Since starting my blog about raising a gender nonconforming child more than two years ago, I’ve been contacted by countless families who have found themselves in a parenting situation similar to mine. The families that reach out to me are most often looking for camaraderie, resources, advice and/or to be connected with other gender nonconforming families in their area.
Recently, I’ve noticed something else that these families have in common: the gender nonconforming child is adopted. Six out of the last eight families to have a parent contact me are raising a gender nonconforming child that is not biologically theirs.
As I think back, before I started noticing the trend and keeping track, I can remember several other families who contacted me and who — while sharing with me a little about their gender nonconforming child — mentioned that s/he was adopted.
Do adoptive parents need more help as they raise a gender nonconforming child? Or, are they just more likely to seek out help? Am I not hearing from biological parents raising their gender nonconforming child because they have it totally handled and don’t need a thing?
I hadn’t mentioned this trend to anyone until I brought it up to a new mom friend of mine who I met through the blog and who is raising an adopted gender nonconforming boy.
She thought about it for a while and then gave the most beautiful possible explanation.
She believes that the universe places adopted families together. Maybe the universe or some higher power knew that she would be a great mom for a gender nonconforming son and so it gave her one.
I nodded my head in agreement. I knew what she meant. I feel like the universe gave me C.J. on purpose. I’m the best mother for him; I can feel it in my heart. I was meant to be C.J.’s mother.
We talked about it. And, she pointed out that most adoptive parents have to go through quite a lot to have a child; in most cases it’s more of a process than biological parents have to go through. Maybe the intense longing to have a child, the legal process and the challenges that can go along with the adoption process readies a parent to be more accepting of absolutely whatever comes their way. Are adoptive parents more accustomed to seeking out help and resources?
Because the child is not biologically theirs, can they better separate themselves from the child and the traditional expectations that go along with parenting a child that is half theirs and half their partner’s? If so, does that better prepare them to avoid a mourning a process, see a challenge and address it? Adoptive parents have no idea what they are going to get. They start with no expectations because they don’t know what to expect. They know that the child isn’t going to be a mini-me, so are they more willing to let the child be who they were created to be – knowing that they signed up to deal with whatever they were given?
Then, I noticed another trend. More than half of the families who have contacted me have mentioned that their gender nonconforming child is also a little behind in school, is at risk for repeating a grade level or has already repeated a school year.
It feels like yet another special need families like ours must deal with. For C.J. for example, I feel like his slow academic progression can in part be attributed to his being focused on gender differences and worrying about whether kids will notice his different gender presentation. When you are worried if other kids will notice and tease you about liking girl stuff, learning addition and subtraction isn’t going to seem important. Learning uppercase and lowercase letters doesn’t feel like a survival skill. Blending in when needed and honoring your true self when safe to do so, do feel like survival skills. I can understand that.
Also, if you’re a boy who likes cradling a doll in the kitchen during free time in the classroom you seem a little younger and immature. Five- and six-year-old gender conforming boys have matured and moved past that. They have moved on to throwing sand at each other on the playground and tackling each other during games of full-contact tag.
For parents who are living with all of these things — raising a child who is gender nonconforming, adopted and sixth months to two years academically behind their same-age peers — the challenges just seem to keep compounding. I have to believe it’s because the universe knew what it was doing. It gave the unique challenges to parents who are strong, smart and loving enough to handle them and never accept defeat. It’s not a scientific explanation, but it’s the one that makes the most sense to me.
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Raising My Rainbow has been selected as a finalist in the 2013 Parents Blog Awards in the category of “Most Likely to Inspire You to Change the World.”
Voting is super simple. Just click here and select my blog under the “Most Likely to Inspire You to Change the World” category. You can vote once a day until Feb. 24.
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The slower academic progress could also be that neuroatypical traits tend to cluster together. LGTB people have a higher rate of left-handedness, and autistic AFABs have higher rates of being LGTB. (I have so far met three different AFAB transgender autistic teenagers, and I’m aro ace and autistic.) It wouldn’t surprise me if dyslexia and other learning disabilities are more common in LGTB kids.
As for the adoption thing, CJ has a gay uncle. Maybe adoptive families are more likely to ask for help with their gender creative kids because they don’t have an LGTB relative to ask for advice?
