More Gender Angst

September 17, 2006 at 11:31 pm | Posted in AdoptThis! | 19 Comments

We are so close to being done with our dossier, I can taste it.

What does an almost finished dossier taste like? A mouthful of paper, mostly. Mixed with a dash of hope, a smidgen of fear, a few lingering sour grapes…

But being almost finished with our dossier means that we are this close to the dreaded decision point of circle: boy, girl, either. We thought we knew what we were doing, and then the wait times for our agency changed. A lot.

As I’ve said before, what I want to do is circle “either” and have it mean “either.”

But since wait times for our agency are almost four times as long now for girls as for boys, circling either pretty much means “boy.” At the park the other day, Pili and I stared intently (but not too intently) at the playing children. I could not help my heart turning to mush at the sight of the very serious girl and her dad playing catch (shades of me?), standing two feet away from each other as they tossed the ball back and forth and talked – even as I found myself saying, I guess maybe we should just say either… I’ll be this close to making that decision, and then I’ll back away. And I don’t know why. I have close male friends. I’m very close to my father. Why am I so freaked out by the idea of being the parent of a boy-child?

Being the researcher that I am, I turned to my friend Amazon and ordered It’s a Boy and Lesbians Raising Sons. I’m sure I’ll have more posts once they arrive on my doorstep and I digest them. Any other reading suggestions? Anecdotes?


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

  1. All I can say is that once you have your baby, you won’t be able to imagine the alternative gender. Either way, it’s going to be fabulous. Promise.

  2. The boy/girl thing makes me smile. I remember thinking, I know how to be a Mother to a girl cause.. well.. you know I am a girl. I have both now, biological siblings adopted from foster care. Disclaimer: I love them both very much.
    The boy gets mad at you: screams, tantrums, maybe hits (there is no hitting) still learning boundries, apoligizes, smiles, serves the time out and asks for a grilled cheese. The whole thing 38 mins. tops.
    The girl gets mad at you: glares, smiles and goes off to plot your slow and painful death, FOR DAYS. I can appreciate this.
    They’re both beautiful, I’m just saying. Peace, AKM

  3. I know many same sex couples with kids – some have girls, some have boys. Coming from a straight person here, I think it has less to do with the ‘lesbian factor’ – something your kids of any factor will deal with in some form – and more to do with your gut, and your dreams – something we all have. Good luck!

  4. Trust you heart. Whatever you decide will be perfect…….I’m so excited for you (and for the kidlet).

  5. You know, when my partner and I were “expecting” I yearned to have a boy and was a tad bit disappointed when we learned by ultrasound that a little girl would be our gift. Having that little girl now, I can’t imagine it any other way. Though not my biological child, she has taken hold of my heart and grown there until I don’t think it’s possible for a love to be any greater. I’m sure your experience will echo that. Boy,girl. Girl,boy. They all have their own gifts to give you. Good luck!

  6. Maybe you can Google some articles about Rosie O’donnell and how she handles raising boys.

    I have two boys and they’re closer to me emotionally than my husband.

    Plus, I think you and Pili could do a service to society by teaching your son how to treat a woman (or man) with respect.

  7. MUST READ: Raising Boys Without Men.

    I was scared and overwhelmed by the idea of being a mom to a boy too, and having read both the other books on your list, this was the one that helped me the most. It actually got me excited and almost confident. 🙂

  8. I hear what you’re saying about “either.” If it truly meant either, then it’d be like letting fate decide who your child shall be… but since it doesn’t…

    The agency my friends wanted to use actually doesn’t let adoptive parents choose the gender of the child they will adopt, so everyone has to check “either.” I think that’s an interesting notion.

  9. You know, I was very worried thay I was pregnant with a boy while I was pregnant with Katie. Mainly, I think it was because we already had Gillian and adding a boy to 3 women seemed unfair. Going back to when I was pregnant with Gillian, I was convinced the whole time that I was pregnant with a boy. When she was born and they told me she was a girl you could have knocked me over with a feather, I had my mind that wrapped around having a boy. I think for me, having a girl meant that she might be victimized like I was, and if I had a boy, he would escape that.

    So much of our upbringing impacts our feelings of what gender child we “think” we want/need.

