Eleven years ago, I was reading a “Woman’s World” magazine, and one article changed my thoughts on how many children is “enough.” At the time, I thought three was plenty. My kids were ten, seven, and five. I was homeschooling them, and we had a very busy life.

Then I read an article about all the girls growing up in orphanages in China. I wept when I read the article and realized my heart had room for more. That night after dinner, I showed John the article and brought up the idea of adoption. At the time, John wasn’t interested. “These three are a handful. How can we deal with more?” Then there was the thought of cost. Adoption was/is expensive. I was disappointed, but I let the matter drop. I’ve learned over the years that nagging never works, and if God desires John’s heart to change, then He’ll do the change.

Years passed, and I mentioned adoption a few more times. I was still interested, and John was still not. Then around 2005, John surprised me by asking me if I still was interested in adoption. My eyes grew wide, and I exclaimed, “Yes!”

Over the years, God had softened John’s heart. Maybe it was due to the fact our kids were older and easier to deal with. Maybe it was because I was mentoring teen moms and we had their little kids around often (and enjoyed that!). Or maybe because God decided the time was right.

It took almost three years for us to fill out the paperwork for a Chinese adoption … just in time for the wait for a Chinese baby to greatly increase. We still don’t have that beautiful little Chinese girl I felt called to add to our home. We’re still waiting, and we know that the child God chooses to bring into our home in this way is going to be pretty special. And, like the way God works, there have been other surprises along the way.

You see, last December I was extremely discouraged. Why did God place this on my heart … and why did it take so long for John to get on board … only to have everything slow down in China? I didn’t understand. After crying and praying about it, I finally had peace. God (not me!) had a perfect plan. I relinquished all my ideas and dreams to Him. I told Him I trusted Him and I was willing to wait.

It was that very same day that I got a call from a friend telling me about a birth mom in our own town who was looking for an adoptive family. John and I soon met with this amazing young woman, and we realized that God had a different gift for us than we expected.

Our baby girl was born in March, and she has been an amazing gift to us! When we hold, hug, kiss, and play with Alyssa, we are filled with joy. She brings joy to our lives, but there’s also joy knowing that even though God’s plans are different than ours … in the end, they are beautiful.

Looking back, I’ve come to learn God’s timing is perfect. We just need to be willing to trust Him, wait, and be open to the children He has planned for our families.