Interesting post which really rings true for my experience. I am a 20-year-old straight, gender-conforming woman, and my parents’ biological child. I have a younger brother who just turned 11 who is adopted – we adopted him when he was 16 months old and I was 11. He is also what I would describe as “gender-creative” – he dressed up as Cinderella two years in a row for Halloween when he was 4 or 5, went through a stage of obsessively watching the Strawberry Shortcake TV show, liked to wear dresses and womens’ wigs and play princesses, etc. He is very bright but he did repeat kindergarten because he wasn’t really emotionally or academically ready for first grade and is also on the younger side (early summer birthday). He is now about to start fifth grade and is doing great academically these days. He was a bit of a late reader, but he is now reading above grade level (he read the whole Hunger Games trilogy last year).
I think these trends you mentioned here are really interesting because they are all true for my family. My parents never really sought a lot of outside help about my brother’s gender creativity because my parents are both very open-minded and the area we live in seems to be pretty open-minded about gender and sexuality stuff as well.
My brother is a little older than CJ, and I have definitely noticed that in the past few years he has not only been more “gender-conforming” but has also become more self-conscious about his gender-non-conforming interests and behaviors. For example, I rarely see him wearing dresses around the house anymore, and the couple times that I have seen him doing it, he always looks embarrassed. Interestingly, his interests have shifted away from princesses and toward stuff like Harry Potter, the Hunger Games, anime TV shows, and video games (particularly Minecraft). He’s definitely not super masculine in terms of his interests (he’s never really been too interested in cars or trucks or superheroes) and the stuff he likes tends to be more “middle” stuff that both boys and girls his age like.
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Just a thought…perhaps ,as well as dealing with gender differences, the low academic progress might have a little to do with KNOWING that you’re different. “Since wearing gender conforming clothing isn’t important to me, and I don’t have to wear it, THEN since math isn’t important to me, maybe I don’t have to learn it??” or more vaguely “When do I conform and it’s okay, and when should I not be true to what I want/need to be myself? Is math the same kind of issue as clothes or hair or toys???” Perhaps to a kid, these things are all on equal footing is their world? When the focus has to be on individuality and strength so often, when does the focus turn to the times when we have to “fit in” such as graduating, careers, partnerships, etc.? Just some thoughts I had when reading about the instances of low academic progress with some of the kids and it seemed like something no one had thought of.
I have three awesome kids (biologically mine), and my middle child, T, is gender creative. I love reading about your experiences and challenges with CJ because it often reminds me of similar situations with T, who is 5, turning 6 later this year.
You’ve probably addressed most of these issues already, but here are our “trouble spots”.
Dealing with mockery / teasing / exclusion by kids at school. My son enjoys boy clothes and girl clothes, proudly announces his love of “girl stuff”, and at one point in time had a bright pink My Little Pony backpack that was his greatest treasure – but he and I both worry about the reactions at school. I notice him adjusting his choices to avoid attention at school, and it seems to make him sad. Have you had to handle this, or have any suggestions?
Most people in our family, upon meeting T and getting to know him, understand that his gender presentation is an essential part of his being – just like his pretty hair, his silly sense of humour, or his endless streams of questions. Some people are a bit less understanding, though. And some people are pretty darn sexist and have some opinions about women in general that I consider damaging. How do you talk to someone about their rigid, sexist attitudes and statements of worth based on how your child presents themselves? Is it best to just limit or supervise exposure to people like that, or have you found a tactful way to handle such a conflict?
T’s best friend is a girl, L, who is put off by T’s girlish behavior and dress at times. T tries to present himself to her as a boy, because that’s what she seems to expect, but he feels hurt and rejected in the process. One day, getting dressed, he said, “I was going to wear hair pretties today but I won’t because then L won’t tell me I look handsome. She only likes boys who dress like boys!” This, and other statements, make me wonder about the messages L is giving him about self-acceptance, the messages she herself has received about self-acceptance, and whether she’s really a good friend for T to have. Have you had to “screen” any of CJ’s friendships, or talk with the parents of his friends about similar issues? Am I over-reacting to simple childhood dynamics?
Your recent post about the nightmare had by CJ’s dad, where CJ came out of anesthesia “100% boy” (and thus 0% authentic CJ), echoes my greatest fear: that my son will be taught to feel ashamed of who he is, and hide his light under a bushel. I want him to know he can be his most authentic self, regardless of how people react, and he is valued and adored for his authenticity. I’m sure you understand.
