Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Status of Adoptions from China - BOYS

The National Council for Adoption recently released a report on the status of adoptions from China to the US. You can read the entire document here.

I had never seen the total number of adoptions broken down by gender before, and was surprised to still see such a disparity between the number of girls being adopted versus boys, especially since many of our programs in China run pretty much 50/50 on the boys and girls we help. In 2008, 3030 girls were adopted to the United States while only 822 boys found homes. I actually found myself thinking that I probably knew at least half of those boys who had found a family!

A little bit later on in the article, they mention a study on boys from China published in April of this year. In this study, 61 families were asked questions regarding their adoption of a son, and it was wonderful to read that the vast majority say their sons are doing well. The main concerns raised were the lack of resources for boys from China, since the majority of adoptions are of little girls, and also a need for more help in framing their son's stories, as most people believe only little girls are available for adoption.

If you have adopted a son from China, what explanation do you give when asked how you were able to adopt a boy? Did you specifically request a boy from China or were you open to either gender? Why do you think the majority of waiting children files returned "unchosen" to China are of boys?

Amy (proud mama to one of the cutest little boys from China ever, and yes, completely biased!)


  1. Wow. Those numbers are surprising (and saddening), especially considering how many MORE boys are coming home now than were only a few years ago.
    But it's fantastic to hear that studies indicate that boys from China are doing so well... we have two little guys and they are both doing wonderfully :)
    With both boys we were open to 'either' but in the SN world, that pretty much means 'boy' based on the number of people waiting to be matched with girls.
    We haven't had to tackle too many questions about boys specifically because we also have 2 girls from China... I think people are more curious about the size of our family than the fact that we have boys from China ;)

  2. When people ask "how'd you get a boy?" I usually say, "well he's special needs, he has a repaired heart, and with the special needs/waiting child kids there's a huge need for both boys and girls." I also usually end up going on about how the healthy infant waiting list is like 10 years long and how families within China are actually very willing to adopt healthy girls... I can talk a lotttt when people ask me about adoption haha :D

    for my family (I'm the jie jie), adoption #1 was an "either way" thing but my parents probably couldn't help but have a girl in mind. after a woman at our adoption agency sent out an email about how they have so many boys whose files get sent back, we went into adoption #2 particularly thinking of adopting a 3ish year old boy (also because at that point our family had 4 girls and 1 boy!).

  3. It is great to be able to give homes to the orphans and the poor children..treat them like just your won and love them and give them a home.Good thought.

  4. Because single-women adoptions (as mine were) are still being fulfilled, I think one reason there may be more girls than boys is some single moms don't feel right adopting a boy without having a father. I would have LOVED to adopt a boy but I felt it might be too selfish. That said, I AM surprised to see the wide disparity between the numbers. Sad.

  5. Good Morning. I have been reading your blog even though I haven't commented. We are in the process of adopting a 22 month old boy with a congenital heart defect (will need open heart surgery) from China. We hope to travel in January (we are waiting on TA). We went into this adoption wanting to adopt a boy. We too have seen a difference in the number of girls adopted versus boys. One thought may be that while dads are content to have only girls in the family, many moms long for a daughter when she only has sons (for those adopting after having their own children). I've had several friends and church members inquire about adoption and the majority want a girl b/c they only have boys.

    The one comment I receive often when someone hears we are adopting a boy from China is that he must be available for adoption due to his birth defect. This breaks my heart. Not really sure what the right answer should be when this is said.

    Thought I'd comment as we too cannot wait to bring home a little boy from China!


    (Mom to a 4 year old biological son, 5 year old adopted daughter from Russia (adopted when our son was 3), and waiting to bring our almost 2 year old son home from China)

  6. I'm actually surprised the number of boys is so high. I suspect that if you looked at the 2000-2005 years, the percentage of boys would be even lower. There is the assumption that there are so many girls available, that parents don't even think of requesting a boy.

    I think there is a higher likelihood of a boy when the percentage of special needs adoptions go up. In our local FCC of about 60 families, we only had one boy up to a couple years ago. Now we have five, all came through the special needs process.

