Congratulations! It’s a…” The word that comes next is the most anticipated and life changing word any parents could hear! Boy? Girl? That one word determines whether their future lives are filled with ruffled leggings, Hello Kitty, and fairy princess dresses or toy cars, blasters, and every sport imaginable. Whereas biological parents have to take whatever nature gives them, adoptive parents have an opportunity to decide which path they want to take.
However, the preference of adoptive parents is not equal between the genders. In fact, it’s estimated that 75-80% of adoptive parents prefer to adopt girls both domestically and internationally. No one knows exactly why this is true, but the reality is that boys are more likely to remain in residential care or in foster care without the permanency of adoption. The real question though is why do adoptive parents prefer girls? Many theories and speculations exist, but no one really knows why. The three most common theories are:
#1 Adoptive parents are “afraid” of boys.
It has been speculated that more people want to adopt girls because girls are stereotypically quieter, more well behaved, easier to understand and easier to rear whereas boys are stereotypically restless, unorganized, dirty, and hard to handle. Of course, this is not always the case, and one is just as likely to end up with a loud, rambunctious little girl as a quiet, shy little boy. However, there are also a lot of very unfortunate, but negative stereotypes regarding a perceived and sometime real lack of positive role models for some groups.
#2 Women want to adopt and they want to adopt girls.
The second most common theory is that more adoptive parents adopt girls because women want to adopt girls. Women tend to feel they will relate to a little girl easier than a little boy. They look forward to the days when they can pick out their daughter’s clothes and dress them up in cute little dresses with pigtails. Also, many parents who decide to adopt have faced years of an unrequited desire to love and nurture a child. These parents may choose a girl because it is more socially acceptable to spoil a girl than it is to dote on a boy. Couple all of these with the fact that it’s usually the wife who is more engaged and enthusiastic about the adoption process, and there’s no question as to why the majority of adoptions are girls.
#3 Daughters are family keepers.
Daughters ensure family traditions remain intact. Daughters plan family get-togethers, plan the trips to Grandma and Grandpa’s house and schedule family reunions. They are also more likely to become caretakers when parents age. Subconsciously perhaps, some adoptive parents who choose girls want someone who will keep the family ties strong and take care of them when they are older. This theory is encompassed in the old saying, “A son is a son ‘till he takes a wife, but a daughter’s a daughter for all of her life.”
So…what do you think? Did you have a preference when you adopted? If so, why?