What About the Boys?
Many of us have ideas in our head about what adoption from China looks like. These ideas have likely been influenced by media (i.e., the 2005 film, “China’s Lost Girls”), press (covering China’s one-child policy), friends, family, and maybe even our own experiences.
Over the years, adoption from China has evolved in a number of ways. You might have previously read our blog series about The Changing Face of China’s Orphans.
Here are some of the current facts:
1. The vast majority of children available for international adoption now have medical and special needs.
2. There are many more BOYS who are eligible for adoption. The current shared list of waiting child files consists of approximately of 75% boys and 25% girls, or three boys for every one girl.
3. The ancient Chinese beliefs and attitudes that shaped the beginnings of international adoption in China are changing.
As we have discussed in previous blogs, domestic adoption has greatly increased. (See “Domestic Adoption on the Rise” and our August 2014 Newsletter which focused on domestic adoption). Additionally, China has changed their one-child policy over time so that there are more exceptions today, which allow couples to have more than one child in quite a few instances.
Today, however, what we really want to talk about are the boys who are waiting to be adopted, possibly as a result of the fact that our own Western ideas about adoption from China remain stuck on the “Lost Girls”. Some adoption agencies tell us that when given a choice, an overwhelming majority of families are specifically interested in adopting a girl. We notice that whenever we share a photo or story about a girl on social media, it tends to get significantly more attention than photos about boys. While we don’t understand this bias, it definitely exists whether people are conscious of it or not.
We continually ask ourselves why there is a greater reluctance to adopt boys from Asia and wanted to share some of the thoughts which have been shared with us:
1. Perhaps there is a notion that girls (and more specifically, Asian girls) are more compliant and sweet, and boys may have a tendency towards more risky and challenging behavior. (Of course, those of us with girls from China can only shake our heads and laugh at this misconception!)
2. Some have mentioned that men may be reluctant or ambivalent to pass their family name to a son who isn’t genetically related to them. This belief may also be held by reluctant grandparents or other family members doubtful about adoption. Since women are often the initiators of adoptions, perhaps they defer to their husband when it comes to specifying gender?
3. Others mention that perhaps many women are more comfortable with the idea of raising a daughter since they themselves were girls and are familiar with female-specific activities and issues.
4. Some people believe that daughters may be more likely to care for them as they age.
5. Others have brought up the phrases, “China princess” or “China doll” which resonate with some potential parents as far as preferring a girl.
6. Some families have mentioned that adopting a boy from Asia raised uncomfortable feelings about whether or not they would have to consider circumcision to “look like Dad.”
We would love to know your thoughts on this very real issue of why adoptive parents have a preference for adopting girls from China. Do you feel it is just a remnant of adoption a decade ago, when the majority of orphaned children were indeed females? Or are there other reasons we should all be discussing to help more boys have a chance at finding families? Please add your comments below on this very important topic.
And in the meantime, we want to once again share the faces of some of the wonderful BOYS from our programs who are waiting to be chosen by families. Please feel free to contact our Adoption Advocacy Team at [email protected] with any adoption-related questions or specific questions about these waiting children!
Michael, 12 years old
Joseph from Jinjiang, 11 years old
Joseph from Fuyang, 10 years old (reduction in orphanage donation)
Mickey, 8 years old
Erik, 8 years old
Tomas, 7 years old
Adam, 7 years old
Jonathan, 6 years old
Daniel, 6 years old
Bobby, 5 years old
Alan, 4 years old
Timothy, 4 years old
Rhys, 3 years old
Most of these handsome boys are on the shared list with just a few exceptions. We hope to see many of these boys find the right family for them in these last few months of 2014!
Love Without Boundaries proudly advocates for adoption but is not an adoption agency. We invite you to contact [email protected]