    If our family could only figure out how to add numbers to the square footage of the house and subtract numbers from the ages of the parents, we'd be happy to add sons!

  7. We originally went into our adoption thinking there were more girls in need but after asking my social worker, she stated there were far more families requesting girls & so many boys waiting. We chose "either" but we were told that essentially meant we'd be referred a boy, and we were (2 working days later from an agency with a 12 month wait for girls)! When people ask how we "got a boy" we explain about the enormous needs out there. We are blessed with two boys and a daughter and they are all enormous blessings!

  8. This breaks my heart. I am the proud mommy to 2 boys by birth and 1 little girl who was adopted. I am now the proud Mommy waiting (please soon!) to hear our LOA has arrived or our 3rd son, who is waiting in China.

    We have been asked about the boy question, but most people don't ask. They just say they thought China did not give away their boys. Yes, they say that.

    Amy, I wrote a fairly long post about this very subject over at the NHBO blog. You can check out my deeper thoughts on the subject there if you want, but basically we'll be bringing boys home as long as China says yes b/c we like Stef are open to either and it seems most aren't. Not sure why though???

    Here's the link: http://nohandscurrentinfo.blogspot.com/2009/11/i-didnt-think-they-gave-away-their-boys.html

  9. I get asked this all the time, as our son is healthy and from China. I was told by our agency that very, very few people ask for, or are even open to, the adoption of boys. In addition, we were told by our rep in China that, had we not adopted him, he was likely to not have a family. He was 16 months at adoption and, in her opinion, getting too old to find a family. Why? I've no idea. He is the light of our lives, so different from our two girls, and will always be my treasure. I would do it again in a heartbeat if we could...

  10. I think that I read a statistic once that about 80% of the families adopting a child request girls. I'm not sure why there is such a bias.

    We struggled with whether we felt "right" requesting a son. After all, you don't get the choice with a birth child. After two birth daughters, though, we really felt that there was a little boy waiting for us. There was, indeed, and he came home in August 2007!

    Of our 3 children, he is the most easy-going! If we thought there was a 4th child for us, we'd adopt a little brother for him from China without hesitation.

  11. We have (currently) 3 children. Our older 2 are biological and our youngest (adopted from China in 2007) is a little boy.
    We said we were open to either and a variety of SN's.
    We get asked a LOT how we got a boy from China.
    I think that China used to be pretty much a strictly girl only country and people are still surprised to see us with a little boy.
    In our local adoption support group there is only ONE other boy from China...lots and LOTS of girls.
    This time we are requesting a girl, but not b/c we are opposed to a boy...in fact we TRIED to talk our little guy into a brother from China but he has his heart SET on a little sister from China and he won't budge! We figure it must be God's way of making sure we get the child destined to be with us!
    If we adopt again after this time, we will be open to either. I figure we should have 2 girls and 2 boys from China, you know, to even things out?
    Yes, people HAVE asked if something is "wrong" with our adopted son.
    Some are rude and most are just ignorant.
    If I think they are truly interested then I explain SN program but I always tell them that there is nothing wrong with Josiah...he is a happy and normal little boy. And he is...despite his SN!!

  12. Hi! I just wanted to write that when adopting from Sweden we cannot ask for or request a specific gender regardless of the country we're adopting from. When receiving a referral it's a big no-no to decline a child due to the gender (I don't think it's even possible). I'm extremely happy about this since all children should be equally treated!

  13. That is so interesting that you cannot state a gender in Sweden. Thanks for sharing that!

  14. Just found your blog. :o)

    My non-profit recently published a new book on Chinese adoptive parenting that has some similar stories. “The Dragon Sisterhood: A Guide to Chinese Adoptive Parenting”.

    It can be found on our blog:


    I thought you might be interested.

  15. In Finland you are not allowed to choose boy or girl when adopting. I think about 90% of SN children from China matched in Finland are boys. It is because there are so many boys in shared list, and also because there are no agency listings. We had 3 boys before adopting our 4th. We hoped for a girl, but because we were not allowed to choose gender we got a beautiful 2,5 old boy. We love him very much! But I am still dreaming of having a daughter, but I know that dream can not come true, there are no way to get a girl.