How To Adopt a Gender-Specific Child

Girl or Boy?

Maybe you’ve always dreamed of having a little girl. Perhaps you’ve even started picking out some adorable baby girl clothes. Maybe you even already have a name chosen. Or, it could be that you can’t imagine your life without a sweet little boy. And, you’re so excited to adopt because you can finally add a little boy to your family as you’ve dreamed of. Maybe you already have a child but you’d love to adopt a child of the opposite gender now.

Although the norm with adoption seems to be that most prospective adoptive parents are open to either gender, some have a specific gender in mind. And, if that is you, I’m here to tell you, that’s OK!

Adoption Resource Library

With our first adoption, my husband and I were in the category of adoptive parents that wanted to specify gender. We knew we wanted a girl. We even had her name picked out years before she was ever born.

If you’re thinking of specifying a specific gender when you make your adoption plan, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind.

Making a Gender-Specific Adoption Plan

When you make your adoption plan, there are a lot of decisions. These include preferences such as open vs closed adoption, races you’re open to and whether you are willing to adopt a child with drug exposure along with other factors. And, if you are hoping to adopt a specific gender you will need to let that preference be known when setting your adoption plan. If this is important to you, you should absolutely let your agency know.

There are a couple of aspects of your adoption that may be affected by this choice. And, it’s best to be aware of these from the beginning. Some may see these as disadvantages, but I just see it as part of your unique adoption journey.

Remember that not everyone will understand your adoption journey or the specific choices you make. That’s OK. It’s not their journey. It’s yours.

Adoption Resource Library

If you feel called to adopt a specific gender, do not allow anyone to make you feel bad for that decision. However, if along your journey you feel that desire change or you realize that the factors that go into making a gender preference are not something you are up for, that’s OK too. This really is a journey and sometimes on a journey, things change and you decide to take a different route.

Choosing to be gender-specific can impact two major aspects of your adoption: wait time and budget.

Adoption Wait Time

As our agency reminded us, the fact that we were gender-specific meant that the number of birth mothers our profile would be shown to was reduced. By specifying gender, our profile would only be shown to birth mothers that were far enough along to know they were having a girl. This cut the potential mothers rather significantly. The more expectant mothers who view your profile, the sooner you are likely to be chosen. For some this potential increased wait time is reason enough to not be gender-specific. For us, we were willing to accept this potential extra wait time.

Adoption Budget

Another aspect that could possibly be affected by your decision to be gender-specific is budget. If your wait time is increased due to your preferences, you may need to have your home study updated which will have a cost associated with it.  In addition, while some agencies have a flat right, others charge based on the amount of screening they have to complete to find a birth mom that is the right fit. Therefore, the potential for additional screening could increase the cost. Be sure to talk with your adoption specialist to understand what to expect and ask about their fee structure.

Adoption is an important decision and your journey is just that- your journey. It does not need to look like anyone else’s. If your heart is directing you to a baby of a particular gender, speak with your adoption agency for details about gender-specific options, costs, and the impact it may have on your adoption wait time. But I personally wouldn’t let it discourage you if it’s what is on your heart.

Adoption Costs Guide


  1. Heather
    October 16, 2020 / 1:14 pm

    What adoption agencies do you recommend that allow for specifying gender?

    • Heather
      November 25, 2020 / 6:50 am

      Hi Heather- We used Bethany Christian Services but many agencies will let you specify when you set up your preferences. I’d suggest asking the agency when you’re checking them out. Also, if you get access to my free resource library on my site, you will find an agency questionnaire and much more to help during the process. All The Best, Heather

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