When I was a young woman of sixteen years old, I had a vision for my life. It wasn’t very clear, but it involved a stellar husband and “perfect” children.

Nearly eight years later, when Marcus and I met, I knew almost immediately that I could marry him. He embodied everything I was looking for, and I knew he and I would make a great team. Naturally, I was right. I mean, I was just following my plan. About a year later, we were married and officially began our life journey together. I had my stellar husband and was just waiting for my perfect kids. I was pregnant six months into our marriage. When we decided we were ready to begin the next chapter, pregnancy happened right away. Things were working out just like I imagined it would. After all, I had a plan.

Halfway through my pregnancy, something was wrong. Something was very wrong. Our daughter’s head was not growing properly, and our excitement quickly turned to a myriad of other negative emotions. Fear, uncertainty, and anger were invading my thoughts, and I didn’t like it one bit. I wasn’t sure why, but my life had gone off course. After a little struggle, I chose to have faith in a greater plan that I didn’t quite understand yet. I chose to be happy. By the time Samantha was born, I was elated. We were told she may not even make it through the pregnancy, so I was pretty thrilled to have this perfectly imperfect child in my arms. Maybe she wasn’t a perfect according to many standards, but she was awesome. I no longer cared about perfection at all. Awesome would fit into my new path just fine. My plan was looking different, but I was still on course.

Just months later, we were knocked off our happy trail. A geneticist advised us not to have any more children. My stellar husband and I were genetically incompatible and the risk of having another child with the same problems was quite high. Her advisement knocked the wind out of my sail. I had no idea where I was headed anymore. I held Samantha close and cried. We knew we weren’t complete, but we also didn’t want to risk another pregnancy. We felt empty and lost. Our compass was spinning, and we had no idea what to think.

Leaving the hospital along a very familiar freeway route that led us home was quiet at first. Occasionally my tears would break the silence, but it was generally quiet until Marcus mentioned adoption. No. Actually he plainly said, “Jenny, we’ll just adopt.” And as soon as he said it, my tears stopped. My torn heart felt whole again. We were filled with immediate peace. A new route that we hadn’t really considered lay before us. And it was the right route. We realized that our plan never got off track; the scenery had just changed. We were keeping the correct course the whole time: leading us directly to adoption.

When I look at my life over the past 10 years, things obviously have not turned out how I planned. I have a daughter with severe special needs, and I have suffered the pain of failed adoptions.

However…however, I have an incredible daughter who has a nearly perfect spirit. She teaches us patience and unconditional love. Her smile and giggle fills our entire home with light. I have two more beautiful children (and hopefully more will come) who bring their own personalities that fill our home with laughter and love. Their songs and dances are a daily spectacle of enthusiasm and life. I have had the honor of experiencing the true love of a mother through two incredible birth mothers. I have witnessed a love, sacrifice, and courage that those who do not adopt will never fully witness. I have been humbled, and thus generously blessed, to have crossed paths with these two angelic women. Because of those mothers, I have committed to be a better mother myself.

If we had followed my plans, I would have missed out on a lot. It has been said that we should write our plans in pencil and then give God the pen. Whether it’s God, Allah, the Universe…sometimes we need to hand over our rough draft plans and allow our lives to play out in order for us to experience the blessings. When I do that, I find greater peace, light, and love in my life.

I am grateful my plans didn’t work out. And I’m oh so grateful I didn’t end up with what I imagined years ago, because if it’s even possible, I have so much more.