We’ve noticed a common theme has emerged when we share that we adopted our youngest son from China…
“Wow! How did you adopt a boy?!!”
“I thought you could only adopt girls from China.”
“I can’t believe you found a boy in China!”
I have to admit, before a friend adopted a handsome Chinese son a few years ago, I assumed Chinese adoption was a “girls only” program. After all, it’s fairly common to see American couples with Chinese daughters. I thought, like many others, that China’s one-child policy, along with a cultural preference for boys, sadly caused the abandonment of many beautiful Chinese girls.
But times have changed, and the world of Chinese adoption has changed as well. In fact, don’t be surprised if you begin to see more cute little boys with stick straight black hair holding the hands of their American parents.
So, why the shift?
The truth is, Chinese orphanages aren’t overflowing with girls anymore. They’re actually overflowing with boys. Currently most Chinese orphans are orphans because they have special needs, not as a result of China’s one child policy (which recently became more lenient). This group of kids with special needs consists of approximately equal numbers of girls and boys.
But since adoptive parents overwhelmingly (I’ve heard as high as 90%) prefer to adopt girls, about 75% of the children left to be matched with families are boys. Incredibly, one large agency stated that for every forty families they have waiting for girls, they have only one family choosing to adopt a boy. That’s a big difference! So, boys wait much longer to be matched with families — often up to three times as long as girls.
There’s a saying in the Chinese adoption world that “boys wait for families, while families wait for girls.”
I want to make one very important point before I move on. There is nothing wrong with choosing to adopt a girl from China. This is a very personal decision, with lots to consider. Adopting a girl means one less orphan in the world. Period. And I would be lying if I said we chose to adopt a boy simply because there are more Chinese boys in need of families. We chose to adopt a boy because we felt a boy would be a better fit for our family, and we felt a definite God nudge in the boy direction.
But there was another reason for our decision to adopt a boy. Though generally patient people, we are not patient when we adopt. This was our third international adoption, and we wanted to be in the fast lane.
When we started the process to adopt from China, we already had older kids at home, and my husband and I were in our mid-forties. We wanted a young child, and we weren’t (and aren’t) getting any younger. The process for adopting a girl was averaging 6 to 24 months longer, depending on the adoption agency. Since we wanted to adopt quickly, and we felt a boy was a better fit for our family anyway…done!
We asked for, and received, a beautiful baby boy! The process to adopt our son was completed in just ten months, start to finish.
And oh, how we love our boy! Gabe was sooo meant to be ours. Did I mention that we love our boy?
Our living room is scattered with toy cars and trucks… Gabe pretty much loves anything with wheels. I’ve sung The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round so many times, I started to change it a bit for my own sanity. If you come to our house don’t be surprised if you hear renditions of The Engine in the Car Goes Vroom Vroom Vroom, and The Kids in the Van Go Yay Yay Yay! Our son is so much fun. He is truly a gift to us, a gift from God.
So yes, we adopted a Chinese boy!
And no, Chinese adoption isn’t a girls-only program.
And it really was a relatively quick process for us to find, and bring home, our son.
So if you’re considering adopting from China, you just might want to consider adopting a boy.
We’re glad we did!
– guest post by Amy; photos by EmVision Photography
I love your post. We are adopting a girl but someone a Facebook group began challenging our decision to adopt a girl. Her intention came from a good place but her manner was not ineffective. Your article opens the dialogue of adopting boys, which I am now considering. Thank you!
We brought home our little boy from China almost two years ago. He’s amazing and a totally different kid now (15 mo at adoption and turning 3 this month.) What do you say to Chinese families that you meet? They always seem shocked that we adopted a boy and almost offended. I haven’t figured out a good way to respond yet. We live in a college town and it’s wonderful that we have so many international families here, but I’m stumped.
Hi, Kerri, we adopted our son from China at age 2; and he’s 4 now. We attend a Chinese church, so we’ve had a lot of experience explaining this very thing.
In my experience, Chinese and Chinese-American families tend to be as misinformed (or uninformed) as anyone else about the Chinese adoption program. The long version of the explanation is basically this article. The short version is something like this: “Actually, the situation in Chinese orphanages has changed over the last five to ten years, and now most children who are waiting for families there are boys with multiple medical conditions. Girls, particularly healthy girls, tend to be adopted domestically by Chinese families rather than being adopted internationally.”
Hope that helps!
Love your story! We have two daughters and one son from China and they are all amazing!
We have three kids from China. 2 are boys. We got one when he was 20 months(he’s now 14) and one when he was 12(now almost 16) and we can’t imagine our lives without them. They have been such a wonderful addition to our family. Both came to us by the Grace of God and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Yes! We began our Chinese adoption with outdated informaion and were shocked to learn the truth about boys waiting in orphanages. 2 1/2 years home and we simply couldn’t image life without our precious son, either!
We adopted our son in 2014. He is amazing! Best decision ever.
We adopted our son from China in 2008. He is now 9. No doubt he was designed by God for our family. Blesseings to your family and congratulations!
I love your article! We are hoping to be with our son in 2 months! We already love him so much and cant wait to be a family!