• Emily Hess

All-of-a-Kind Family

I recently watched a gender reveal video from a popular Christian couple. Both admitted to being disappointed in the gender of their new child. It made me sad, but also made me remember my own past feelings with the gender of our children.

The idea of wanting your child to be born a particular gender is not new. After all, is there anything new under the sun?

I've seen this pop up often over the years, particularly when a family already has two children of one gender. I'm sure each person has a reason why they would like a child of a particular gender and so as not to seem as though I'm pointing fingers I will tell a part of our story.

When I found out I was pregnant the first time, I wanted a boy. Why? Well, I always wanted an older brother and so thought it would be great for our first child to be a boy so that all younger siblings would have a big brother to look out for them.

We had a girl.

When we found out we were pregnant the second time we thought it would be nice for this child to be a boy. I grew up with three sisters and one brother (the baby) and us girls seemed to always be fighting.

We had another girl.

When I was pregnant the third time lots of people asked if we were “trying for a boy,” which is kind of a weird question to ask. Then as I was talking to my mother-in-law, she mentioned how she really wanted Trent (my husband) to be a girl since she already had two boys. And in that moment I thought, “Wow, I'm really glad Trent was a boy... otherwise I wouldn't have married him.” It struck me that God, in his wisdom, knows what to give and has a plan for each child, including their gender. We decided not to find out what gender our third child would be because it truly didn't matter.

We had a third girl.

Then a fourth girl.

Then when we adopted we could actually choose the gender of our child or be open to a boy or a girl. After much prayer and consideration, we felt God leading us to choose a girl.

A fifth daughter.

When we felt God leading us back to China again, I really wrestled with whether we should adopt a boy this time. I wasn't sure if I was finding too much of my identity in the fact that we were an all girl family. But we trust God to always know what is best for us and we are to joyfully follow his will for our lives.

We had a sixth girl.

And the days are filled with tears, crying, non-stop chatter, laughter, fights, hugs, stories, rescued animals, flower bouquets, sewing, slamming doors, and more.

“Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him.” Psalm 127:3

Not boys. Not girls. Children. I'm so grateful to God for each of my rewards. Each girl has taught me something new about God, about myself, and about my relationships with others. They have pushed me to be kinder, more accepting, more understanding. They have forced me to look at my own prejudices, biases, and personality flaws. They have encouraged me to be better.

And when we take an outsiders view into other countries and cultures to see abandoned girls in India, gender selective abortions, abandoned children with special needs in China, we recognize that our petty reasons for wanting a boy or a girl are just that. Petty. Real atrocities are happening around the world, yet in our little cocoon of America we have so little to feel genuine angst over that we allow our minds to become weak.

I wouldn't trade my six daughters for anything. I'm so thankful that God, in his wisdom, gave me what he wanted me to have. Just as parents know what is best for their children, God does the same for me.

What freedom there is to trust in his plan!
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