Keep up the good work!
This is an amazing idea! (I guess I should say, “these are” since there was more than one idea mentioned) I really like everything you had to say!
I am so thrilled to have found you. A girlfriend that has been following my journey on Facebook told me to look you up. I have twin 5 yr old girls. Just after starting kindergarten this year one of my twin girls has decided that she wants and only likes boy stuff. She identifies as a girl but looks just like a boy. It has been confusing for some school mates but she has stood her ground. I support her no matter what and believe in her no matter what she likes and who she wants to be. Please add me to your weekly mailer 🙂
I think adoptive parents are more open to the possibilities of the whole child. I know that adopting was freeing in a sense, as my child, not being biologically related, was truly their own little person. I didn’t feel any pressure in raising a child to be a mini-me.
I think children can sense this respect and honor of their unique person and maybe feel more open to expressing themselves.
Adoptive parents, just by the nature of what processes we go through to adopt, are generally (not always) great advocates for their kids. They have already learned to negotiate a very complex process of adoption.
I totally understand why a gender creative kid could be behind in school. The toll of heterosexism or racism is huge and not often acknowledged. It is there with children 24-7. GLSEN has some great stats on academics and how the climate and culture can definitely translate into academic difficulties.
Love your blog!
I wanted to respond to all these comments about schooling/education. I attended public school in NYC in the ’60s. My children went to Jewish parochial school. Now that I am an old lady and a big LGBT rights supporter, I know that the major problem with the current educational offerings is conformity. All children are required to conform to standards set by the school board and there is little room for variation and creativity. (I also used to teach in public HS) Most of the time, the classroom setting has the teacher standing up front and the students taking notes. I can’t remember anything ever being said about different learning styles or using different parts of your brain. I only learned all of this when two of my 3 children were diagnosed with ADHD and some other ‘alphabet soup’
ailments. They were both asked to leave their schools several times. The reason given was that the school couldn’t handle or didn’t have the resources to cope with a child who was different or needed something extra. Franky, both of them have high IQ’s but couldn’t handle the pressure of a tightly controlled environment. I’m sure that a gender-nonconforming child would have similar issues compounded by sexual/social issues as well.
As for the bathroom issue, It’s much easier for children to use the ladies room because there are stalls so you can have some privacy while you do your business. Even a unisex bathroom would have stalls and a door. In the home, bathrooms have doors which provide privacy, which I believe is the real issue here. Why should someone feel intimidated when they have to perform bodily functions?
Finally, these teachers need some sensitivity training. I can’t believe that these close-minded birdbrains got teaching licenses.
Otoh, sj, look at the intellectual pool they get to choose from. You make some good points though, especially about unisex bathrooms. Unfortunately our culture hasn’t moved from the potty mind mentality where we are so ashamed and upright about our bodies.
I only read about 3/4 of the replies but I can say that my 6yo biological gender-creative son who was born at 39 weeks is doing great in Kindergarten, do worry about that changing with social pressures. Right now he is doing well in class socially but does not have a ton of friends outside of school but has some, he is socially immature in my opinion but his teacher thinks he just does not care what others think. FWIW I am adopted and the adoptee comments above made me sad, I was raised feeling my parents were lucky to have me and not that I owed anyone for adopting me.
This is absolutely horrifying. How come so many LQBT people are naturally born in highly homophobic families? I love this blog, read it religiously, but this is as backwards as anything I’ve ever heard a Republican say. I mean, this is just about on the level of “rape is a gift from God.”
More likely to agree with the commenters that adopted parents tend to be much more prepared and don’t see it as a reflection on them, as horrifying as it is to be ashamed of someone because of their inner biology vs. outward presentation. Also agree with the sentiment that wish bio parents had to endure every bit of the process that adoptive parents have to go through… the world would be a better place.
Based on the nasty comments I’ve read on yahoo comments it can’t possibly be just republicans because there can’t be that many of only one political side all of a sudden just showing up.
Why are so many span kids being born into homophobe homes, because again, based on what I’ve seen, this entire culture is predominately homophobe so therefore statistically that’s the greater probability of what you’ll be born into. That this family handles things so well is the exception, and a darn small one at that, and they’re very very lucky to have that capability, which makes them so rare. The herd fear of change and anything different must be so strong, because the population of the LGBTQ is realtively small, if one doesn’t count minor transgressions like Billy Joe Armstrong of Green Day wearing eyeliner and mascara on a regular basis.
