Adoptive parents tend to request girls. That’s a simple fact. So much so that recently when I got an email from a future adoptive mom saying she and her husband would prefer a boy, I tried to remember when I’d last heard that. Sure, there are plenty of families open to children of either sex, but the majority of people who state a preference prefer a girl. This is both according to my informal experience and according to statistics.
My husband and I did it ourselves with both our Ethiopia adoptions so far. We’d had four boys in a row at that point and were eager to have little girls again. And frankly, one of the nice things about adoption is that you CAN choose.
But lately we’ve been thinking boy. We don’t plan to state a preference. And who knows, when we get to the top of the list, there may very well be a sibling group of two girls assigned to us. But we’re assuming we’ll get at least one boy, maybe two. In fact, at the moment we have three boy names on our list of possibilities and zero girl names.
I’m looking forward to it. When I see little Black boys these days, I’ve been resisting the urge to pet their cute little buzz-cut heads, and I’ve been imagining giving some of those little buzz-cuts on African hair myself.
But there’s more to raising a Black boy than being able to give a good buzz cut. There is prejudice in this world, and sadly that prejudice is much more directed against Black boys than against Black girls. Amanda of Mayhem and Magic is the mother of two African-American boys, and wrote about this issue a couple months ago.
Right now, my kids are “cute little Black babies.” Among white people they are sometimes seen as a novelty. I have heard, “Oh, Black babies/kids are so CUTE!” way too many times. I’m hearing that less now, and I’m sure that particular comment will taper off completely by the time the boys are preteens.
Black babies may be cute, but Black teenage boys are thuggish, threatening, potentially violent gang members.
Possibly, when they are with us (their white parents), they may get a “pass.” They could be granted honorary whiteness because they belong with us, despite their Blackness. When they are on their own, or with other Black boys… All bets are off.
I don’t think I’m being overly dramatic about this. Have you heard what happens to Black men who cross the paths of arrogant white men with power?
In our mostly white community, our Black daughters have been accepted very well. I hope that it is also the case with our Black sons, even when they get older. But, like Amanda, I am preparing for the possibility that people will not be so accepting. Amanda’s post is worth reading, whether you are the parent of a Black boy or just a person trying to live thoughtfully.