As part of our Advent series, Whom Angels Greet, we are sharing personal stories from Summit attendees who have seen God intercede. Just as the four people who were visited by angels before Christ’s birth, these stories show a distinct and pronounced interruption from the Lord into everyday life.

I have always wanted a big family. I remember as a girl cutting out a newspaper article about a family with 13 kids. John and I even wanted to adopt one day, after we had a few kids with my blue eyes and his laid-back personality. But, when the time came, we never got pregnant. Months turned into years of the continual rollercoaster ride of hope and disappointment. I watched our friends start families and cried out to God, “when is it my turn?” Anyone who has ever struggled, or is struggling with infertility can tell you that it is a frustrating, lonely battle. I really felt like God had created me to be a mother.

We went to a wonderful doctor, who told us that a relatively minor procedure was all it would take for us to get pregnant. I was so excited because I was sure the end of this waiting was in sight. I even dared to let myself play the “if I were pregnant now, the baby will be born on this date” game. I fantasized about telling our family and friends we were expecting. I day dreamed about ultrasounds and wondered what kind of diapers were best. We were two weeks away from starting treatment. Then God interrupted.

I was standing on the porch one night, talking with John about his day at work. “Brandy, I have something to tell you,” he began. He told me about how he had gone to his men’s Bible study that morning, and someone made an offhand comment about adoption. He said he felt the room stop, and God speak to him. Not an audible voice, but clear words upon his heart. “Adoption is how I build my family, and it’s how I want you to build yours. I want you to adopt, and I want you to adopt from Africa.” John told me how he sat there breathless, trying not to cry, as the words sunk in for him. He asked me to not talk about it for 24 hours until I had a chance to pray about it, then we would talk.

John was so wise in saying that “pray about it” part to me because I had been just about to launch into all the ways that this was not God’s plan. What? What about the fertility doctor and the baby? What about pregnancy and blue eyes? Africa sounded dangerous and unknown. I’d never even heard of someone adopting for Africa. I felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me. I reluctantly committed to pray. I admit that it was more like a “Jacob wrestling with God” kind of prayer than Mary’s “may it be to me as you have said.” kind of prayer.  He gently kept reminding me that He can be trusted.

At work that day I was the charge nurse of the Emergency Department. It was crazy busy that day. All the beds full, people screaming, ambulances backed up, bells ringing kind of chaos. Right in the middle of it all, I felt a sudden rush of peace. It felt like a warm wave. I knew that what God had told John was right, and that God could be trusted with the desire of my heart. I picked up the phone and called John right then and said “Let’s go get our baby from Africa.”

Even though God had interrupted our plan, we still didn’t know how we were going to accomplish His. We literally got out a map and started searching the internet to see if you could adopt from each country. Finally, we learned that Ethiopia had just opened an adoption program. Six months later we brought home our three-year-old daughter and fourteen-month-old son. This December 5th will be ten years since they came home.

Every desire that I held about motherhood, He met in unexpected ways. My childhood dream of a large family came true, just a little different than I had planned. We now have 6 amazing children, all adopted from Ethiopia. His plan was and is better than my best laid out plans or lists. It was scarier, messier, and harder in some ways, but often God’s plans are. I am so thankful for God’s interruption.