Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression;
bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause. Isaiah 1:17

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Gender Bias

"The data showed that parents are willing to pay an average of $16,000 more in finalization costs for a girl as opposed to a boy." Did your jaw just drop? Mine did when I read that. It was included in the findings of a team of economists from the California Institute of Technology, the London School of Economics, and New York University. Lately gender bias in adoption has been on my mind. Probably because we're adopting a little boy. Not many people seek to adopt a male child--according to the statistics I've read, 70-90% of American potential adoptive parents request a female. In the foster care system things are no better than in the world of private adoption: only 36% of children chosen for adoption from foster care are boys. I have a hard time wrapping my mind around this. I have fortunately been blessed to be surrounded by families who have adopted boys, but I am keenly aware that this is not the norm. I've read articles on gender selection and abortion, as well as gender selection and conception, and I haven't seen the same trend in either--it appears to be exclusive to adoption. Perhaps it has something to do with the antiquated notion that biological sons must carry on the "family name." I suppose one possibility is that women tend to be the movers and shakers in the adoption process (husbands are usually more passive regarding adoption), and many dream of raising a daughter. I know that personally, while I have always wanted both boys and girls, if I was told I got only one shot at it, I would have chosen a girl. As I explained to my husband when we questioned me on this, I told him, "Look, as a mom you only get your boy until he gets married, then his wife's family gets first dibs on every visit. A girl is yours forever." So I can possibly understand it from that standpoint (for the record though, we put no gender preference when we first adopted, we just happened to have a girl) I suppose another explanation could be that many people perceive boys to be more difficult to raise. Having a daughter and dealing daily high drama, I can only imagine these people have never been around girl children. I am anticipating the son we are expecting soon can only be easier to raise than our fussy, particular, drama queen of a daughter (whom I adore, if you happened to take that last sentence the wrong way!) Whatever the reason for the gender bias, I'm so glad we're getting a son. While we didn't put any gender preference into our home study, I was secretly hoping for a boy, and my husband was so excited when he found out we were having a son, that I thought he might spontaneously combust! I can feel the amazing love well within me for my son as well as that surge of protective mama bear inside me, and it confirms what I already knew: sons are every bit the amazing blessing that daughters are.

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