable as little boys–something about that whiny girl talk turns me off. We hope to adopt, and I would be fine with a boy. Do I think they are more tiring? Yes. But I also think we need strong boys who grow into strong men and lead their families, especially in the minority community. Girls tend to be good mothers and stick with their kids regardless–dads are more iffy, so I view it as more helpful to adopt a boy.

  25. Avatar Heather says:

    We are trying to adopt for the third time and are hoping for a girl this time around. Initially we were asked to foster our oldest son and had already completed the paperwork to begin a Guatemalan adoption. Since we were placed with a foster son and they were to share a room we chose a boy from Guatemala. Now I would love to add a girl or really two girls. To me two boys close in age (they are 6 mo apart) and two girls close in age (up to two years aprt) seems ideal so that when they grow up they can more easily relate to each other. Also I do feel that in general girls maintain closer relationships with their parents than boys do once they have their own family. So, that my perspective.

  26. Avatar Erin says:

    Great post. Agree with the various theories you considered. Couple other thoughts: 1. Autism is more prevalent in males 2. Many adoptive parents are older and perhaps feel they have less energy to parent a stereotypical toddler/young boy.

  27. Avatar Mimi says:

    We noticed that the waiting period for getting matched with a baby girl is way longer than a baby boy and we just wanted to give a baby a home so we decided to be open to both and be suprised (we knew it would most likely be a baby boy) and we were blessed with a referral of a cute 2 month old boy. He will soon turn 5 and we just recently adopted a little brother for him who just turned 1. It was interesting because some of our friends were suprised that we would adopt another boy and kept saying things like ” you don’t want a girl? why didn’t you choose a girl?”. The truth is if the wait time was shorter I might have considered it but we love our boy to death and now I have some experience with all the boy toys so why not get him a brother for life.

  28. Avatar Lisa RM says:

    Great post. I had always wanted a girl, but can’t imagine one now that I have my son. I think you’re spot on about the “scary minority male” factor, though.

  29. Avatar Anonymous says:

    interesting post, it brought up a lot of things i hadn’t thought about. while we are now 14 weeks pregnant after 3yrs of fertility treatments, IUI’s and IVF’s; we are seriously considering adopting when we want to add to our family next time.

    i loved when you were decribing your children! best part of the post!


  30. Avatar Bonnie says:

    It always amazes me that so many people prefer girls! I have read several articles on this and you have addressed it wonderfully! When we went to adopt I was 27 and we thought we would be getting a girl b/c we were only familiar with China adoption really. I found out I was too young for China and we changed to Guatemala and immediately opted for a boy. My husband wanted someone to “carry on the family name” ironically and we thought our oldest should be a boy. Plus I am NOT into princesses and pink and I dreamt of a “Momma’s Boy” of my own. We adopted the most gorgeous little boy I have ever seen. He is 3 and a half now and I still think he is infinitely more fun to dress than our twin baby girls (via surrogate after multiple failed second adoption efforts). I love our girls, don’t get me wrong, but if we adopt again it will be a baby boy. I think it is a shame that people have misconceptions about parenting boys! Another interesting fact, four of my friends adopted and they all opted for boys, though each one stated it was because they were easier to get and they had no preference..

  31. Avatar Kathy says:

    Very interesting post! Thank you for sharing! My sister and brother-in-law are in the waiting to be matched stage of domestic adoption, so I am enjoying learning what I can about different aspects of adoption to appreciate what they are going through and support them in any way I can.


  32. Avatar Maribee says:

    I am adopting as a single woman and admittedly fall into the cliche of wanting to adopt a daughter. I have to share that probably the ONLY negative thing about the online IA community has come from those offended by the idea of anyone having a gender preference. There is a good amount of backlash about this. I ask everyone to remember that everyone’s road is different and no ones is wrong. For me, it has nothing to do with beauty or a perception of “easier” or any preconceived notion of who my child will be. Rather it’s just that I suspect I’ll have one chance to parent and having a mother-daughter relationship, as I had, is a life goal.

  33. Avatar Wendy says:

    This is an excellent post, Dawn! I am well-read on adoption but have NEVER seen the gender preference issue analyzed so well. Thanks for this insight. You have added something valuable to the adoption community today.

