Can You Guess the Most Special Need in Adoption?

Dawn Davenport


10 Reasons why you should adopt a boy

Honestly, who else other than a little boy could get into your lipstick and still make you laugh? Consider adopting a boy.

Special need is such an ambiguous and broad adoption term that it is almost meaningless. It encompasses children in need of adoption because of cosmetic conditions, such as a birthmark, older children, sibling groups, “minor” medically correctable conditions, and significant life altering conditions. Special needs adoption means all of these, although the trend is clearly away from the cosmetic and minor towards the more involved conditions, age, and siblings. Basically special needs require additional care and make a child harder to place. On yesterday’s Creating a Family show we talked about the most common special needs in waiting children and how the special need adoption process differs from the traditional adoption process.


Most Common Reason a Child Waits for Adoption

The most common reason for a child to be harder to place for adoption is … {drum roll please} being born male. Yep, being a boy is the most “handicapping” condition in adoption—especially international adoption and foster care adoption.

Martha Osborne, the founder of the great special needs advocacy website, Rainbow Kids, with photolistings of over 1,700 children needing families, said on the Creating a Family show that young (around 24 months) little boys with relatively minor special needs are currently waiting for families, while parents wait years for a girl of similar age and severity of special need.

Ten Reasons Why You Should Consider Adopting a Boy

  1. You will learn how to make that vroom, vroom noise that makes your lips vibrate in a great tingly sort of way.
  2. You would MUCH rather have a sleep-over with a group of tween boys than a group of girls. (Trust me on this one!)
  3. Little boys adore their mothers. (Ever heard of Oedipus? OK, that’s an icky example, but there is something extra special about the mother-son relationship.)
  4. A little girl will never say, “Oh mom, can’t we just roll around on the floor for awhile?”
  5. They don’t hold grudges.
  6. You won’t have to play with Barbies and won’t be stepping on those gosh-awful, anatomically bizarre, bunion-inducing Barbie high heels .
  7. They are cheaper to dress.
  8. You’ll only pay for the rehearsal dinner rather than the whole wedding.
  9. You’ll come to understand men in a way that is only possible from mothering one.
  10. They are such darn fun!

Come on mothers of sons, give us your top reasons why others should consider adopting a boy?

Image credit: jessicafm

22/08/2013 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Adoption, Adoption Blog, Blog | 43 Comments

43 Responses to Can You Guess the Most Special Need in Adoption?

  1. Avatar Christina says:

    Boys aren’t as snarky as girls. Unless your boy is gay, and then it doesn’t show until adulthood, usually. 🙂

  2. Carolyn Tarpey Carolyn Tarpey says:

    I chose to adopt a boy and I ADORE him to pieces and would not trade my boy for anything! Boys are the BEST!!!

  3. Janet Fields Jaworski Janet Fields Jaworski says:

    Love the ones already on the list. Others come to mind are:

    They are not picky about clothes/shoes and don’t need any accessories; not moody/dramatic; love the outdoors and don’t mind getting dirty; Halloween is a breeze (firefighter, policeman, cowboy – all easy to pull together!); love to help take the garbage out!

    • I love the one about Halloween. And when they get older there is always the soccer player (wearing their own soccer uniform) or hippy (wearing ratty clothes, which are of course, their own clothes). Of course, I have to say that my girls were easy for Halloween because I am a costume-challenged mother. One of my girls went as a cat for 4 years running.

  4. Janet Fields Jaworski Janet Fields Jaworski says:

    Boys rock! So happy we didn’t specify gender when we adopted from Guatemala! Love our sweet Will!

  5. Avatar Jenn says:

    I would love to bring a little boy into our family. I am a single mom of a beautiful little girl, but adopting as a single is difficult…so my question is…since China is now allowing single women to adopt SN children, one of the limitations is that the youngest child in the home has to be 6+ (my daughter is 3 1/2), will they consider a waiver on that rule? I don’t want to wait 3 1/2 years for the possibility of bringing home my little man, and I’m not getting any younger :). Anyone have insight on that?

  6. Avatar PNG says:

    Hi from ICLW! You’re right, I would never have guessed. I had given birth to three girls in a row and was prepared to have a 4th one. It took me a while to get used to the idea of a boy but now I feel really blessed to have one of each. And I totally agree with your reason no. 3! <3

  7. Avatar cindy says:

    Why dont people want to adopt boys???

  8. Avatar Hoping to be hope's mama says:

    A birthmark is a special need? I am def confused…

    • Hoping, the birthmarks that made children harder to place where the highly visible ones, often on their face. Nowadays, it’s fairly unusual for a birthmark to be considered a special need in adoption unless it is highly visible and non-correctable.

      • Avatar Laura says:

        My daughter had a birthmark on her back. The orphanage had it removed. That, along with a really bad scar on her bottom (we’ve speculated that it was a hemangeoma), were considered one of her “special needs”

        • Dawn Davenport Dawn Davenport says:

          At this point I think most countries are not considering birth marks and scars, unless very visible, as a significant special need.

          • Avatar Laura says:

            Hi Dawn,

            We brought her home from China in 2006. The one on her back is significant, but has faded over time and can only be seen when she’s wearing her swim suit. The nasty one on her bottom is about 5″ long by 2″ wide and looks like it was done with the sharpest knife possible. It is a gnarly and ugly…fortunately, it is only visible when she doesn’t have anything on. Maybe the severity of the scar is what caused the “special need” classification.

            It’s good to know that most countries don’t consider scars as special needs any longer. 🙂

  9. Avatar Peggy says:

    I love having my boy around. The house is never the same 🙂 I get some of the best Lego creations! He is my best one to want to snuggle. He is the artist that makes me proud to be his Mom! He adores his older sister and knows also how to push her buttons. Wishing I had more energy to adopt another but I am overjoyed and happy to have my one!

