The 5-7 Year Plan
Growing up the oldest of three girls in Texas, I often dressed up as a bride for Halloween, and carried fake flowers “down the aisle” of our family room next to my “groom” set to music. No doubt I held a carefully curated version of how my life was supposed to go when I finally grew up: go to college, get married, buy a home and then start a family! The road that led my husband and me here was slightly different than the movie montage I had playing in my head as a little girl.
There were so many firsts for us the first year of marriage following college graduation. Young and free, we worked and established new friendships. Like most couples we made a plan. We called it the 5-7 year plan, and basically we wanted to enjoy this time together before we started a family, feeling pretty confident that when our time was right it would happen. A few years into wedded bliss God gave me the desire to be a mom almost overnight. It felt time, it felt authored by Him. Why would we not begin to build our family?
I cannot fully express what the first 10 months of being unable to conceive was like. Every single month it felt like a dagger to the heart when my period came, especially since seemingly everyone around us became pregnant. Month after month, heartbreak after heartbreak, I finally reached the point where I gave up all control and said, “Here God, you can have it.” I don’t know looking back if at the time I fully trusted Him or if I was just worn out from trying on my own but it became the Lord’s.
God truly “interrupted” our plans in the best way. I never envisioned adoption for my future, but after bringing it to the Lord in prayer I grew confident of His leading for our family down this path. The world of adoption at first overwhelmed us, and the first step required choosing from where we wanted to adopt; then we chose an agency. We fully believed God’s hand in every detail and knew that even through switching agencies, and losing a referral, the Lord will bring us to our children! We chose Ethiopia because out of all the countries in Africa open to adoption at the time, Ethiopia represented one of the only countries for which our family met the “requirements.”
The two-year process before the adoption marked some of the darkest and sweetest moments in my life as a Christ follower. We saw God provide for our physical and spiritual needs in ways I couldn’t imagine. One night we prayed for direction on accepting a referral for a child off a waiting list, and decided to go over to a friend’s house to talk.
We simply sought out guidance but it became clear the Lord desired to provide for us financially as well. As we shared with them our story, the husband exclaimed, “I know why God brought you here!” We left with a $5,000 check in hand which represented the exact amount we needed to move forward with our adoption the very next day. We were blown away at the Lord’s provision for our family.
God advocates for the orphan, and He used the church to come alongside our family and provide for us in ways we didn’t even know we needed. Our community became our cheerleaders as they offered their prayers and presence during those months and years.
When we finally stepped off the final airplane two years later we gave God all the praise! Our children came from the same village in Ethiopia, and although unrelated, grew up together from a month old. He truly carried us, gave us a deeper understanding of his love and adoption of us as His children. While our life has not gone according to “our plan”, we have come to know that His plans truly are so much greater. Had we not said YES God and pursued a different path than we expected, we would never know the love and fulfillment of being called mom and dad.
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“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9