  10. With foster-adopt, either really does mean either, with a very slight skew towards more boys. So, we feel pretty comfortable choosing either. I really kind of want a boy–I see myself as the mother of rough and tumble little boys with legos and science projects and then I think about a girl and shopping trips and knitting–and then I beat myself over the head for such stereotyping. Of course I can teach a boy to knit, and a girl to play with legos, but my dreamy heart tends to forget that.

    I am curious however if you think what you pick may influence any complications with your dossier–there are not that many agencies that will allow Same Sex Partners/Singles to adopt from Guatamala that I have seen–do you think picking a girl would lead to less possible complications or is that a factor at all? I assume your agency would have told you if it was. I assume those sorts of gender “rules” for singles/same-sex partners are on the way out (thank god!), but curious if they might persist in other countries more than here if that makes sense??

  11. As I often do, I admire and appreciate your candor. What a strange, hard choice. And what a surreal process.

    I have a good friend who has realized that for complex psychological reasons, she couldn’t be a successful parent to a son. This realization required intense self-awareness and in particular honesty on her part; it wasn’t an easy thing to acknowledge, particularly because her husband wanted a son. She has a daughter (to whom she is a fantastic mom), and if she and her husband decide to become parents again, they’ll adopt through an agency/situation that will allow them to opt for a girl.

    I imagine it’s true that, assuming we’re talking about wanted children and mentally healthy adults, any baby is going to be loved by its parents once it arrives. But that doesn’t automatically mean that all parents can resolve whatever issues they have around the sex of the child. For some people, this stuff runs very deep and merits serious respect.

    Given that you must choose, the kind of soul searching you’re doing sounds necessary for both you and Pili. If either of you have profound issues about children (or young adults or adults) of either sex, you need to feel incredibly, incredibly confident that those issues won’t be reflected in your parenting, won’t impact the child.

    It doesn’t sound from what you’ve written as though you have that type of “profound” issue. Wanting a girl/boy is such a human part of becoming a parent, yes? But if you had, for example, a reaction of involuntary rage when hearing a kid of a certain sex crying–as my friend did with boys–it would be really important to get that on the table now.

    Maybe you can enter into this girl-wanting and boy-not-sure-if-wanting even more deeply, if that makes sense, and let yourself feel it completely and observe it. What’s it really about, under the surface? What does a daughter symbolize to you? And a son? What does it symbolize to you to go with Pili’s preference? And vice versa? Etc. etc.

    Egads, too long, sorry. I’m endlessly fascinated by enormous life choices. And fully confident you guys will make the right one.

  12. Art-Sweet, we both wanted a girl, but didn’t specify because we didn’t want to close off our options. I couldn’t imagine parenting a boy – hell, even our cats are girls. But less than 8 weeks into it, I can tell you in all honesty that I’ve never seen anything as stunningly beautiful as the little boy asleep in the cradle in the next room right now.

    You and Pili will love whoever comes to you to pieces.

  13. That’s sounds like a really hard situation to be in. I’m not a lesbian, and I’m not adopting, so absolutely no vice here, neither the ass- nor the ad- variety. In my own experience, I was scared of having girl twins because I didn’t have a great mother-daughter relationship. I was more enthusiastic about the idea of having boys because I didn’t know anything about boys, and personally that made me feel like I had a cleaner slate to work from. As an aside, my sister is a lesbian, and when I see her with my sons I have little doubt that I’d want her to raise them if something happened to us. She just has a great bond with them, and I have no doubt she’d give them all the love they needed and values I’d be comfortable with.
    Best wishes for your decision-making. It sounds like you’ll be great parents no matter what.

  14. I can’t really help you with this. I really, really wanted girls, and that’s what we got. I’m still amazed and I think at least once a week (if not every day), “I can’t believe that we have two beautiful little girls.” That being said, the other two lesbian couples I am close friends with both have boys, and they are quite happy with them. And when I thought about the possibility of having a boy myself, I really focused on all the fun things about it–especially buying little boy clothes! I LOVE LITTLE BOY CLOTHES! (The girl clothes thing has been an issue for me. Must EVERYTHING be bright pink with lace? MUST IT? But maybe that’s your thing.) Anyway, I guess you are in the position where you HAVE to choose, and that sucks. For me, it would have come down to this: What’s more important? Getting a child as quickly as possible? Or getting a girl? You have to find your peace with that decision, and once you find it, don’t look back or re-evaluate.