In regard to the article about Coy in CO, what I’m most amazed at is the number of women who are even more vitriolic about this then the men are, and that’s going some.
The bigger question that no one seems to want to ask, much less address is why is it that girls becoming more like men in dress, activities and personality acceptable and promoted, while even minor boundary crossing into the world of femininity are reviled as sick, and their supporters called clueless and delusional? I can only conclude that our culture, no matter what is not said due to political correctness, is becoming even more biased against women, and are pleased beyond punch, even among women, that feminine behavior and interests are being eradicated. Sad. This is not something to be proud of.
I have found the discussion about adopted children very interesting, but the reason for my response has more to do with the issue of gender non-conforming children and academic issues. And further, my response is to give perhaps some positive input on what can seem to be a challenge on a challenge – that of supporting a gender non-conforming child at the same time as managing their academic-non-performance;
I don’t speak from the parent’s perspective. I speak from the now-adult, gender non-conforming child. I am a 35 year old gay woman, who, as a little girl was far more of a little boy. I liked boy things – boy clothes, boy toys, and boy haircuts. And would have been quite happy if i woke up one day and found that i had become a boy.
And as much as that was who i was, i was embarrassed if someone i respected (e.g. a teacher) found that out. But without getting sidetracked into that story, let me come back to academia, in brief.
I started school, and was a high performer, for a short while. And then i was a non-performer. Many tests and experts later, i was diagnosed with ADD. I under-performed most of my way through junior and senior school, and was identified as having a 12 year old reading speed at the age of 15. None of this sounds very good, and it certainly matches up with a lot of comments that have been made above. I don’t have an explanation for the link between the academic struggle, ADD and gender issues, but i can say this; I finished high-school, with academic results in the top 10 of my year. I was accepted at University, and achieved a Master of Science degree,
And all of that, is thanks to my Mother. (who bought me boy toys and boy clothes as a little one, and who helped with homework and forced study time, as an older one.)
So, beloved and amazing mothers who are reading this blog – all is not lost.
My (biological- since much of this discussion is regarding adoption) mother, who had limited exposure to gender creativity and ‘issues’ raised her own rainbow, and primarily through her input (often forcefully), i have become a successful, happy and well balanced adult.
So; parents (biological or otherwise) whether you were chosen by the universe, or co-incidence, or genetics, never under-estimate the real potential of your child, nor the impact of your role in their lives.
(And a brief comment to the post by Kiara – as a gender – non – conforming girl, what i do know is that it is ‘easier’ to wear boy-clothes, as a child or adult female, than it can possibly be in reverse. Women wear trousers, shirts, shorts and base-ball caps, anyway., A little bit of a masculine theme on that is far less ‘out there’ in society than a boy or a man wearing heals, dresses, sparkles or makeup – so there is far less difference to have to manage)
Although not adopted, I would certainly say that I was a gender creative child. And I do believe that my mom was intentionally chosen because she was meant to have a gender nonconforming son. Thank you for making me realize that!
Voted for Raising My Rainbow! Good luck!
I have a 7 yr old gender non-conforming son who is slightly behind as well. He can style an amazing chignon and has the dexterity of french braiding intricate styles, but his dexterity with holding a pencil and writing simply are a bit awkward. He has been behind most of the kids in his class since he was in kindergarten. We think he’s smart in ways that traditional schools do not measure. I may be biased but he is a brilliant kid, has an unbelievably witty sense of humor and uncanny creativity. .
I have been reading your blog for a long time, simply because I like it and I love the way in which you show total acceptance and embrace your son. I have both adopted and biological children and I notice one thing that might make sense here. For my husband, it is easier to accept it when our adopted kids make a mistake or don’t get something the first time. It seems like with our biological children he took everything they did as a personal reflection of him. I don’t know why, maybe some kind of subconscious “oh well, it didn’t come from me”… He is very good with all of them, and very loving, but I just know that had our oldest son played with dolls like our youngest son does, he would have had a fit!!
Voted! My Sons were both preemie’s born at 29 and 28 weeks gestation. My oldest-5 years old is gender non-conforming and I have noticed that a lot of people in the LGBTQI were also born early.
http://specialhappens.com/2013/02/21/understanding-transgender-children/ saw this and your blog is mentioned.
