Refresh Stories: Katy Encalade
So, I interviewed Katy on a gray day in February. Let’s just say this interview touched me so deeply, all I could see was light afterward. Katy’s attitude toward life can only be described as “God-breathed." She is after His voice in a way that inspires me in a new and fresh way. At one point she said, “This doesn’t sound refreshing; it sounds exhausting.” And I thought, isn’t that Kingdom work? Being exhausted at the end of the day because you were advancing the Kingdom. That sounds like a relief if you ask me…
A little background on Katy before we begin. Katy got into the fertility business years ago and will tell you herself, even through the discouragement, it has been a blessing. The sad thing is, most of the discouragement and questioning comes from her own community: The Church.
Tell us a little about the businesses you own and operate.
I currently own Egg Donor Solutions and Surrogate Solutions. Egg Donor Solutions matches families struggling with infertility to egg donors and Surrogate Solutions matches families unable to carry an embryo full term to surrogates. I know this is a controversial topic in the Christian community, but the reasons families seek out these services will touch your heart no matter what you believe. From cancer at an early age to women trying to have children at an older age, these issues have been facing women since the beginning of time, and when I heard the voice of God tell me to get involved, I responded.
At Egg Donor Solutions, we recruit and educate women ages twenty-one to twenty-eight to donate eggs to the family. We match families to the donors based on their personal preferences. Our goal is to help families identify a donor they feel a connection with in order to give them the opportunity to experience or be involved with the pregnancy.
I was recently blessed to purchase Surrogacy Solutions. The addition has been natural, especially considering my personal experience with this same company as a surrogate for a family in need.
What led you to become a surrogate?
In 2014, I had already been working deep within the infertility world and was partnered with the owner of Surrogate Solutions whenever there was a need for an egg donation. The more involved I got, the more I thought, “Why not me?” I knew how hard it was to find quality carriers. I myself had had three easy pregnancies and I said to myself, “I want to bless someone because I can.” When I brought the topic up to my husband, his immediate response was yes. We began to pray for God to put the right family in our path.
Not long after, we met with a family to make sure we were the right fit and go though the checks and balances as we made a plan.
This family’s trials for pregnancy led them to a dead end. They had 3 miscarriages and their doctor presumed it was genetic. After going through IVF and confirming there were no genetic issues with the embryos, they ended up with two more miscarriages and the answer seemed to be in the uterus. With 7 embryos left, they knew surrogacy was their answer.
I became pregnant in 2014 and delivered their son in July of 2015. During and after this process people would say, “Oh, I could never give up a baby,” but the reality is, it wasn’t my baby. I was just entrusted by that family and the Lord to grow him until it was time to join his family at birth.
Talk us through some of the backlash you have walked through by being involved in the infertility world.
It’s really a problem with education. Again, the reasons women seek out egg donors many times comes down to a problem of health or age, and egg donors get to provide something for someone they can’t provide for themselves; it’s a blessing on both sides. Women who turn to surrogacy are often at a loss because their inability to carry a child full term and may have left over embryos from IVF. You can see, it’s an actual need. I can understand people not knowing the full story and jumping to conclusions, but I wish there was more grace and less judgment, especially for these devastated moms.
How did all of this lead to your desire to enter into the foster adoption world?
My doctor told me after the surrogacy pregnancy that my own uterus was done. So when a couple of years later I heard the Lord tell me to expand my own family, I knew it would not be naturally.
My husband and I entered into the world of fostering with every intention of adoption, but that is not how the system works. The plan for foster children is always reunification. We decided anyways to walk down this road, knowing we heard from God.
This past Thanksgiving, we got the call for two boys, ages 3 and 4, and we answered yes. This was the same week I was taking over the surrogacy company and I knew I could not do it all. But God can.
Now, I have 5 children (two of them are foster children but we call them our blessings, not our fosters). I have two thriving businesses and I want to keep hearing from God if there is more.
Have you had moments in the journey that have set you back or made you want to quit?
Wanting to quit is a daily struggle. It’s exhausting when you are doing it on your own and for yourself. I know I am doing it for God. I keep Ephesians 3:20 at the forefront of my mind: Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you. (TPT)
Nobody has time, but I will look back and say, “To God be the glory!” I am able to do this because of God.
My goal through this whole process is to debunk the taboo of surrogacy, egg donations and fostering. I know for me, this is all kingdom work.
What has kept you going?
Hey, I’m pretty young, hahahaha! Seriously, reflecting on the fact that I’m doing what He has called me to do. It’s as simple as that for me.
What areas, in walking out this purpose, do you wish you had more support?
All of it! In my work, people in the Christian community just don’t get it. I am always combating what and why I am doing this. I have some friends who support me, but it would be nice not to have to defend myself a lot of the time.
The fostering system is a whole other world. There is very little to no support for foster parents and that may be one of my next “callings."
How did you turn this discouragement around?
I get stories almost daily from families that our programs have blessed. These families are over the moon excited when they get a positive pregnancy test or deliver a baby for the first time or even a second time. It is worth the joy I hear from them.
I even have several baby gifts sitting in my office ready to be mailed to some of my clients who have just delivered.
Where are you at in the journey and where do you hope to be?
I know in 20 years I don’t want to still be running these companies, but these businesses do provide us with the resources to do other things. One of our greatest desires is to give and we are now in a position where we can do so freely.
We also want to open our home in the future, when our kids are a little older, to only fostering as a way we could live out Christ’s love. Seeing the system and lack of support within it encourages us to act.
There may be a potential ministry in all this as well. We will see!
What kind of advice or encouragement do you have for other women trying to pursue their own purpose in God?
Listen to what God is calling from you. I love this quote from Mark Batterson: Your greatest regret at the end of your life will be the lions you didn’t chase. You will look back longingly on risks not taken, opportunities not seized, and dreams not pursued. Stop running away from what scares you most and start chasing the God-ordained opportunities that cross your path.
If it is good, blesses people, and is about others, it is God. He will pull you back if it is not.
For more information about the infertility world, please see this article in Christianity Today.
Written by Kelli Sommers
Kelli Sommers comes from a long line of storytellers and comedians. Through her stories she hopes to inspire others to know how much God loves them.
Kelli is married to a complete opposite who loves to watch her fly. She has 5 beautiful kids and serving her family is one of her greatest joys in life, but bedtime is one of her favorite times of day.
Kelli loves to read the word and that’s the only book she has time for right now. If she is not at home picking up messes, you will find her out with a friend, having a long talk and some good food (probably tacos). She is passionate about unifying women. We are better together. You can find her on her blog and instagram.