The making of a family can be a mysterious thing.
17 years ago I thought God would be building our family through adoption. Though I agreed to six months of fertility treatments to satisfy my husband's need to know we had "done everything we could", I had already set my face and heart toward adoption. I was 100% convinced this was God's plan for us. We initiated the process of adopting a little girl from China.
No-one was more stunned than I when I became pregnant. The shock was so deep it took several days to sink in. Don't get me wrong, I was thrilled and ecstatic that this experience of pregnancy and child birth was going to be mine after all, but I had been so sure it was not for us that it took a while for my brain and heart to catch up with one another. I was considered of "advanced maternal age" and while it was not a high risk pregnancy in any truly medical sense, we felt it wise to put the adoption on hold.
My next plan was one by birth and one by adoption. Birthing one didn't mean we couldn't still adopt, right? We desperately wanted at least two children. Both my husband and I grew up with siblings, and that was a gift we wanted to give our new little daughter. We viewed the child God had given us as a miracle (of course, each life is!), but I still felt very much like an infertile woman. Surely I would not have more children by birth, would I?
cough, cough..... yes, God has a sense of humor! He then gave us 4 healthy boys in fairly rapid succession with, sadly, several miscarriages in between. We were immersed in babies, diapers, and joy so great that at times I ached with the sweetness of it. We savored every single moment and every single experience of parenting little ones. We learned. We made mistakes. We grew.
We came to trust God with the size and timing of our family, and with the method of building it. We learned that His ways are higher than our ways, and His plans far better than our own.
Fast forward several years. Job loss and financial hardship were also part of God's plan for our family, and I slowly began to release my dream of ever adopting a child. It just didn't seem feasible. Plus we were becoming decidedly "medium" (our pet word for middle aged!). Maybe it had never been God's plan for us. Maybe it was our own "solution" to our initial infertility. Maybe God gave us adoption-loving hearts so we would have more compassion for the children of the world; and so we would act on that compassion through prayer and giving. Through the years many of our friends and relatives adopted children, and I rejoiced in each of their amazing God stories.
My yearning to parent another child gradually gave way to deep contentment with the family God had built for us. I was settled in my home as the "happy mother of children" and life was full. Surely we were done?
Never, ever, ever in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that God would complete our family through the brokenness of another one. Never would I have dreamed that He would, literally overnight, plop a half grown child into our family and make her ours. Never would I have guessed how deep and real and strong and fierce my love would be for a child not of my womb.
God has woven her so completely into my mother-heart. In truthfulness, there are many hard moments... times where the reality of her past bleeds very heavily into her present. She has learned a worldview very different from mine, and though hers is changing, sometimes the change comes with a heavy price. Fighting for her future makes me battle weary at times. In the course of weaving her into our family there are "dropped stitches" ~ and we have to face the pain of pulling out a few stitches and going back to weave them in correctly. Sometimes she and I are very sure of each other. Other times we are not.
But God is making it very clear ~ this is His plan for us. This is His doing. The family He is making of us includes her. Technically it is not an adoption. But it is family.
God's ways are mysterious beyond description and I am in awe.