At Children's Home Society & Family Services, Molly Rochon and her team of adoption professionals remain steadfast in their resolve to find loving families for all their waiting children.Really?! Baffled?! Unexplainable?! It's a pretty well-known phenomenon, that adoptive parents have a gender preference for girls. I've posted about it here and here.
But Rochon is baffled by a new group sharing longer waits to be adopted, along with older children, siblings and children with chronic health conditions: boys.
"When it comes to families, we just have more boys [waiting] than girls," said Rochon, senior country relations manager at the St. Paul agency. "We place more girls. It's just what families want."
How many more? In 2006, families expressing a gender preference chose girls over boys 391 to 166. In 2009, the split was 213 girls and 88 boys; in 2010, 121 and 38. Last year, it was 78 girls and 31 boys.
The drive for daughters, Rochon said, cuts across the agency's international and domestic programs and is noted regardless of the child's age; families frequently express interest in a girl "as young as possible."
Could it be that there simply are fewer adoptable boys in general? Nope. Boys are more commonly eligible for adoption than girls. Said Rochon: "It's just unexplainable."
In that second post, I addressed the "why" question about the preference for girls in this way:
Several reasons have been advanced for that phenomenon. First, women are more likely to be the decision-maker in a "mom & dad" adoption, and are thought to be more likely to prefer girls. Second, while boys are often seen as the ones who "carry on the family name", there's an unconscious idea that non-biological children should not be carrying on the family name. Third, boys who are available for adoption might be perceived as more "difficult," while girls are seen as more malleable and easier to parent. Fourth, to the extent that singles or same-sex families are adopting, there are far more women than men adopting, and they may see themselves as better able to parent a same-sex child.Regardless of the reason for the preference, it's well-documented and has been the case in the U.S. since the 1920s. Seems odd to claim bafflement!