Follow me on the crazy, hopeful, discouraging, funny, and ultimately successful (one way or another) path to parenthood while facing infertility.

Monday, February 15, 2016

#Microblog Mondays: The Gender Reveal



During a profile call you get all kinds of information. During our first profile call, I had 3 1/2 pages of my small purple Vera Bradley notebook filled with everything from health history of expectant mother and expectant father, to reason for placing, to length of prenatal care, to a really detailed extended family history.

And then, in the middle of it all,

"And it's a boy."

Huh? Shouldn't there be more pomp and circumstance than that? It was said so matter-of-factly.

The funny thing is I always wanted to know, I didn't want it to be a surprise. But there's a difference between a moment in an ultrasound, the goo on your belly, seeing either a third leg of sorts or the absence of one and the proclaimed gender in a quasi-intimate moment...and a statement of fact about a baby that may or may not be yours, just one more piece of information to add to your frantically copied down notes.

I guess there's no other way to do it, if the information is known, it's shared. For some people that might make a difference. For me, it was kind of a letdown to hear that information so casually, information that would have had some level of excitement around it. No cakes filled with pink or blue icing or boxes of pink or blue balloons to be released at a party other than a shower, but a private celebration that would have us thinking on one list of names or another.

It sort of made me think of how different this experience is from what we would have had before, and while it is fascinating and will bring us the joys of parenthood, it also takes some of those gradual milestones away from us. The gender to us does not matter one whit--we are thrilled to have a baby of either gender join our household. I just wish that maybe the option of knowing was left to us to decide to know, instead of having gender be one of the many biographical information bits shared over the phone, in a call that may or may not result in parenthood.

Want to read more #Microblog Mondays? Go here and enjoy!

14 comments:

  1. This certainly is one aspect I haven't considered. With pregnancy you get this option and it's considered rude to inquire. But with adoption, I imagine this information is seen as necessary for placing. That it's considered part of all the necessary information needed to help find this child a forever home.

    It's a bummer in a weird way.

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    1. It is a bummer, in a weird way. And I can't help but feel that it's included because of gender preference for some people...otherwise why would it be relevant? If gender preference is highly discouraged and you are feasibly waiting for a baby of either sex, I kind of feel like you should be given an option to know the sex if it's known. I mean, what information does that give you for making a decision unless you're vying for one sex or another? So strange to me.

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  2. Looking back on it, when we fostered children this was probably the best part for me. That call, the one where you got the name and what gender they were, how old they were, it was like a mini gender reveal with every ring of the telephone. I never quite got over seeing their little faces for the first time. It may seem different, but it doesn't make it less special. One day, when you look back, you will still remember that call and smile :)

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    1. That's such an interesting way to look at it -- such a positive spin! I will certainly remember the call and smile, but I'm still bewildered by how casually that information is given without any option for "do you want to know the sex," which is given when you're pregnant. But it is kind of neat with all the uncertainties to have that piece of information static, right?

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  3. That's such an interesting aspect of adoption that I hadn't thought of. Of course, we never made it that far... If you are chosen by an expectant mother, you could still do a gender reveal party with your friends and family though.

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    1. That's true...although I was being political up above and really I can't stand gender reveal parties. :) I feel like that's such a private moment, and one to share with friends and family without so much hoopla, but that's just my opinion. I just kind of want the option to NOT be told, so that I can have it revealed in its own time, maybe at the birth, or maybe sooner, but in a way I feel like it would be better to reveal that if you definitively ARE chosen. It's a little too easy to attach myself to a baby that has a defined sex, it makes it less amorphous. I can start fantasizing about names and little boy clothes (everything we have is neutral) and then it makes not being chosen just a tad more difficult. But I guess in the long run it's just another piece of information... Thanks for your thoughts!

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  4. Wow. Just... wow.

    I have no personal experience with adoption, but this actually makes me mad! I understand this is more of a legal process than a medical one, but still - where's the caring bedside manner? There's no way the person on the other end of the phone could possibly think that little off-hand fact doesn't come with some strong emotional attachments. Grrrr!

    So sorry you had this experience, Jess. I hope there are no more sucker-punches in the future, and still sending oodles of good vibes your way.

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    1. I appreciate your feelings about this. I don't feel angry or sucker-punched so much as just a loss of surprise that I didn't know I wanted. I don't think it's out of lack of sensitivity on the social worker's part, I think she has to share whatever information is available. It's just surprising to me that we don't automatically have a choice in knowing that information. We'll see how everything pans out! Thanks for your thoughts!

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  5. I liked Lavonne's way of look at it, though, you're right: it's one more thing that marks the experience as different. I wonder if there is a way to convey that and ask them to make that the end piece of information. Maybe if there was a pause and then it was said at the end, you would hear it differently than tucked in the middle.

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    1. That's a terrific idea. I wonder if I can even request that next time gender not be shared until a match happens, if that information can be left out of the mix. It's so strange, because I did always want to know, but now it feels like something taken from me, like a significant moment reduced to biographical information on a child that might not even be ours in the long run. I think it would be better to know at match... Give you something to look forward to (if its known at all, which it appears is the case a lot of the time).

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  6. I never thought of that about adoption before. I'm with Cristy that maybe it's just factual information needed for placing?? I mean, I can see how I guess they would need to tell you if the baby was already born, but if the mother was still pregnant, why couldn't you wait to know that? Or maybe if that situation came up where the mother was still pregnant there would be a chance to have the discussion if you would want to know gender? Especially if the mother didn't yet know for whatever reason, be it early in the pregnancy or something. Maybe it's something you can mention or ask about when you make one of your "checking in" phone calls to the agency.
    I also had to laugh at your response above...because I really hate gender reveal parties, too for the hoopla you mentioned.

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    1. I totally agree that there should be a chance to say, "I want to know the gender" or "I don't want to know the gender until later." Especially if it's a profile opportunity and not a match. I'm never going to say no because it's one sex or the other, so it makes little sense to me... :) I will definitely ask next time it's relevant! Ha, so funny. I feel like gender reveal parties are a recent thing, and I just don't get it. :)

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  7. I'm sorry to hear you are feeling this loss of the element of surprise. If my husband and I decide to go the route of adoption, this has been one of things that bothers me. I always wanted to find out the gender at birth. I'm sorry it felt like sharing a cold fact, and I admire your trying to reframe it in some positive light. I'm wondering, is there some way to communicate to the social worker that is making the call to you that you don't want to know the baby's gender? Or that they could wait to share that information once the match is firmed up? You make an excellent point that it is easy to already start daydreaming about that child when learning that they exist and that knowing the gender makes it even more real and concrete. The attachment starts before even seeing the baby and having more information could make it harder if the child is not matched with you or if it becomes a failed match. Why do people not see how having certain pieces of information makes it so a little more of your heart breaks if it does not work out?

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    1. I will totally make it clear for the next call that I would love to have that info left out...I think it's totally okay to request, right? I'd love to know upon match and then choose to keep it secret if we want, but it is stinky to get that information so casually. And the attachment piece is definitely harder... you can envision an engendered child so much more easily than one who is still amorphous and androgynous. I'm trying to stick to the whole thought that if it doesn't work out, it wasn't our baby, but if it's a longer wait and we can visualize a little baby boy in our home it does make it sting more, even if there's nothing we can do about it. Thanks for your thoughtful comment!

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