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Looking for an agency that allows gender selection

Hi -

We live in Philadelphia just experienced a disappointment with our current agency, and are doing a little research before we jump back in.  We’ve learned a lot about setting boundaries and listening to our hearts.  Our current agency does not allow for gender selection.  Can anyone recommend an agency that does?  East coast would be nice, but not necessary.

Thank you!


Ok, so I’m pretty new to the process myself, but what?? They won’t let you select a gender? That seems ridiculous to me… Is this common with agencies? We’re doing foster care adoption and the two organizations we’ve talked to have both asked our preferences on boys, girls or either.

Posted by FosteringDreams on Jan 14, 2016 at 7:01pm

It’s actually less common for agencies to let you pick - they say you wouldn’t have a choice it if we’re your own.  Plus some women don’t know what they’re having, didn’t get adequate prenatal testing, etc.

Posted by bwantstoadopt on Jan 14, 2016 at 7:23pm

Foster care adoption is different… the child is already born and gender preference is just one of many things they ask about along with race, age, # of siblings, medical needs, behavioral issues, etc., etc.

Posted by toinfinityandbiond on Jan 14, 2016 at 7:48pm

American Adoptions lets you pick gender but it is quite a bit more money.  They also say that it usually takes longer to place because you are only shown to women who know what gender they are having and many do not.

Posted by Cosmo on Jan 14, 2016 at 7:54pm

What kind of adoption are you doing?

Posted by babydreams on Jan 14, 2016 at 9:11pm

Rredhead is a regular poster here whom I believe researched this alot.  Hopefully she will reply or you can pm her.

Posted by mamallama on Jan 14, 2016 at 9:22pm

A domestic infant!

Posted by bwantstoadopt on Jan 14, 2016 at 9:51pm

There’s a good reason for an agency to ban gender selection, and it is that most families want girls, whether for domestic or international adoption.  There’s no scientific study of the reasons, but some of the reasons given are that women usually fill out the forms, and women tend to want girls; that men are uncomfortable with having an heir and possible namesake who won’t look like them; that both men and women think that girls will be “easier” and have fewer behavioral challenges; and so on.  (By the way, it is not true at all that girls will have fewer behavioral challenges.)

In situations where the children are already born—for example, in international adoption—boys languish in orphanages a lot longer than girls do, when gender preference is permitted.  That has led many agencies to say that parents cannot choose gender, unless they already have two or more kids who are all of one gender, and they want to balance their family, or unless their homestudy shows that there is only one bedroom available for children in the family, and the newly adopted child will, therefore, will have to be of the same gender as the one currently in residence.  Some also will match singles only with a child of the same gender, although that is changing, given that fewer single men than single women adopt, and the practice would continue to contribute to more girls than boys being adopted, and given that evidence shows that committed adoptive parents can do a good job of raising children of either gender.

As others have also noted, in situations where prospective parents are matched with pregnant women before the birth of their children, gender selection is often impractical, because the pregnant women may not know the gender of the children they are carrying. Many pregnant women do not get ultrasounds unless a medical problem is suspected, and many do not want to know the gender of the child in advance.  Also, some pregnant women are referred close to delivery, having had little or no prenatal care.


Posted by sak9645 on Jan 14, 2016 at 10:25pm

Thank you Sharon! I’m aware of the reasons why many do not allow selection.  Despite those, I’m still interested in agencies that do, for very personal reasons.

Posted by bwantstoadopt on Jan 15, 2016 at 12:35am

Hey Bwantstosdopt—In today’s adoption environment you are very lucky if you find a child to adopt as there are many possible families for each available child. I would not be picky in this situation. Frankly, I don’t care what your “personal” reasons might be. If you had a bio child you would not have this choice either. My children are older and are grown. I hear about possible expectant mothers as I am fairly well known in my area and its adoption community. I would never volunteer to help someone who wants to select the gender.As a popular kindergarten teacher in my area says,“you get what you get and you don’t get upset.”

Posted by Annab on Jan 15, 2016 at 12:33pm

Many of us who come to adoption come from a point were we have faced years and years of loss and disappointment.  It’s normal to want to have the experience of raising an infant.  Infant adoption gives us this opportunity, but of course with much cost and emotional toil.  So personally I think if there is one added benefit to adoption it is that you can have a personal preference for gender.  Many of us are not lucky enough to get an (inexpensive in comparison) bio child.  It’s well with in our rights to limit our options for a preferred gender.  There are so many families out there hoping to adopt, so some having preferences doesn’t impact the children being placed (at least here in the states). And really it’s all about the expectant parents finding the right families for their child.

All this said we’ve adopted once and are looking to adopt again and have no preference.  We adopted from Catholic Social Services and they do allow you to limit your options to a particular gender.  We haven’t chosen to chose a gender because it does limit the times you’ll be shown to expectant parents.

Posted by mshell on Jan 15, 2016 at 2:00pm

Thank you for the insight and info mshell!