I would like to vote but I don’t have a facebook account, is there any way to vote without having to have one?
Wonderful, thought-full post! I had never considered the separation involved in adopting a child. I have always prayed that God would give the kids with special needs (whatever they may be) to the parents who can best handle them.
As usual, your blog brings me to tears, opens my (tear-filled) eyes and heart, and makes me think. And makes me grateful and grace-full.
If there is a higher frequency among adopted kids, it is probably more likely that the stress hormones of crisis pregnancies, not the magical kismet that brings adoptive families together. There have been studies that show pregnancies in high-stress situations ( WWII, I think) that showed an increase in homosexuality, so it seems logical to me that crisis pregnancies could easily follow those stress-related brain changes to a developing fetus.
perhaps, but this area is studied so little that any possibilities are at best hypotheses to start research with. you must remember statistical analysis and probability over a large population or at least time frame. this is why our current global warming “answer” is at the very least completely insufficiently founded.
The learning thing could be because they are more creative. As a boy, CJ must imagine himself as one of those Disney princesses. It’s not as easy for him like most young girls to envision themselves in that role. He may have more of a creative mind then you know. He could be the next Picasso…
No doubt it’s true that children who were adopted are less “like” their parents in general, but many a biological parent-child pair are as unlike as two individuals can be. After serious mental illness, poor match between parent(s) and child is the most common reason that families – biological or adoptive – end up in therapy. It’s all about letting children be who they are and write their own stories. Shameless plug for my blog: http://wkwutk.wordpress.com/2013/01/05/the-kid-you-got/ and http://wkwutk.wordpress.com/2012/12/16/what-if-your-parents-controlled-your-life/. As always, love reading your posts!
Regarding the academic issue with gender-creative kids; it’s just the same in so many cases with other LGBTQ kids. Our psychologist told us that gay kids also can be about a year or so behind their peers in terms of maturity and academics and it is exactly due to what you said. These kids are spending so much emotional, physical, and mental time on dealing with the LGBTQ issues that they lag behind a bit on other issues that take second, or third or fouth place. Survival first. This is why we have to deal with public acceptance FIRST so that these kids can just proceed with their lives like everyone else. I think that this concept also crosses over to kids that are dealing with other issues, divorce, etc. Their energy is spent in other places than in just growing up. As parents, we have to stand up to the status quo in our society to make it safe for ALL kids!
Are adopted kids more likely to be gender creative? I don’t know. But I suspect that the parents who reached out to you, might be more open to being acceptive of whatever differences their children have, because they were adopted, and more likely to seek out support. I see in my own family (my brother’s children) that of the 5 nieces and nephews I have, 3 of them are gender creative: one, so far has come out as lesbian. And I don’t see either of my brothers or their wives seeking out support for their gender creative children in the way of connecting them with other gender creative children.
This past weekend, as my family gathered to memorialize my mother, who died in late December, I learned that my eldest niece, who is almost 21, has her first girlfriend. I am so tickled that she has her first love! Love your blog, and I voted for you.
“Adoptive parents have no idea what they are going to get.”
But this is also true of biological parents. Sure, genetic material from my ex and I combined to create the two kids we had. But we still didn’t know what they would look like before they were born or what they would look like as they grew. It was possible they’d be born with some kind of condition that would claim their life while young. We had no idea of the people they were going to grow to be.
Growth isn’t nature versus nurture. It’s actually a combination of both. How we nurture our children can affect their nature to an extant, and their nature will affect how they respond to the ways in which they are nurtured.
The way you nurture CJ’s nature is a beautiful thing.
I would really love to believe this sentiment about adoptive parents/families, but as an adult adoptee who works in adoptee rights…and as a therapist working with many adopted children/teenagers, I have seen environments where often the adopted person is NOT loved for who they are, but rather made to feel (at least, that is the perspective of the adopted ones) that they have to ‘fit in’ to their family. While not just in a gender sense, many adoptees have felt they are or need to be ‘white’ when in fact they are korean/chinese/indian/african american, or that they should act a certain way or have a certain set of beliefs because they were saved in to a family.