  34. Avatar Marni Levin says:

    I found this topic very interesting as I’d wondered exactly the same thing myself! I came from a mostly female family and always visualized having an adorable little daughter as someone I could identify with. But instead I had three bio boys before my little girl finally showed up. The boys were more exhausting to raise when they were little but were easier as teenagers. My daughter from age 13 – 17 was impossible! After that we became good friends again. She is 21 now, just left home and we really miss each other.
    My dh and I are hoping to bring our adopted kids home soon, one of each kind!

  35. Avatar Tara says:

    My adoption agency asks that we not reject children because of gender, but I do prefer a girl. I ‘m not around men in my life, all of my friends are women and most of the relatives that I am close to with the exception of my brother. My work is with and about women, my activism has been about women.
    Plus I really like pink and purple and butterflies, girly stuff. But I am preparing myself to parent any gender. I keep hearing that boys are easier to raise. I’m sure it is all about personality, we’ll see (hopefully sooner rather than later!

  36. Avatar Debbie says:

    I am the mom of 3 boys who are all grown now. There is something very special about the relationship between a mom and son. However, when we decided to adopt, we wanted to experience being parents to a little girl, so we requested a girl. When we decided to adopt a second time, we decided to request another girl. Not because we enjoy parenting girls more than boys, but we didn’t want our daughter to be the only girl and we felt that having two girls would allow them to share feeling with each other about adoption at a level a girl and boy may not share. Yes, I realize this is much more dependent on the personality of the two children, but I also realize there are some big differences between the emotions of boys and girls.
    If I had my way, we would be adopting more than two children. Needless-to-say, my husband has a say in this and is saying ‘no.’ However, I can honestly say that if we were to ever adopt a 3rd and/or 4th child. We would be completely open to gender and would likely request boys.

  37. I think we always felt fairly certain that we’d pursue the adoption of a girl, even through the early years of raising our bios. But when our bio daughter became old enough to voice her ideas and preferences, the idea of adopting a girl became cemented for us. As she put it (the lone girl in the middle of three “all boy” brothers), “There’s enough boys around here. We need a girl.” She was right, adding another girl to the mix has been delightful – and I’m grateful that the boys have her to “soften” their teen boy tendencies. They just turn to mush around her now!

    It’s still a strong desire in us, to adopt a second girl. But now, I’m not sure if the preference lies in the desire for some balancing of the gender scales or pure familiarity at this point.

    Before any kids came along for us, I think we were just happy to have whatever God brought along. Especially that first time around. I don’t remember having a strong preference for gender before being pregnant the first time. Maybe my difficult miscarriage colored that, too.

  38. Avatar Jennifer York says:

    I am reluctant to say I have a very strong gender preference. The image in my head of my future always included 3 girls. I always assumed my fantasy daughters would naturally fall into place when the time came. My husband felt the same. When I got pregnant, we reached the 16-week ultrasound and the tech turned to me and said, “He’s showing off today!” and my life was forever changed. I am very grateful to have my son, who is an absolute joy. But, after we decided to adopt, we still chose to adopt a baby girl. I was raised by a single mother and my grandmother, and I have always just felt that I could really prepare a girl to meet the world’s demands better. The thought of helping a boy negotiate the twists and turns of life is much more daunting to me, maybe because their perspective is so unfamiliar to me. I’m not sure why or how my husband feels the way he does about it. It is interesting to note that gender selection is not only limited to adoption these days, but is now also possible with pregnancy.

  39. Avatar N.P. Lindy says:

    I had no idea. I find this really interesting. I’m not at the adoption stage (yet), but I have to admit that I would probably prefer to adopt a girl. I guess I thought I was unique. I also thought my husband would prefer this, but after reading you blog, I asked him and he said he didn’t care, but it would be really nice to have a BOY. I was surprised. We are going to keep trying for another year to get pregnant, but then we’re going to adopt. I’m going to do some thinkinng on this whole gender preference stuff, while we try. Maybe we’ll go for a boy or say we’ll take either. Thanks for this thought provoking blog. You always give me something to think about.

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