Posted by bwantstoadopt on Jan 15, 2016 at 2:13pm

i was open to race and drug exposure but gender specific. The agencies I worked with allowed me to be gender specific because I was open in so many other ways. I liked being gender specific because I wasn’t shown to women who were very early in their pregnancies. I personally don’t feel any woman should be matched before the third trimester (or very late on second) so I liked being limited in this way. I recommend exploring heart of adoptions in FL, advocates for children and Families in FL, and Adoption Choices (several locations TX, NV, CO, and others).  If they will let you specify gender may depend on how open you are in other ways, and I recommend asking lots of questions so you know if they are the right agency for you. Good luck!

Posted by singlemom2b on Jan 15, 2016 at 2:26pm

Of course parents don’t have control over the gender of bio children, but that’s a plus to adoption - you can choose. If you want a specific gender, wait for a match that fits your criteria. I don’t have agency recommendations but have heard, in general, some agencies are lenient about that. Even though some agency websites say they don’t allow gender selection, some do ask adoptive parents about gender preference.

Posted by momma21 on Jan 15, 2016 at 10:59pm

Thank you for all the supportive and informative replies.  I know this isn’t a topic all are comfortable with or agree with, but we all have our own unique situations, and what I need right now is support, not judgement or negativity.  That is why we join groups like this.  Much appreciated.

Posted by bwantstoadopt on Jan 16, 2016 at 3:02am

Nightlight Christian Adoptions, which does not discriminate on the basis of religion or sexual orientation,  and Open Adoption and Family Services both allow prospective adoptive parents to specify a child’s sex. OA&FS; has an excellent reputation. If you look at Nightlight, I’d recommend not using their NC office. They have offices in Denver and Los Angeles as well.

We were open to race and sex the first time we adopted, but the second time we adopted, we specified both. We wanted to ensure that our son had someone in our nuclear family who looked like him, and we wanted to experience parenting a boy and a girl.

I wrote my own blog post for all the people who think specifying sex is somehow wrong:

PS: Thanks for the shout out mamallama! smile

Posted by rredhead on Jan 16, 2016 at 5:22am

I always hear the “lots of women don’t know what they’re having” argument, too. However, when we would look at situations online, or get situations emailed to us by the services with which we were registered, almost everyone who was far enough along in their pregnancy to know the child’s sex, did. As another poster noted, specifying sex does mean you’ll only be shown in situations where an expectant mother is far enough along in her pregnancy to now that info. That’s at least 16 weeks, usually more like 20-24. That generally means a woman has had more time to explore her options.

Posted by rredhead on Jan 16, 2016 at 5:27am

Thank you so much rredhead!

Posted by bwantstoadopt on Jan 16, 2016 at 5:36pm


I’m not sure what type of adoption you are pursuing…if US private I can’t help with suggestions as I did International (Where it is most likely that you can specify not only gender but also can very likely choose the specific children if you are going with waiting children rather than newborn.)

The logic that you should have to take whatever you can get is absurd, no matter how many children there are waiting.(And there are millions.) What a horrible way to start your new family life…forced on a family that doesn’t really want you but is guilt tripped into taking you!! Your choosing a child that is the best fit for your family can only help both you and the child. There is so much that will be out of your hands no matter what you do…definitely keep looking till you find an agency that allows the best fit for your family.

Posted by Happy Camper on Jan 18, 2016 at 5:33pm

Hi, I understand that there are certain reasons for which gender selection may be challenging. Sac9645 commented on it and everything seems to be quite logical. However, when you adopt a child and you have any specific and very personal reasons for adopting a baby/babies of certain gender, you shall find the means to do it. Bwantstoadopt, I wish I could give you an advice, but we adopted internationally – regulations are different from country to country. Our agency allowed choosing a gender of a baby. We adopted from China. Boys are easier and quicker to adopt there than girls. This should also be taken in consideration. For example, referral for girls may last up to 24 months after dossier, and for boys it’s around three month. The difference is obvious. In any case, I am convinced that the final decision is up to the prospective parents.

Posted by DavidF on Jan 21, 2016 at 12:32pm

I really appreciate everyone’s suggestions!

Posted by bwantstoadopt on Jan 23, 2016 at 2:56pm

it was new for me to find out that agencies do not usually allow selecting gender. Why not?  As for me, I’m going to adopt internationally from India. As far as I know, they allow showing your preference in this or that gender, likewise giving your preferences in age, medical condition, sibling group or twins. I don’t know how it’ll really work for us, but I believe that they will match us with a child considering our preference.

Posted by EmmaManf on Feb 01, 2016 at 9:56am

I find many of the posts to be quite judgey and ignorant. Sure, you wouldn’t be able to choose the gender of the child if having one naturally but that is not your reality. Agencies allow selection of race, history of mental illness, drug exposure, etc. What makes gender any different? Why is it if I want to adopt a white child that’s fine but people get up in arms if I am trying to adopt a boy? And to the argument that agencies don’t allow gender selection because of the uncertainty of whether it will actually be born a girl/boy, does the same not apply to race? There are ways to assess the sex of the child during pregnancy but not the race of the father of a child. Maybe try to answer the question rather than judge it.

Posted by mattsmuh on Jan 06, 2021 at 11:42am

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