Chosen - Chandra Hoffman (General Fiction)
Released September 2010
Drawing from her own experiences as the director of an adoption agency, author Chandra Hoffman delves into the lives affected by the adoption process, including both the joys and heartbreaks. Chosen isn't always an easy read, it had me itching to smack a few characters around, but the author does a great job at portraying all angles of adoptions.
Chloe Pinter is the director of Chosen Child, a Portland adoption agency. Chloe's life in Oregon revolves around her work, but she's also trying to figure out if she and her boyfriend really mesh or if her job, and his lack of one, are bound to draw them apart.
Chloe tried to help Paul and Eva Nova adopt a child, but that adoption fell through. It seems the pregnant 13-year-old and her mother were simply in for the free restaurant meals and groceries. Shortly before the birth, they announced plans to raise the child on their own. With hearts broken, Paul and Eva were lucky enough to finally conceive and are waiting the impending birth of their son.
Francie and John McAdoo are friends with Paul and Eva. Francie's frustrations with conception end with another failed in vitro attempt. They're delighted when a young couple, Penny and Jason, choose them to adopt their unborn child. Penny and Jason are ex-cons and have their own interests at heart, no matter how greedy those interests become.
On Thanksgiving, Chloe visits Penny and Jason with a pre-cooked meal and finds their run-down apartment is filled with baby supplies. She fears this adoption may be falling apart and warns the McAdoo's to be prepared for heartbreak.
Meanwhile, Chloe is arranging another adoption where a teen, Heather, is about to have her second child. With the father in jail, Heather knows it is best for her young son if she places her unborn child for adoption. All seems to be going well with Heather, and Chloe hopes it remains that way.
Soon a tragic event makes everyone stop and think about their choices along the way. Only a miracle can restore peace to the lives of many Chloe has been working incredibly hard to help.
There is one key issue I had with Chosen. It's apparent from the synopsis that you're supposed to sympathize with Penny and Jason, but I really couldn't. They're ex-cons and broke the laws putting them in their situation. They could have learned from past mistakes but don't. They continue to make bad choices and then whine consistently when those bad choices don't pay off. I had my fill of them far before the end of the book.