Saturday, April 14, 2012

Boy or Girl? - The Screening Tool

One question parents always get asked when people find out they're pregnant is if they're having a boy or a girl.  Even as adoptive parents, Andy and I frequently get asked whether we want or are specifically adopting a boy or a girl.

While this may sound coarse, this is a regular fact of adoption.  In some cases, babies are essentially "ordered" like the beverage I just ordered from the coffee shop I'm sitting in.  If parents want a newborn baby girl that is Asian with parents that are genetic scientists, they can make that happen.  Of course, every agency is different.  Does our agency allow for this?  Short answer... yes.

Say hello to our Screening Tool!  In a way, it's fascinating that we can essentially fill in parameters on a piece of paper and eventually end up with a grande chai tea latte baby.  Jesting aside, there are likely some great reasons why these parameters exist.  Some adoptive parents or extended families may not readily accept a child of a different race which would not be good for the family, child, or the birth family.  As you can see above, the Screening Tool has a lot of information to fill out.  For this post, I'll focus on just the top portion that addresses things like gender, age, race, etc.

Officially, Andy and I have sort of discussed some of these but not put them into writing yet.  With the general clarifier that these are just my opnions and thoughts, let's run through these:

Age: Newborn to 3 months
The dream baby for most adoptive families is a newborn baby.  For me, being a first-time parent means that I don't want to miss out on any experiences in my child's life.  Being a parent of a baby is all about marking those milestone 'firsts' such as the first smile, laugh, crawl, etc.

Gender: Boy or Girl
I'm 100% sure that we will mark down "either" and leave this to chance (just like regular parents!).  Admittedly, I'd love to have at least one boy, but this is just our first child.  It'll be fun to see where we end up.

Description/Race: All
The title of this line is vague, but it is essentially a catch all line that includes race and any other factors adoptive parents would like to specify.  For us, race isn't a huge factor.  While specifying a white baby would better fit our family as both Andy and I are white, it's not like our family pictures won't give us away as an irregular family anyway!

Twins: Yes
Shh, don't tell Andy about this one.  We haven't really talked about it, and I'm just throwing out an answer  :)   Our current plan is to have two children that are a couple years apart or so.  To have twins means we'd have two babies up front and double the work which could be both really taxing but really rewarding too.

So overall, I've covered some of the elements of the Screening Tool and some potential answers, but I've left out one of the most important consequences about the Screening Tool.  By it's nature, this form is meant to "screen" down all of the potential babies to one that adoptive parents would like to welcome into their family.  Every time a new criterion is entered, your pool of potential matches is reduced.  If we put down that we only want a boy, then we would miss out on 50% of the babies that we could be matched with.  That could potentially double our wait in the pool.  Would that be worth it?

This concept of reducing our available pool is both a boon and a burden.  It's great that we at least have the chance to provide input on our future baby and birth family, but every choice means that we could be reducing our chances of getting picked which could increase our waiting time from months to several years. 

The next post about the screening tool will cover the heavier latter half of the Screening Tool dealing with topics such as drug and alcohol use by the pregnant mother, mental health, and other factors.  In the meantime, feel free to comment and share how you would fill out the top half of the Screening Tool.  It would be a lot of fun to know how all of you would answer these and why!


  1. Terry Graham, your first cousin once removedApril 14, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    You are smart to be as open as you possibly can. I'm sure your hearts are big enough for any race or gender. Anyway, in my experience, girls are easier to raise, but of course I'm one of four girls, myself, so that may be why I found the girls easier to understand.

  2. Twins?! I applaud you sir. It takes a brave (perhaps even mad) man to voluntarily take on the task of rearing twins.