I have always been under the impression, from what several Mormon friends have said, that we did not choose the families we were born to, except perhaps for a few individuals in rare circumstances. But in church today a teacher stated that each and every one of us chose the family we came to. Do you know which is correct? And if we did choose, did those who are given up for adoption choose their birth family, or did they choose the circumstances that would lead them to their adoptive family? Thank you!
Not a lot has been written on this subject, but I tend toward the concept of choosing, if that’s the right word. Here are some related concepts to consider. In the first place, did we know in the pre-mortal spirit world what we would be getting into after our birth into mortality? For starters, God certainly knew what would happen—
O how great the holiness of our God! For he knoweth all things, and there is not anything save he knows it (2 Ne 9:20).
Not only does God know what we call the future, but the angels do also—
The angels do not reside on a planet like this earth;
But they reside in the presence of God, on a globe like a sea of glass and fire, where all things for their glory are manifest, past, present, and future, and are continually before the Lord ( D&C 130:6-7).
So it would seem that is there is a choice, we did not make the choice only from information in the spirit world in what we call the past, but we indeed were aware of the conditions into which we would be born, and I imagine the specific trials through which we would be required to pass.
Here is a related concept that would argue for both our choice and our foreknowledge. Those who are sealed in the temple have sealed upon them all of the blessings that were promised to father Abraham. And what were these blessings? From Abraham 3:22-23, we read—
Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;
And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.
So those who accept the gospel of Jesus Christ and who love the Lord and keep his commandments are sealed up by the power of the holy priesthood in the Lord’s holy house to rule and reign in the House of Israel forever. And they were chosen to this most sacred and significant of all callings and assignments issued by the Lord before they came to mortality. I could not imagine that they were not specifically aware, when they were chosen by the Father in the pre-existence, of what such a most significant calling entailed.
And now as a final point, let me share with you a phrase from my own patriarchal blessing—
“As you go forth and seek for the companion for your life’s work seek the Lord to guide and direct you that you might find the companion who will be most suitable for you….with whom you may establish in your home the proper environment for the training and for the development of the choice spirits waiting to come upon the earth that they might come through the proper lineage to which they are entitled…”