Ever get certain milestones pre-planned in your mind that you can’t seem to shake?  Or maybe a certain age or date just sticks out to you for no reason?

For me, 28 was an age that cemented into my mind sometime during middle school.  Maybe it’s because I moved out of this phase of “playing pretend” and into convincing myself that I could plan my future and it would turn out exactly as “Leave it to Beaver” as I dreamed.  Maybe you can relate.  Or maybe you are wiser than I and you  know the fault in my thinking.

By high school I was convinced that my plan was infallible.  Somewhere between then and college I’d find the right guy, go to my favorite school, I’d get married soon after college, buy a house in Omaha, and start having kids by the time I was 28.  Because that’s what happens with good planning, duh.

As we were walking along our perfect path that we thought we had laid out, out of nowhere we were literally re-routed. A job opportunity that I had wanted for years was finally in reach, but it turned out it would require moving.  Eric was game for it, I was nervous , but we agreed it would be temporary so let’s give it a go.  We finally opened our eyes and realized that God may have different plans for us.  Plans that didn’t involve anything specific, but all beautiful.  We moved to the Chicago suburbs and our lives were turned upside down.

After a few transitory months we finally began to settle in and our neighbor suggested a church down the street, and after some church shopping elsewhere without too much excitement, we tried it out. The sermon was about transition and listening to God and allowing him to steer the course.  I was 25 and had been a Christian for a long time, but this was honestly the first time I realized that I wasn’t in control, and I could either fight it or I could trust Him.

I’m going to intentionally be vague about the next few years and tackle that another day.

Through the next few years Eric and I prayed for guidance, loved each other hard, and rode the waves.  We tried to let go of the reigns, but inevitably we’d try to grab them now and again.  Do we stay here or move closer to home? Should we adopt a child? Should we have a baby biologically? Should we change jobs? Should we buy a Tesla? …Ok that one was a short discussion.

We had always talked about having a mixed family and knew that our capacity to love a child was unending, so felt excited about any option that we may encounter.  The tricky thing about pursing adoption versus pregnancy is, well, it’s never unexpected or planned in the same way.  So we just started reading and praying and enjoying a lot of dates and “us” time.

As we looked into adoption options so we could begin to understand that process we learned that if sometime during the adoption process we would become pregnant, we would lose our match with our child.  This seemed so unfair and wrong.  I was hoping that we could pursue both simultaneously and the God would reveal what he wanted for us, if anything at all-  but this rule made that not quite possible. Perhaps it’s an Illinois law thing or for or agency program.

Either way, the more we learned the more it made sense.  How could we commit our hearts and dedicate our prayers to two very different outcomes at the same time? How could we give each child the love and attention they deserved?

Fast forward to 19 days before my 28th birthday, still in Chicagoland and still without kids. Little did I know that my son had just been born on the other side of the world.  Unfortunately I didn’t have the foresight to know it happened, and my 28th birthday was hard. It was the first time I hadn’t looked forward to a day all about me! Eric let me cry, treated me like a queen, and I took on the year one day at a time.

The day we became all-in for adoption, which was a couple months after my birthday, God started throwing doors open quickly and finally lit a path that was so clear.  28 made so much more sense to me.  God had seeded this age in my heart to confirm that we were finally following His way.

You can imagine our joy when we heard about Kai’s birthday, days before my 28th.  Clarity.

I’m so grateful for my 28th year. Grateful for how much peace came by the time I turned 29 on Sunday, my golden birthday.  I love it when you can actually look back and see how God had so perfectly weaved all these messes into something beautiful.

“Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭4:13‬ ‭NLT‬‬