First of all, why a girl? Simply because my last baby was a boy, and we feel that having another girl would best suit the dynamics of our family.
Originally, when we were on the "Imaginary" Imagine list... we were going to request a girl under the age of 4. We felt that due to research and a lot of reading - a child whom has spent the first few years of their lives with the birth family, would have an easier time transitioning and attaching. Most children in the Ethiopian orphanages don't stay in them for long before they are adopted out.
From Kenya, we will be asking for a girl under the age of 2... preferably as young as possible.
The children in Kenya have a different life. While you hardly ever hear of abuse social histories in E, it seems more common in Kenya. If we were to adopt a 4 year old in Kenya, it is likely that the child has experienced a great deal of trauma in addition to having spent a long time at the orphanage as adoption is not very common. Luckily, most of the orphanages in K. are wonderful and take fabulous care of their children.... Although there are absolutely no guarantees, and every child differs - we feel there is a greater chance of having attachment behaviour problems with an older child whom has had this experience. In a different life (or if I did not currently have children)... I would love to take in an older child! But, with 2 children at home, I also need to consider their needs.
Not to be overlooked is that all adopted children experience trauma, loss and grief no matter what age or country. A newborn can most certainly mourn the loss of their birth mom. They know her scent and her voice... and they love her. When you compound that with many of these little one's abandonment experiences of being left in garbage dumps, ditches and pit latrines - left in the cold, dark, hungry and all alone with no one to respond to their cries -they most certainly will have some challenges to overcome.
The only thing I can think of to make the transition from 2-4 easier, is to ask for twins. Now I know you may think I'm nuts (and perhaps I am! Ha!)... but here is my logic. Although, I know... twin babies will rock my world, I know it will be easier in the long term. Twins can share a room, clothes, toys... They will likely be interested in the same activities. Being the same age, they require the same time pick up from school, soccer, dance etc... It is difficult to juggle activities for different ages, so we would like to keep the juggling act down to 3. This way, we get 4 for the price of 3 juggling acts... !
Because there are so many ramifications to either choice, we have decided to leave it in fate's hands. We will ask for both and get whom most needs a home, and whom we are meant to get. Nope... no planning there. See... I can leave some things in the air!
What worries us both the most - is getting one, and then having the need to adopt again! In someways, having your cup overflow... causes contentment!