A lot of gender thoughts have been popping up in my head lately and I thought I'd share where we are on the topic since I wrote this.
Recently, someone asked me if we selected girls in our adoptions. No. Our agency doesn't allow gender selection.
I read a poll in an adoption publication a few months ago that suggested most adoptive or prospective adoptive parents think they should be allowed to choose the gender of their adopted child. I don't know how scientific that poll was, but I was surprised. For the most part, I don't think adoptive parents should get to choose gender. Why should they? People can't choose when they get pregnant. (One responder to the poll said that because she couldn't get pregnant, picking her child's gender should be offered her as some kind of consolation. That's the kind of entitled narcissism that gives adoptive parents a bad name if you ask me.)
I can imagine discrete scenarios in which selecting gender would make sense. If current children in the family had certain kinds of abuse histories, one gender or the other might be the only healthy option. But for the average couple seeking their first (or second or third, for that matter) healthy newborn, I can't see any reason that they should go ordering up the gender of their choice. If adoption is about finding homes for babies (and children) who need them, gender shouldn't usually come into it.
All that said, we were mostly glad when Selina was a second child of the same gender as our first. (Cole was a little misty about giving up her dream of a boy, but I reminded her that one of our girls might yet grow up to be a boy, so all hope need not die!) In our case, a second child of roughly the same gender means indefinite years of room-sharing, clothes-sharing (hopefully) and thus a less strained budget. But we are also the legal guardians of two small boys, so it was not a make-or-break deal for us. We could end up parenting kids of all kinds before we're through.
Sometimes I catch myself thinking Selina is girlier than Nat. but actually, she's just quieter. So there's a little peek into my psyche. There is still really no telling what kind of girls our girls will be. The jury is out on Nat. At the moment, she's wearing a lot of tee-shirts and shorts and as recently as tonight was mistaken for a boy. I buy her shorts from the boys' section of the store, because no 2 year-old needs to be wearing Daisy Dukes and the boy shorts are about four inches longer. The tee shirts mostly having surfing themes, as they were bought in preparation for, or while on vacation in, Hawaii. And she has some distinctly girlie white shoes and some sneakers from the boys' department (I don't like bubble gum pink sneakers, okay? Sue me!) so often enough, she is entirely cross-dressed to play outside and run and climb and whatnot.
She has dresses too, but for summer playgroundwear, we have mostly stuck to shirts and shorts.
If I ask Nat what she wants to wear, she usually picks the last choice. So if I say "do you want a shirt and shorts or a pretty dress?" she'll say "pretty dress!" If I say "do you want to wear a pretty dress or your zebra shirt?" she's all over the zebra shirt.
She likes me to put lipstick on her when she catches me putting it on, and she likes to wear my shoes, my hats, and my lotion, but so did my ex's son when he was this age and spending lots of time with me. It feels entirely like "I want to be like Mama Shannon" as opposed to any real expression of her true soul.
I don't think she's really registered gender difference yet, in terms of categorizing Cole and me and she and Selina in one group and David and Rob and her granddaddies and uncles in another. She doesn't use pronouns very often and when she does, often as not, she uses the wrong gender for the person she's identifying. I suppose this is due to not hanging out in daycare or preschool. Nobody has told her she can't play with the trucks because she's a girl or that she needs to keep the boys out of the dollhouse.
So Nat's a mystery still, even at two-and-a-half.