What I Get to Do

Many people, including at least one family member, think it’s not OK to specify gender. The argument is almost always the same: “You wouldn’t get to do that if you were pregnant.”

Using that logic, let’s see what else I wouldn’t get to do if I were pregnant:

  • I wouldn’t get to gather six character references from family, neighbors, and friends to recommend me as a good parent.
  • I wouldn’t get to be fingerprinted and go through an FBI-level criminal background check and child abuse clearance.
  • I wouldn’t get to submit my tax returns, financial statements, and income verification letters to prove I could provide financially for a child.
  • I wouldn’t get to go through a physical the likes of which our insurance will not cover.
  • I wouldn’t get to ask my child’s teacher for a letter about his behavior and readiness for  a baby sister.
  • I wouldn’t get to ask my dear friends to be guardians and get to ask them to divulge their financial information to my agency on a notarized form so they can prove they could provide for a child.
  • I wouldn’t get to prove that my husband and I have life and health insurance.
  • I wouldn’t get to have my home inspected to prove that it’s a safe and healthy place to raise a child.
  • I wouldn’t get to spend hours researching every agency that I’d ever heard of to find one to represent us.
  • I wouldn’t get to create multiple adoption profile books to show expectant parents what kind of family we are, in the hopes of connecting with one of them.
  • I wouldn’t get to lose hundreds of dollars when an unscrupulous woman scammed us. And I was lucky – some adoptive families are taken for thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars.
  • I wouldn’t get to freak out every time I think about all of the what if’s – what if she changes her mind? What if the baby’s not healthy? What if she really does know the birthfather and he shows up?
  • I wouldn’t get to spend the first days or weeks of our baby’s life in a hotel room while we wait for paperwork to go through.
  • I wouldn’t get to submit detailed expenses to the IRS in the hopes of getting some of those expenses back.
  • I wouldn’t get to pay over $20,000 for the privilege of getting to do all of the above.

What would I get to do if I were pregnant?

  • I would get to know, after about 16 weeks, with relative certainty, that I was going to have a baby.
  • I would get to control, to some extent, what goes into the baby’s system.
  • I would get to know that the baby wasn’t exposed to alcohol, cigarettes, or harmful drugs.
  • I would get to have state health insurance.
  • I would get to choose where to have the baby.
  • I would get to go home with my baby pretty much whenever I wanted to.
  • I would get to write off all of my pregnancy-related expenses on my taxes, no questions asked.

Looking at those lists, it’s pretty easy to see that adoption is nothing like pregnancy. I’m not pregnant. I’m adopting. It’s an invasive, expensive process. I chose to go through it knowing this. I also chose to go through it knowing that, because it’s not pregnancy, one perk is the ability to specify gender.

I have the most wonderful boy in the world. Now, we’ll have the most wonderful girl in the world. I’m not pregnant, so I get to choose this.

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21 thoughts on “What I Get to Do

  1. Well said…I’m sure that I can only begin to imagine the difficult journey that you have been through to create your family…I’m so happy that you will get the complete family you truly desire. I’ve never had a problem w/ the gender choice thing…even folks that are pregnant often desire one sex over another….and if you do have the choice, why not get exactly what you want? And especially in adoption with it being such an expensive, long process. Even when I was pg, I wanted a boy…I’m sure it would have been good to have a girl, but I was relieved and super excited that I was having a boy…all my dreams came true with my little guy..now your dreams come true with having a boy AND girl…I think its just wonderful.

    • I always thought I’d have a girl first. But when we adopted the first time, there really wasn’t a good reason to specify gender. We knew we wanted a boy and a girl, so why did it matter? And, of course, we got the best boy in the world! 😉 Being a mom to a boy is different than being a mom to a girl. I’d like to experience both. Add to that the fact that my sister has 2 boys – we need some more estrogen!

  2. Robyn, I hear you! We’ve specified gender for all 3 of our kids. When anyone makes a comment about how if I were pregnant I wouldn’t get to choose, I tell them “hey, this is one perk of the adoption process, among all the junk we have to do, so I don’t want to hear it” Yes, I actually said that!

    This time around we are open to gender, but I hate when people hear that and say “oh, that’s the way it SHOULD be” They get the same reaction as above!

  3. Pingback: Best of Open Adoption Blogs 2011 « The Chittister Family

  4. I wish I could find an agency that would LET me choose!!! I can’t find one– i would love for someone to question me- they better watch it!!

  5. As a birth parent, I can’t to be selective about people who are biased against gender. If a child has to be a certain gender or race to be adoptable, then you have no place adopting.

    And for the record, the mother of your child GETS TO:
    go trough 9 motnhs of pregnancy to come home empty hadned
    have stretch marks and no baby
    spend her days praying to the porcelain goddess
    endure labor

    And in your case, hope that her baby comes out with the expected genitalia.

    • This is not about comparing the pregnancy and labor to the adoptive parents process and wait time. Nobody should be comparing who has it worse or harder. (btw we have an open adoption and adore our son’s birth mother). If I wanted to adopt again and adopt a girl, it’s very unsettling you would label me as “biased” and have “no place adopting.” We are not birth mothers or fathers. We do not have the same experience. It is different. No, birth mothers don’t choose the gender of their child. But we are in the position where we actually can if we want to. I have a boy. I’m supposed to leave the 2nd adoption up to chance just because “IF” I were pregnant I wouldn’t get to choose either? I’M NOT PREGNANT. I’m not in that situation. Don’t judge me for wanting a girl a second time around anymore than you should judge families with no fertility issues who have 4 boys but try a 5th time for a girl. Do you judge them? No! So stop judging us! So ridiculous.

  6. What did I say that can be disagreed to? Also, do you really think that a pregnant woman doesn’t worry about if her baby is healthy? Do you think that pregnant women don’t spend thousands in hospital bills (and as long as their is an adoption tax credit, you get to write your expenses off too), And I’m sorry, but the woman who changed her mind doesn’t need your judgement either.

    • I disagree that people who specify gender and/or race have “no place adopting.” Obviously, as we specified both gender (girl) and race (at least part “African American”).
      I’m not sure where you’re getting that I don’t think a pregnant woman worries if her baby is healthy, nor do I know where you’re getting any kind of judgement from me about women who change their minds about placing.
      The average pregnancy costs a woman $3,000 out of pocket, all of which is tax deductible. The average adoption costs $20,000-$30,000, none of which is tax deductible. For the moment, adoptive parents get a tax credit of up to $13,000. However, it’s not like we get a check from the government for $13K, which is what a lot of people seem to think. I wrote about the Adoption Tax Credit elsewhere.

  7. You said “I wouldn’t get to worry if the baby was healthy” you also described the woman who decided not to place with you as an unscrupulous scammer. That certainly sounds like judgement.

  8. No. The woman who didn’t “place” with us had a forged proof of pregnancy. She was a scammer. That’s not judgment; it’s a fact. I wrote about it elsewhere on the blog. Probably July/August 2011.

    I said I wouldn’t get to worry about what would happen if the baby wasn’t healthy. That doesn’t mean that I don’t think pregnant women worry about that, but there is a difference. In general, pregnant women have far more control over the health of their unborn babies than adoptive parents do.

  9. Pingback: The Difference Between Scamming and Changing One’s Mind « The Chittister Family

  10. Pingback: The Choice Myth | The Chittister Family

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