I love to plan. I am the kind of person that plans out my day with my kids, my meals two weeks out, and my races about a year out. I have two different physical planners, a wall calendar, and a google calendar, all to make sure that I know what is going on with my family, our sports, and our various activities.
I like the order that comes with knowing what is coming up. I like planning my vacations months, if not a year, ahead of time. And with my family, Blake and I had a plan too.
Our cozy plan, hatched back in 2009, was for me to finish clearing my credential, then get pregnant, then a few years later, adopt a second child. It was a good plan, well laid out, very logical.
Trouble was, it definitely wasn't God's plan. As it became apparent that our "get pregnant" plan wasn't working, we shifted gears, deciding to adopt first, and then worry about a possible biological child later.
Our first, well laid, great plan, was to adopt from foster care. I personally have always had a heart for kids in the foster care system, and we knew it was a less expensive process, and potentially faster too. So we went to the foster care orientation in 2010, thinking this was the right thing to do.
After that meeting, we felt like it wasn't the right way to go for us. There was too much involvement with the birth parents, too much uncertainty about whether the child you were caring for could become your child. Our child would be the first grandchild on both sides, and we wanted him or her to be someone that they could all celebrate and attach to. So yet again, we put aside our plan, to go a different direction, this time towards international adoption.
The cost for international adoptions is definitely prohibitive, so, we decided that we needed to put some time into just working and saving. We felt we had enough to start the process in January of 2011.
Think what you will, but this timing is important to me. See, Grace, who we had no idea about yet at this point, will be born in October of this year. Her conception, far away in Ghana, took place shortly after we started the process. We didn't know God's plan yet, and had only picked an agency and a country at this point, but God knew. As we filled out paperwork, and did homestudies, and did fingerprints, she was growing inside her birth mother. As we checked the boxes that said we would be open to a child with medical needs, she was developing into a little baby girl that had medical needs.
It is heart wrenching for me to think about any mother leaving behind her daughter, and there are times that I wonder if she would be a less stressed and emotional little girl if she had never had to deal with the trauma of separating from her birth mother, and the time of neglect and hunger in the orphanage, but then I remember her medical issues, and I know the statistics are not good for someone with her conditions in Ghana.
Her birth mother might just have saved her life by giving her up to a nurse, and starting that path that led her to us.
It was a long road for both of us- we were discouraged by the length of time it was taking to get a match, and Grace, in Ghana, was already waiting in an orphanage, where, according to her paperwork, some couples considered adopting her as a young infant... but then changed their minds when they learned about her health.
The story, as most of you know, turned around in 2012, when she was on a list of waiting children on an e-mail, that we read, and decided to tell our agency that we wanted her. In spite of her needs, we wanted her.
If the story stopped there, with the conclusion of our family building being that she came home in March of 2013, we would have a nice family. We would love her, and take care of her, and we would be blessed.
Lately, we have been seeing more of her past showing up in her anger and frustration and even sadness that she can't control, and we are loving her through it. But I don't think she would have had a sibling, if it was all up to us (adopting a second, or actively trying to get pregnant or doing any reproductive assistance).
She needs a lot of attention. She doesn't like to share, and she can be mean to her brother in ways that make us sad for him. We know why, we have read the books, but it doesn't help in the moment. I just don't think we would have tried to purposely bring another child in when we started seeing her tantrums and needs.
But this post isn't about our plans, but about God's.
After a year of trying, and a few more years of not trying or preventing, we got pregnant in the start of 2013 (again, this you know). Why? Why then? Why not when it was our timing back in 2009, why not later, when we could have had more time with just her?
Because God's timing is right, not too fast or too slow. If we had gotten pregnant when we first tried, who knows what would have happened to Grace. If we had gotten pregnant before our match, we might have put the adoption on hold, we might have not wanted to say yes to a 10 month old, adding a second baby to our family. Maybe someone else would have picked her... but maybe she would have been continued to be passed over, again and again, and be one of the heart breaking cases of kids that age out of the "adoptable age." I hope not, but that is the sad reality. If she had even lived long enough, considering her medical needs, and lack of care and malnourishment she had there.
On the other side, if she had come home first, we might have decided to start preventing, because she did have a lot of issues, we might have decided we really didn't want another child right then. Or maybe we would have continued to let things happen, but they would be farther apart in age, not as willing to play together on the good times.
I see now, with the benefit of hindsight, that Remington arrived right on time.
Grace was supposed to be in our family. Remington was supposed to be in our family. In good times, they do great together, and if it had been in our hands, who know what would have happened, because goodness knows that neither of them was "according to plan."
I'm reflective on this lately because we are going through some storms with Grace, and it makes us hurt for the fact that she can't have 100% of our attention, though we wish we could give her as much as she needs. It makes us hurt that Remington probably gets less than 50% because we have to focus so much on her. But at the end of the day, I remind myself that they were both, very precisely, placed into our family, and there was no accident or mistake about it. To those of you reading this, we love your prayers and your support, and appreciate your continued prayers for wisdom for how to handle our storms, but we will continue to take it one step at a time, with our two biggest blessings.