What I know, is that my parents tried really hard to have children and since then it has felt for me, and my siblings, that they are holding tightly to this idea of us, rather than really getting to know us as adults. I have felt that I ‘owe’ them something because they tried so hard to have children and ended up with me, and that I need to be ‘grateful’ for that. And any choices that I have made that haven’t gone in accordance with what they would like, they ask things like “are you trying to be like HER.” My parents are good people, but sadly I have seen this trend too often as a therapist.
I’ve been wondering, how many parents contact you needing help with a gender nonconforming girl? It seems that all the friends you talk about who have gender nonconforming children have boys. Just curious.
I know this is kind of late in coming, but my daughter is gender non-conforming. She’s 12 now so is less often mistaken for a boy but it does still happen. She wears her hair short, prefers boy’s clothes (never a skirt or dress and pink only on the anti-bullying t-shirt that is mostly black!). She plays lacrosse, does best in tech ed, band and physical education at school, and wants to be a welder/blacksmith/metal artist when she grows up. But she’s a girl and is happy to be a girl – she just doesn’t want to conform to society’s gender-based stereotypes. I’ve never asked for help with this, because I’m perfectly okay with it. Oh – and she was adopted.
I think the reason it’s not such a big deal for many parents of daughters is that the “tomboy” is an established and accepted variation on sex based gender stereotypes. Whereas the “cissy” – as the name clearly tells you – is not. And someday – not soon enough – society will get over this nonsense and just let people be people in all their wonderful and infinite variety.
Interesting questions. I have no answers.
And, I’ve voted numerous times and I always post on my wall! More people should be reading your blog!
I agree with George, fascinating questions and the most important part is that the questions are being asked, and it may be surprising to find out what other commonalities may be shared and discovered. It may be a confluence of many factors, we as humans tend to get overwhelmed by too many variables.
I also agree with Tiffany that adoptive parents may be much more open to the child’s own exxpression of themselves, because they have less skin in the game on the child’s behavioral issues, a distance if you will from being attached to it. After all, they can always say that yes this is my child but it’s not reflective of me since s/he is adopted and the blame if there is any can be directed elsewhere. However, that still begs the question as to why so many more kids are showing up as creatives. That they’re in adopted households is not the point. That they are showing up in increasingly frequency is to me what’s interesting.
To that end, I believe in a new term that I coined, spansexual, that is more broadly focused on expression, rather than behavior. It is not so limiting to one or the other, or simply bi, or even trans. It is to me a term that implies application that encompasses all likes and dislikes of human gender. You can be minimally span, or maximally span, yet include what we know of the 3 distinct parts of human sexuality. The biology (sex), male/female, the gender of how one wishes to think of themselves, and the sexuality, that part of self that is about who you find attractive.
So you can be fully hetero for example, be somewhat span or even fully span, and yet retain all aspects of the 3 parts in congruence. Just because you would be a fully span male, would NOT mean that in your female expression then you are either gay or lesbian meaning when I’m in female expression, and yet attracted in hetero, then I would consider myself in relationship as lesbian, as you could still express your preferred sexuality as hetero. That makes sense to me.
In reading this post, I wonder, applying my term span, I wonder how many people would then be free to be span if our cultural viewpoint wasn’t so rigidly skewed? I suspect that the number of people spanning to some degree would be huge if they were culturally free(er) to do so. In fact I would daresay that that would in fact be the true norm of human expression. However you felt could be expressed from minimal to full span, but it would mean nothing more than an outward expression of what you liked, what atracts you, as an internal dialog. That might free up the rabid homophobia we see, especially in this culture.
A fascinating set of questions in an excellent post, and thought-provoking replies. Looking forward to hearing what responses you get from the families you are in contact with!
I see some logic in adoptive parents being more open for unique challenges. Unfortunately their are sad stories where problems develop because of past trauma. In any case, I am glad there are more accepting parents whatever the reason! I voted and would encourage others to do so – we have to climb up past a few others to get this blog to number one!
Maybe fewer biological parents are comfortable admitting what is happening and asking for advice. They are often younger and with an idealised idea in their head of what their child will be like. They may be less willing to accept when they are wrong. I know my own parents, although really great, didnt know what to do when my sister was growing up quite obviously not into the same things as the other girls. They ignored it to a degree I think, and were shocked when she came out despite the obvious signs looking back. I think experiencing this first hand has made me more accepting. When it’s my turn, I won’t care whether my kid is gay or straight, or non conforming, apart from be worried about bullies. I don’t know if I could say that if I hadn’t have grown up with my sister which is sad but true. Just glad I got the family I did!
