We're on a paperchase for a little guy! I've explained a little bit about our journey to Danny's "yes" and a bit more about where we're going, but not much of anything about who this newest member of our family might be.
Though it seems a little strange to be able to "shop" for the characteristics you want in a child, adoption does afford that opportunity to some extent. The vast majority of the adoption process is completely outside of our control. So is our child's history and everything else that will influence his personality, health and development until we bring him home. We are given a little control however over the superficial characteristics we're willing to parent. We therefore, have carefully thought through our options, submitted our leanings to God's ultimate authority, and trusted Him to provide us with wisdom and counsel for making the decision that will most glorify Him.
All of that has led us to a preference for a little boy. From the most pragmatic of standpoints, it will even us up at two girls, two boys, and make the room-sharing thing a snap. When we told the kids our new child might be a boy Alyssa was initially a little disappointed. She contemplated it for a moment however, and then concluded, "Parker, I think this will be a great thing. Then I won't have to play swords with you anymore!" Parker indeed, could use a brother as he routinely laments his sisters' intense interest in dolls and ambivalence towards all weaponry.
We also were drawn towards requesting a male because more boys need homes. Generally speaking, more adoptive parents prefer girls. I'm not sure why, though we fell into this category with our first adoption. Our preference then was based on a desire to have a girl-boy-girl family, so that at least if Parker had to be the middle child he would have the distinction of the only boy. Who knew that God would have four in store for us?! We also pretty ignorant about all things adoption-related, and had no idea that so many little guys out there needed families. Now we'll have the opportunity to be blessed by two of each.
Many people then have found it strange that we're going to China. "Doesn't China only have little girls available?" is a question I've been asked more than once. The answer, generally, is yes if you want an infant. Which brings us to another characteristic we strangely get to shop for: age. We love having our kids close together. Alyssa and Parker are just 19 months apart, and Reagan was born 28 months after Parker. We initially thought we'd be bringing home a toddler from Vietnam and would have had #2 and #3 even closer together. I'd actually given away all of our baby stuff and was quite thoroughly shocked to have been referred an infant. Of course, in retrospect God knew exactly what He was doing and brought the child into our life that was and is perfect for our family. Reagan didn't even seem to mind sleeping in a pack 'n play and having her diaper changed on top of the washing machine!
Given the fact that Reagan will be four in October, we really didn't want to start over with another baby. I suppose it's no surprise that there's also a greater need for families willing to adopt older children. There were certainly be extra challenges involved in bringing home a preschooler vs. an infant, but we believe that the benefits to our child and to our family will far outweigh them. Our hope is that we will be matched with a boy about a year younger than Reagan, up to maybe an 18 month spread. That will mean that he'll probably be between three and three-and-a-half when he comes home.
Another distinctive of the China program (and many programs with older children) is that our little boy will have some special needs. China currently has a list of 1800 children waiting for families with needs ranging from blindness to a corrected cleft lip. We are open to a range of needs, but prefer something of the mild or correctable variety. That, again, is something we choose, and we'll work closely with our agency to select someone from that list that would be the best fit for our family. Even if our guy isn't on the list right now, children are added about once a month and we have no doubt that we'll quickly be able to identify the boy God has in store for us.
We're anxiously awaiting the opportunity to share with you even more details about who our little guy is. You'll know as soon as we do!