Saturday, December 09, 2006

Gender & Adoption

Cross-posted at Canada Adopts:

Okay, never one to shy away from controversy, I thought I'd post something I noticed when perusing the parent registry (btw, congratulations Sheila & Patrick on your new addition!).

I did a count of how many successful adoptive parents adopted boys & how many adopted girls, and was a bit surprised to find it was 2-1: 31 boys were placed (including a set of twins) and 15 girls were placed (not including an adorable toddler girl placed through CAS).

So here is my question: does our culture somehow view boys as better able to handle an adoptive placement? Do birth mothers (and I KNOW I am treading into murky waters here, as no two birth mothers are alike) want to somehow protect girls by parenting them, or protect boys by placing them? Is the (common, but not universal) lack of a male role model at play in decisions to place boys?

I know when North Americans talk about international adoption, we are quick to point out that, for example, birth monthers in countries such as Korea and Guatemala overwhelmingly place boys, whereas birth mothers in countries such as India and China overwhelmingly place girls. But I don't know to what extent we have examined this phenomenon in our own culture.

To be clear: I hope this conversation remains respectful towards birth parents. I feel that decisions to place one gender more frequently than another are reflective of how the society at large views gender, and should NOT be a moral condemnation of the birth parent.

That said: discuss!

1 comment:

MichelleL said...

Although I do think that gender has a role in international adoption, I think it plays less of a role in domestic adoption as it is relatively uncommon for you to be able to pre-select a gender.

I think the bias you see in your list is due to a small sample size, rather than an actual bias towards boys in adoption overall. If anything, I have heard rumblings of a bias towards girls rather than boys in adoption, paritcularly of AA children -- although I certainly don't have any numbers to support that.