Wednesday, December 14, 2011

On being "chosen"

A lot of people like to adoptees that we're special; that we were "chosen" and should therefore feel really good and blessed and happy. It seems to be a favorite (right after "you could have been aborted," which if you think of it, how does one go from being a worthless and unwanted thing to be gotten rid of to being special and chosen in one breath? Talk about a mind fuck). I know I heard it, I think pretty much all of my adoptee friends have heard it too.

As a young child I really used to buy into it too. I would imagine my parents driving to the adoption agency, their faces lit up with these huge grins of anticipation, their hearts pounding as they arrived at the place where they would CHOOSE THEIR BABY. I pictured a big room filled with other adoptive parents just like mine, and soon a line of ladies would come from an inconspicuous wooden door off in the corner, each one smiling brightly as they each carried a plump and adorable baby dressed in white cotton dresses with eyelet trim. These babies would then be passed around the room, from adoptive parent to adoptive parent, and whoever was holding the baby when she stopped crying would "choose" that baby and they'd adopt her and go live happily ever after.

I had an active imagination as a child.

Chosen...was I chosen?

My amom told me a story one time that before they adopted me, they had received a call from the adoption agency, telling them that a baby girl was available for adoption. She was everything that they had hoped for...except for one dark stain on her record, her mother had been on drugs. (Insert audible gasping in of breath). So my parents in all their parental wisdom decided NOT to take that particular baby. Which leads me to wonder; what if they had? What if they DID adopt this little girl? Then there'd be somebody ELSE sitting here in my chair, with my name and all my memories and living MY life. Who, then, would I have become? Where would I be? What would my name be? What kind of life would I be living?

For I sure as heck wouldn't be who I am today.

My parents waited until the NEXT little girl was available for adoption - mois - and the rest is history. But I don't think of it as being so much chosen as just being the next available baby for the people at the top of the list. They didn't come into a room and select me from a group of other babies. They didn't pass me around and keep me because I stopped crying for them. No, I am who I am because of simple logistics.

I wonder about that little baby that was passed up. Where is she now? WHO is she now? Did she get as good of parents as I did, or was she abused and mistreated? Does she know she came *this close* to being ME? If she went to the people who were next on the list after my parents, would I have went to them if she had been chosen by mine?

God it is such a mind fuck.

3 wisecracks:

Cricket said...

So heartbreakingly true. Sigh. <3

Rebecca Hawkes said...

My (well-meaning) parents took a slightly different approach. They never specifically said they chose me, but they emphasized that they _chose_ to become parents and that I should always know that I was very much wanted. This allowed me to feel slightly superior to all those poor biological kids who had to go through life never being certain if their parents really wanted them or just got stuck with them by accident. Of course, there's one little problem with this formula. Accidental or unplanned doesn't necessarily equal unwanted. My birth mother didn't plan me but she wanted me; she just didn't have the resources or support to raise me on her own as a teenage mom.

Rebecca Hawkes said...

"Who, then, would I have become? Where would I be? What would my name be? What kind of life would I be living?"
It's exhausting sometimes, isn't it, carrying all these ghost lives around?

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