    My two cents: I think you should hold out for a girl. I say this because if you were okay with getting a boy, you would already be okay with it, know what I mean?

  15. I am very happy about having a girl and in my heart of hearts that was what I wanted even though I would not have said no to a boy. But then JL met her new best friend Jas, and he is a boy-dream to me. Sensitive, loving, smart, funny, energetic. He is even a snappy dresser, with help from his mom who scours eBay for some very cool non-Targetesque clothing. I would take him home in a heartbeat. That may be why his mom always races me to the bus stop. She can see the lust in my eyes!

    The problem with the unseen is that we are stuck with only our polarities in our minds. Once you get to know and love a child, and get to have a say in how they view the world, the gender stuff stops being so big.

    And if single moms can raise sons to be good men, so can lezzies. Actually someone else suggested looking for articles by Rosie. She also answers questions on her blog and I haven’t seen one like yours. You might wanna see if you can get her attention. Her answers are very pithy and wise IMO.

  16. I wanted a girl. Desperately. So desperately that gender selection was not out of the question. Had adoption been an option, I would have jumped at it (for more reasons than the sex selection part) and picked girl, regardless of how long the wait was. As it is, we went with the “girl” way of insemination, inseminating well before ovulation in the hopes that the boys would die off and only the girls would remain. This was risky and entailed taking the chance that it would take us much longer to get pregnant, if at all. So, in a sense, we took a similar risk.
    We didn’t learn his sex while AJ was pregnant. She was certain he was a girl anyway. When he was born, when I saw he was a boy…
    I was disappointed. Very much so. Bitterly, hugely disappointed. I didn’t cry, but I thought of it. And while he was in the hospital the first few days so sick and I was holding this sick little boy loving him and wanting him to live and wanting to raise him, I was still disappointed he wasn’t a girl. It never wore off. I love him more than life itself. I could not imagine my world without him. I never ever ever want to be without him in my life. But he still is not what I hoped and dreamed for gender wise. He is perfect, but he is a boy.
    For me, wanting a girl is in no way related to being scared of raising a boy or lacking in male role models or anything of that nature. It was a desperate hope to reconnect with my mother who died when I was a baby. It was a way for me to heal that hurt. Also, I wanted a girl for other reasons. I didn’t NOT want a boy, it just wasn’t my first choice.
    But, I got what I have. And I love him to bits. And I would be fine if all our children were boys, and fine if he was our only child. I still want a girl, and I still wonder what it would have been like if he was a girl, and yes there is that old familiar ache sometimes. But he is what he is. And all the work we’re done, all the pain we’ve gone through, to keep him healthy and okay, I am thrilled that he is what he is. I wouldn’t trade him for the world.
    But, honestly, if I were you, I would check the girl. Because you DO get to choose. And it might as well be the one you truly really want.
    But don’t be “scared” of raising boys. Really. Just love them. My father raised me alone with very little female interaction, and I am okay. I think. Women have been raising boys alone since the dawn of time and most of them turn out just fine. No book will tell you how to do it though. Only you can figure that out.

  17. This post has been removed by the author.

  18. I second the reccommendation of Raising Boys Without Men by Peggy Drexler. I couldn’t quit reading it- I read it late at night, over my breakfast, on the treadmill at the gym, in between clients- it was very heartening. J isn’t afraid of raising boys, but I am- I have no brothers and haven’t really known that many little boys, so I was really worried about being able to connect with a son. This book is very good overall, and in particular speaks directly to how to connect with boys, and was also highly encouraging for lesbian and single moms. You might want to check it out. Good luck! -Kate-

  19. I was totally freaked out by the idea of raising a boy. We were convinced we were having a girl and both of us were shocked when the u/s girl told us we were having a boy. It took me months to come to terms with a boy. Then he was born and I can’t imagine having a girl! I’m sure girls have their good points, but my boy is just so full of energy and trouble and . . . and. . . boyness. I know you’ll love whatever child you end up with. I know I wouldn’t have even hesitated to tick the “girl” box before I had my boy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at
Entries and comments feeds.

%d bloggers like this: