In my [Ginny's] kitchen, we have a sign that we posted while we were in the midst of the long process of adoption. It says simply, "God's Timing Is Perfect." I have smiled at that sign, cried in its direction, and screamed angrily at it over the years. Yet, it remained in that spot the entire time we lived in that house, and it is one of the first things we put up when we moved to our new home. Its message was as true then as it is now.
My husband and I are planners. It is almost embarrassing how much we try to plan our lives. We have joint calendars on our phones, spreadsheets mapping out our finances, a weekly meal planning chart in our kitchen, and we love to talk about our future.
We did this quite often before we got married. In fact, we were naïve enough to think that we could plan our entire married life from the moment we said "I do" until we passed away together in our sleep! We had this brilliant five year plan for the first years of our marriage. We would both build our careers, travel, and then right around our fifth year, we would get pregnant. First, we would have a boy and then a girl (yes, somehow we thought we could actually plan THAT!). After having our kids, I would continue my successful career. And that was the way things would go.
I truly believe that God sits up in Heaven and just shakes His head and grins while we humans try to map out what WE think is best for us. I can just hear Him now saying, "Oh, my children, if only you knew the plans I actually have for you...plans that far exceed anything you could possibly dream. Just you wait!"
For awhile, God let us go along with our merry plans. We married and traveled all over the place including an incredible trip to Thailand and Cambodia.
Then all of our plans fell apart.
Early on, we discovered I had a medical condition that I could pass along to my children if we had them naturally. The specialist we went to advised me against having children.
I cried out horrible things in those days to God. My perfectly planned life was no longer perfect. I was flawed. I wasn't holding up my end of the plan. In fact, the plan was shattering before my very eyes.
What I didn't realize was that God's perfect plan was moving along just as He had planned. My perfect plan was just that...MY plan. I had forgotten to include God in the planning.
We began to look into adoption, and we sent away for information packets. Our hearts started to open to these children who desperately needed families. We learned about the millions of orphans in our world and how only thousands were adopted each year. We began to understand that this was the direction we needed to head.
During that same time, we made an appointment with another specialist. He told us that we indeed could have children as long as we took precautions. What should have been an incredibly happy moment instead left me feeling confused. I sat there on the table and forced myself to smile, but inside, I was feeling strangely upset.
On the quiet ride home, I prayed for God's direction. I prayed He would give us a sign so that we could know His plan and what we should do. When we arrived home, I got the mail, and I nearly cried out when I saw what was in the pile - a giant packet from one of the adoption agencies!
After that, God continued to confirm His calling. He lead us to a specific adoption agency, and after some changes, to Colombia as our country of choice. Even though we were planning to adopt just one child at a time, we still felt an urging to fill out all of the paperwork for two children. We now know that was God's urging.
The wait for children in Colombia is incredibly long. In fact, now it is even longer for families, so I hesitate to complain. What people may not understand is how hard waiting is for adoptive families. I sat through several Mother's Day services at church that left me in tears, watched as family and friends had child after child, and did my best to hold it together during the baby showers I attended. I seriously wonder how I have any tears left now that I look back at that time!
During that difficult time, several people asked us if we were interested in specific cases locally. In our desire to have children sooner than later in our home, we expressed our interest. Yet three times, things fell through. And each time left us devastated and feeling like we wanted to give up. We cried out to God asking Him why Why WHY?!?!
During that entire time, His planned still remained constant. He knew the children He wanted us to have, and He allowed those other experiences, I believe, to help us gain more of an understanding of the direction He wanted us to go.
Through all of this, we learned that we had a desire to adopt siblings. After the desire had grown for some time, we called our adoption agency and told them of the change we wanted to make. They told us that to make that change could mean several more years of waiting. However, sometimes rare cases come along that would be out of the norm, and we were next on the call list in case that happened.
We took a deep breath and decided that we would be patient for whatever God wanted for us. It was time that we started to accept that He was in control, and we needed to stop trying to control everything.
Less than two months later, God revealed His great plan. We got the call for two little ones. Several months later, we met our beautiful little girls for the first time. As I held them, I was so grateful that God's plan is greater than our own because I couldn't imagine holding any other child and calling them my own. God's timing and His plan for our family is indeed perfect.
I have learned through all of this that although it isn't wrong to make plans, we need to make them with the understanding that we need to be open to surprises and changes that God brings.
We need to write our plans in pencil and give God the pen.