I had heard that a local authority is finding many gender non-conforming children are on their adoption/forstering list over here in Wales. I also know my friends gender non-conforming child was adopted, initially she had wanted a boy as she’d had two girls and it was her second husband who wanted a child. For about the first year of knowing her I didn’t realise she had a ‘son’ as she always talked about her daughter when talking about ‘him’.
I was also watching a lecture on gender non-comforming and trangender clients were Alex Drummond spoke about higher incidents of ADHD and Autisitic spectrum co-inciding with gender non-comformity. Although wonder if these could also influence whether a child is more likely to express gender variance as the person is more likely to be impulsive so act on gender variance or affected differently by societies injunctions about gender by their differing neurology which makes it harder to understand others viewpoints.
I love reading your blog it always gets me thinking and often smiling
Vote cast! Very insightful blog. The Universe thing is nice, but I tend to agree with the idea that adoptive parents are already predisposed to access resources outside their immediate family.
My son is adopted. He’s 7. I think “gender creative” would be a good term for him. He likes “girl stuff” and “boy stuff.” He was Ariel for Halloween, but not at school, there he was Batman, so he wouldn’t get teased. His choice. At one time, he would only dress up as a girl when he dressed up, but now is just as likely to be a boy, or something in between. (Say, Optimus Prime in a tutu.)
I tend to agree with the theory that adoptive parents go through so much to become parents, so we’re more comfortable with letting our children be who they want to be. We have to take classes and/or do research as part of our home studies. Often, at least some of that focuses on identity. Our children are a part of us, and a part of their birth parents, and their own people. We have to learn a lot before becoming parents, and we’re constantly learning after as well.
I’m also not a fan of the universe putting people together… but that’s not to say it doesn’t happen. It’s just not my personal theory.
I don’t want to make any generalizations here either BUT (you knew that was coming right..) I know several adopted children who are in great homes but their early years and prenatal care were not stellar. There are many reasons why children are given up for adoption and many of them have special needs and are developmentally behind due to circumstances beyond their control, like their mothers were on drugs when they were pregnant and the babies were later removed from their care.
I enjoy reading your blog. Keep it coming!
I have voted several times now, and am proud to share it on my wall. I love your blog and admire your parenting skills
I do think that adoptive parents might be more open to the challenges that come with parenting a “special” child, no matter whether the challenge is gender creative, behavioral issue or a physically or medically challenged child. Part of this is due to the hard road it took to adopt, tbe challenges faced before deciding to go that route to be parents, and the fact that most adoptive parents are older, more mature, more financially comfortable and usually educated post secondary. Those are just the stats on adoptive parents here in Canada.
Hmmmm… I’m not so sure. It’s a lovely sentiment. But if the universe were conspiring to put kids with the families they need through adoption or biology, why are so many kids – gender creative or not – in bad situations, with parents who squash their sense of self or even abuse them? Why do so many parents struggle so much with parenting? I don’t believe in a universe that would conspire for some kids and parents but against others. I just think some of us are damn lucky to land together and others not so much. And I believe we choose to see the things that happen to us as “lucky” or not. We can even grow to feel “lucky” as we move through adversity. Again, a choice. But if the universe is behind this, I just wish it would be a bit more vigilant about matching up more kids who need it with parents who’ve got it.
I agree completely. I’d also argue that adopted children in general are more likely to have academic delays, in particular, those who were adopted as older children rather than infants. Like a gender-creative child, they’ve dealt with a lot in their short time on the planet; it’s perfectly understandable that they have a variety of challenges as a result.
Also, I hate to say it, but I’d imagine adoptive parents are more likely to be open about having a gender-creative child because they don’t feel genetically “responsible” for it. Adoptive parents are absolutely more prepared to raise children (I wish all parents had to go through mandatory training) than your average individual, but I think some of the pressure’s off when your kid’s “problems” (be they physical, mental, psychological or nonconformity) can’t possibly be due to your genes or lifestyle during pregnancy. As a lesbian, I’ve noticed that even the more accepting individuals in my family don’t like the idea that their own children may be more likely to be LGBTQI because we share a gene pool….
Voted! Good luck.