This morning while I was rushing through the grocery store throwing food in my cart before an important meeting, I got a text that said, “I’m sorry I can’t make it today…”
I switch gears and think about Plan B. What would I do now? What exactly is “Plan B”?
For someone who organizes life around schedules and hours, I didn’t have an answer.
And that is nearly always my problem. I am not good with Plan B. I always want Plan A. Yet, l’ve realized that life is nearly always about Plan B, whether we like it or not.
Sometimes our plans change in small ways, like a meeting that gets cancelled. Other times it is a major readjustment after a personal loss:
1. Our spouse (or mother or father or friend) died too young. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. We will never know how life would have been if they had lived.
2. We wait for the right spouse (or to have children) while friends marry and grow their families. We feel left behind, chasing a dream.
3. The job we wanted has not worked out. We wonder what purpose we were made for in life. We wonder how to get there. What now, Lord? we ask.
Our Plan B
The first time I thought about adopting was in 1999, before we even wanted to have children.
We traveled to Haiti to work with orphans. My heart broke for children who slept on a cement floor with sheets for walls. They played with rocks.
No child should grow up without a family and a home, I thought. That was when I knew I wanted to adopt.
At the time we “planned” to wait for a few more years and then have a family. But like most of the life plans I’ve made, few of them have turned out the way I thought. The 5 year plan turned into the 8 year plan, plus a cancer delay, and a total derailment of our adoption plans.
Sometimes this is how life works: the things you plan do not work out. The things you don’t plan for happen.
Jesus said, “In this world, you will have trouble,” but somehow we think this doesn’t apply to us.
We think we will not have to accept Plan B.
Sam’s cancer diagnosis led us on a winding path to find our child through adoption. At the time we could not adopt from Haiti, so we switched to the South Korea adoption program. But because of Korea’s strict health guidelines, we could not proceed with our adoption.
So we switched gears, changed directions, lived out the principal, “Wherever you go, I will follow.”
I’ve heard it said that adoption is about “redirection,” following a new path despite what we originally planned. Redirection is another way of saying Plan B, but that does not mean Plan B is worse than Plan A. It is just different than Plan A. And in some cases, it is even better.
I have met so many people who have been redirected in their own adoption process for a variety of reasons: the country they were adopting from closed their program, the wait becomes longer than they anticipated, the birthmother changes her mind.
Adoption, in its defining moments, redirects us down a new road, a changed timeline, and a different child.
But through it all we held to this: that He sets the lonely in families.
God made good on that promise.
On that journey, we found our Plan B.
Plan B is not only part of the adoption process, it is any defining moment in our lives. These defining moments also tend to be the difficult journeys that ultimately change us into something more like Christ.
Plan B may not have been the path we had planned, but it is often better because it leads us to a different kind of good.
Plan B is about letting go, hands open, knowing that sometimes when we let go, we find something better.
We find there is hope after disappointment.
We find there is life after death, or infertility, or an altered plan.
We find people we would not have found otherwise.
We find our Plan B and we embrace it.