  10. Avatar Marni Levin says:

    After raising four bio kids (three boys, one girl, now grown and flown)we adopted a sibling pair, a girl then 13, and a boy then 7. We wanted one of each the second time around.
    Now our girl is a real teen drama queen with all the eye-rolling mood swings while he’s a regular go-with-the flow kind of boy. Even so, at times I can relate to her better than I can to our little guy.
    It’s good to see the pros and cons of both genders.

    • Marni, truly I agree. I didn’t intend this to “put down” girls, but to lift up boys, since it seems our imagination or societal prejudices are slanted against them. More important, I think there are more differences within the genders than between the genders.

  11. Avatar wondering says:

    Someone mentioned they wanted one of each – well doesn’t everyone? People who already have boys sometimes want to adopt a girl. That is not the same as someone specifying gender for their first child, or only wanting a girl because they already have girls and that’s all they want to raise. It’s much easier to enjoy how wonderful boys are when you get to experience both!

    • Wondering, for me personally, I have to say I agree with you. I feel fortunate to have had the experience of raising both. However, the issue of 80% of adoptive parents wanting to adopt a girl includes many many who are adopting their first or already have a girl, not just families who want a balance of genders.

  12. Avatar Anne says:

    I’m a single mama to two boys, on bio and one who joined our family from Ethiopia last year. I would add that boys are loving and communicative and affectionate. And if you have a yearning for sparkles and dolls and tutus you should know that little boys can love this stuff too!

    • Anne, you raise a good point and one I always think about when extolling the virtues of boys. As the mom of 2 boys and 2 girls, I see far more differences within genders than between genders. I am uncomfortable with stereotyping boy or girls because it limits who they can be and their ability to express the fullness of who they are. BUT, for the purposes of educating people about the needs for parents for waiting boys, I thought it best not to focus on that angle, if you know what I mean.

  13. Avatar Robyn says:

    OK, I’m sorry, you know I love your blog Dawn, but that list? So stereotyped! As it happens, my SON loves to play dress up and has his own collection of princess dresses. And once they grow up, all kids are expensive to dress.
    BOTH of my kids love cars, and I would make sure my DD had cars and Transformers to play with because my parents wouldn’t let us have any due to our gender.
    DS was never as clingy to me as DD is.
    DD loves to play “fwoomp” and roll around, as does DS.
    DS would love it if I’d buy him Barbies, but I’m against Barbie due to her complete lack of reality.
    As for weddings, more couples are paying for their own weddings now. We did. I plan on offering both of my children the same amount towards their weddings.

    Boys and girls are both wonderful. I wish we knew why more people want girls than boys. We wanted one of each.

  14. Avatar Tina says:

    Special Needs adoption is amazing!

  15. Beth, I think a lot of people are totally surprised. We need to spread the word. I’d appreciate it if everyone would share this blog on their FB page to help educate others! Thanks.

  16. Louise Clark Louise Clark says:

    Jessica, I think our kids just might be siblings, your conversation was almost verbatim in our house this morning. :)

  17. Totally agree on the mother-son relationship being so special! It’s so fun (and challenging) to train them to be little caring gentlemen!

  18. Avatar Jessica says:

    So sad. I love my boys! Girls are fun but my boys hold an entirely different place in my heart. I was getting dressed this morning and one of my sons said, “wow, mom you look beautiful today.”….. Then I fixed my daughters hair and she said, “I knew you were gonna do it wrong.”

  19. Avatar Beth says:

    Wow, this totally surprised me! I have 2 girls, 1 home from China,and 3 boys, 2 home from China, and I can’t imagine life without them all, even though the boys do run me around in circles sometimes! LOL!

  20. Avatar Christie says:

    When we were adopting I assumed we were getting a boy. Always referred to our eventual child as a him. And when I picture us possibily adopting in the future I see him with a brother. =0)

  21. Louise Clark Louise Clark says:

    As an adoption advocate (and mom to three boys, two of them adopted from China) I can tell you that the sheer number of beautiful boys waiting for their families is astonishing. Get your tissues and watch this moving video created by Love Without Boundries It gets me each and every time.

  22. Avatar Cheryl says:

    After 3 teenage girls…you bet we adopted a boy:)

  23. Avatar Beth says:

    I love boys! I have a son and we have no gender preference for the adoption we are pursuing. I was told that when you say “no preference” that you are almost guaranteed a boy, which is fine by me!

  24. Dina, darn, why didn’t I think of not having to play with Barbies. Think I may have to change the list to add that one. Thanks!!

  25. Avatar Dina says:

    I have 2 boys and LOVE it. How about adding: You get to build forts inside, search for snakes and bugs outside. I’m not a girly girl and love every minute of the mud puddles, getting dirty and no barbies (and all their accessories!) LOL

  26. Avatar Vera says:

    we adopted a boy- love him so much! We could not even think about what life would be without him!

  27. Avatar Erika S. says:

    As the youngest of four girls and the mom of a girl, I was a little (a lot) afraid when the ultrasound said our son’s BM was having a boy. Now almost three years later, I’m so thrilled to be raising my little Smudge!

  28. Avatar Cindy says:

    steve jobs was not adopted by the original family that wanted to adopt him because he was born a boy. (can’t remember where i read that.) i’ve named 4 boys in my time. never used the girl name. proudest mom of 2 boys on the planet!

  29. Yes Janet, they certainly do. What would you add to the Top Ten Reasons Boy’s Rock List?

  30. Avatar Lisa says:

    Wow, I would never have expected gender to be such a big factor. I love your list of 10 things – you make a good point about Barbie dolls.

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