CHOSEN, participle passive
1. Selected from a number; picked out; taken in preference; elected; predestinated; designated to office.
2. Select; distinguished by preference; eminent.
I’ve heard this often in Adoptionland. They say that adoptees are “chosen.” I get it. It certainly sounds like a good thing. After all, who wouldn’t want to be chosen?
We all want happy endings. The once unchosen become chosen. Wrongs are righted. A reboot.
Sadly, it doesn’t work that way.
For decades, the “chosen” narrative made my stomach churn and during those years I couldn’t have told you the reason. I just knew that it hit something deep inside of me – and resulted in an involuntary physical response.
However, since finally giving myself permission to view my life through the lens of adoption, openly and honestly, I realize that there’s not one second of my life that hasn’t been impacted by adoption. Nor will this ever stop being true. There’s not a separate “adoption” compartment. Adoption runs throughout every scene of my life and stands in the middle of every single relationship whether I acknowledge it or not.
When we say that we chose something or chose someone, there’s an unspoken implication that there were other “somethings” or “someones” to choose from. As the definition states, chosen means “selected from a number, picked out, taken in preference.”
My adoptive mother received a phone call that there was a baby girl available and the opportunity to say “yes” or “no.” But there was nothing special about me that made her want me above someone else.
She didn’t even lay eyes on me before giving her answer of acceptance.
I’ve not heard an adoptee ever tell their story in these terms. I’ve not heard that there were other orphans picked over until the Chosen One was finally found. Maybe there are some? If so, it’s the exception, not the rule.
Remembering our childhood, playground days we know how it feels to be “chosen – picked out” … or not. Choosing teams for kickball or any other playground game is a big deal.
Nobody wants to be the last one – the only one standing because they know they weren’t “chosen.”
They were UNchosen.
Many adoptees definitely don’t feel chosen or “selected from a number,” “picked out,” or “taken in preference.” We were the only option given to these prospective families – the only one left standing.
We were UNchosen first.
So, please, please, please don’t tell us we were chosen.
It’s simply not reality if we’re to stay true to the definition of the word.
For decades, we’ve been led to believe a narrative of adoption that’s inconsistent with reality. The “Chosen” narrative is one example.
While it wraps it up with a pretty bow and gives great closure to a very messy reality, it’s simply not true.
I was never chosen because I was “picked out” from among others…
nor “taken in preference.”
I was not “selected from a number”…
nor “distinguised by preference.”
I was simply …