Twelve years ago this month, I was wrestling with whether we should double the number of our children. Mr. Beaver had already come to peace with the idea, but I was scared stiff at the thought. We'd felt led by the Lord to adopt one older Russian orphan. Then the Lord led us to the idea of adopting siblings. When we received our referral, we were shocked that our agency wanted us to adopt a trio of siblings. Like Jacob in the Old Testament God won the wrestling match--I ended up with a hip out of joint--so to speak--and we went from three children to six as the result of one court hearing in Russia in September 2001. A dozen years later, I can smile this Mother's Day and say God's plan was better.
This first of the three trios we've adopted from Russia has reached adulthood. Jaynie turned twenty this month. Cassandra will be 19 in July and Mark's 18th birthday will fall near the close of 2013. We've come to the end of parenting them as children. There's been "hard", as the expression goes, to get to this point. But Mr. Beaver and I would tell you that most of that hard has been the result of sinfulness in the two of us. God has refined us through the parenting of Jaynie, Cassandra and Mark in ways that would have never have proven necessary if we hadn't adopted older children. Through the process, He has made us a bit more like Christ. God's plan was better.
Our role now will be to shepherd them as they make their mark on the world as adults. Watching God open doors for them is soul satisfying to Mr. Beaver and me. After all, these were cast-away kids. Living in an orphanage doesn't allow you much opportunity to develop the gifts God has placed in you. But when you're in a family your special talents stand a better chance of being recognized and utilized. God's plan is better.
While Mark is still a bit too young to have his direction settled, Jaynie and Cassandra's dreams are opening up to them. Jaynie learned this week that she has been accepted for a graphic design internship at Wells Enterprises, makers of Blue Bunny Ice Cream. For years Jaynie, who loves to draw, has had a desire to illustrate children's books, and we believe this is the first of a number of steps in that direction. God's plan is best.
Cassandra's world is also opening up before her. Months ago she pulled the two of us aside and told us she had a dream of serving orphans in Africa ~ and perhaps widows at the same time. This past week Cassandra and I attended #Summit9 hosted by the Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) in Nashville. There, a "God story" began to unfold as Cassandra found a ministry that works in Zambia with orphans and widows. She was told they have just the place for the talents, skills and giftings the Lord has placed in her. We still have many details to work through before she goes, but Cassandra is so excited that she cries tears of joy when she tells the story of the Lord matching her with this ministry. God's plan is best.
If I'd had my way with motherhood, I would have given birth to four children. God has only allowed me one pregnancy, but that resulted in our beautiful twins, John and Lissie. To our great surprise, He's also given us ten other treasures through adoption. His plan has been so very different than mine. His plan has been far better than mine. His plan ~ as always ~ is best.