After the death of my sons, one thought that eventually brought me some comfort (after a long time of working through anger to get there) was, “This was always meant to be their story, their life, and they chose me for it.”
The honor and immensity of this thought and the possibility it is true – is not lost on me.
Over the years and especially as the editor of Still Standing, I’ve talked to hundreds of grieving parents who expressed this same sentiment. It was a common feeling – their child(ren) had chosen them and/or something/one in their religion had chosen their child and their story specifically for them.
Whatever the case was, the feeling was the same – it brought some healing to this lifelong grieving.
Recently I had the chance to travel with World Vision USA, a humanitarian organization, to Ecuador to learn about the new child sponsorship program they launched last Friday – Chosen. This is a groundbreaking shift to the typical child sponsorship model – the child is placed on a waiting list for sponsorship, someone eventually chooses the child they’d like to sponsor, then the child and family are notified.
When I learned of this process, my heart was overwhelmed with how close this process was to the one thought that brought me comfort, especially those first few months and years. I signed up for to be chosen before leaving with our team and wondered who would choose me. And why?
Many children live with a single parent, grandparents, an aunt or uncle, even an older sibling. What would the child’s story be who chose me?
I was able to see the entire process of choosing – children walking into a room full of pictures to pick, no prompting, no instructions other than to choose whoever they wanted and take as long as they wished.
We spoke with several after about why they chose who they did, and the answers were incredible.
“She looks like my mother.”
“I live with just my father so I wanted to choose a family.”
“They seem very loving.”
I was able to meet the child and his mama who chose me, and it was a complete surprise to them that I was there (we didn’t tell them beforehand so it wouldn’t sway the choosing process).
I had hoped so much that a little boy would choose me since my living children are both girls. And he did. I was able to tell his mama what a gift that was.
I invite you to be a part of this simple process.
As a loss mama, nothing is more special to me than being able to give back to honor my sons, but there is also something about this process that ties in so closely with what I’ve lost. It was and is an honor to be chosen – by the children gone and here.
I hope Chosen feels the same for you.
Diana is owner and editor-in-chief of Still Standing Magazine and blogs her own life story at Diana Wrote. She and her military retired husband have two girls and three sons who passed away after birth; Preston and Julian, identical twin boys who were born at 20 weeks, and Kaden, who unexpectedly had cardiomyopathy due to a rare virus called ciHHV-6. He died in her arms at 3 weeks old.
In 2014 she traveled with World Vision to learn about maternal health and infant mortality in Zimbabwe, and later with them to Ecuador. She is working on a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. You can also find her work on Babble, Liberating Working Moms, She Reads Truth, The New York Times, and The Huffington Post.