“Even when I don’t see it, You’re working. Even when I don’t feel it, You’re working. You never stop, You never stop working.”
This song and these words inspired Jake and Caitlyn to keep going as they walked through their adoption journey. After hearing over a dozen “not yets,” Mother’s Day was hard as they ached to become parents. Little did they know, just like they prayerfully declared and hoped for, God had been working behind the scenes. Less than a month later, on Father’s Day, they had the proof of God’s work in their arms. Caitlyn shares the details of God writing their story today…
Adoption and having children biologically were always ways we were planning to grow our family. We both had seen firsthand the need for adoptive parents in this world through our overseas mission trips to Haiti, the Philippines, and Kenya. But like many others who share this plan, we assumed we would have children biologically first and then adopt a child. God, of course, had much more incredible plans for us.
Our adoption story truly starts at the beginning of 2017 when I heard God tell me, more clearly than anything I’ve ever heard from God before, that our family would start through adoption. I didn’t hear how this would happen, so I had my own ideas pop into my head. At the time, we were not even two years into our marriage and just starting out in our careers, so the idea of domestic infant adoption didn’t cross my mind as it wasn’t exactly tangible financially speaking. I came to my own conclusion that we were supposed to pursue the adoption of an older child through foster care. So when I brought up what I heard from the Lord about our family starting through adoption and then the idea I put together for adoption, Jake rationally and calmly told me he wasn’t comfortable with that idea. He didn’t have any experience with children and wanted to gain experience raising a child from infancy before bringing in an older child into our family. If he didn’t feel the same calling as I did, then I figured I must have heard wrong. Unbeknownst to us, it was only my own idea of how we would adopt that was wrong, not what I had heard from the Lord about starting our family by adopting a child!
In the late spring of 2019, we felt we would be ready to start trying for a child. Truthfully, we hadn’t talked or thought about adoption again since talking about it two and a half years previously. We had just begun trying when I clearly heard from the Lord (again) that we were supposed to be pursing adoption. And that’s when we realized how much our financial circumstances had changed from 2017. Jake started working for a large company in April 2019 that had a generous adoption assistance program and in early 2019, my company had just changed their adoption assistance program and it was the same generous amount. With both of these work programs plus the adoption tax credit, we realized we’d have more than enough funds to fully cover an infant adoption through an agency! It was so clear in that moment that God had been at work for years lining up our circumstances to be able to allow us to bring our first child home through domestic infant adoption with no financial burden to us.
After doing some research and talking with a few agencies and consultants, we felt Susan and CAC were the perfect fit for us. We signed on in mid-August 2019 as the very first step in our adoption journey! We took our time in the home study process and became fully active and waiting by the beginning of January 2020. The one word I would use to describe the wait for us was peace. As a planner and someone who likes to hold on to the illusion of control, it was so clear to me that this peace could only be explained by God. A strong belief we felt throughout the whole process was that it was not about us finding a child, but that it was about us being the perfect family for a child and their biological family. When we would present and tell those expectant parents that we were praying for them and their children no matter what decision they made, we meant it. We wrote down every “not yet” and continue to pray for them to this day. It wasn’t easy as the “not yets” added up to over a dozen. But we felt such peace being able to pray over those situations, knowing that they found their perfect family, and being confident we would one day be that perfect family for someone else.
When Mother’s Day rolled around with no sign of a child joining our family soon, it was definitely the hardest day of the wait. Little did we know that just 4 days later, we’d be sent our son’s situation. This would be our 14th time presenting, so to be honest, there wasn’t anything magical or a special feeling about his situation. Like the other situations we had presented to, it was one we felt a connection to and that we heard a “yes” from when praying about it. So, we went ahead and presented. We knew it would be a while before we heard back, so it hadn’t been on our minds too much because we weren’t expecting to hear back for at least two weeks. Almost two weeks later on May 26th, we were completely shocked when we got the email that would change our lives forever! We were finally that perfect family for an expectant mom and her child. We traveled down to Florida a week and a half after hearing “yes,” got to meet our son’s incredible first mom and two of his sisters, and our son was born on June 19th. It was an absolute whirlwind going from no sign of a child on Mother’s Day to Jake being a father on Father’s Day!
Our wait from being active to hearing “yes” was four and a half months and our wait from hearing “yes” to the waiver of parental rights being signed was only twenty six days, but it definitely felt the opposite. We wanted to let ourselves be excited at the plan for this child to be our child, but we knew we needed to guard our hearts because he was not our son yet. We clung to the peace that no matter what happened, God was in control and was writing our story. We spent as much time as we could loving on our son’s first mom, talking with her, building a relationship with her, and praying for her. When he was born, we were so blessed to both be allowed in the hospital and given our own room given the COVID-19 pandemic. He was wheeled over to us two hours after he was born and roomed with us for the hospital stay, but spent many hours one-on-one with his first mamma. We felt such a mix of overwhelming emotions once she signed away her parental rights and we could officially call her son, our son. The love we felt for him was unlike anything we’d ever experienced; we were elated to share our newest addition with our friends and family, and we were relieved that the wait was over. But on the other hand, our hearts were aching for our son’s first mom and we grieved the life he wouldn’t get to have with her or his sisters. However, we are so grateful for the hope that it wasn’t the end, but instead just the beginning of our relationship with his first family thanks to it being an open adoption.
When we look back at our journey, we are just in complete awe. We are so grateful to Susan and CAC for their help and resources along the way. We have learned SO much about ourselves and about God through this process. Our faith has never been stronger than while we were in the wait. It’s now been made even stronger being able to look back at all of the ways He was so faithful to us and how truly perfect His timing has been.
I want to end with this word of encouragement for anyone in the wait. The song “Way Maker” by Leeland was the anthem of our journey. I would declare over and over the words from the bridge: “Even when I don’t see it, You’re working. Even when I don’t feel it, You’re working. You never stop, You never stop working.” I can’t help but cry every time I listen to it now thinking about the hundreds of ways God was at work, orchestrating the beautiful masterpiece of our story, while I was declaring those words. If you’re in the wait of adoption, I challenge you to make those words your prayerful declaration. Even when you’re not seeing how your adoption story is unfolding, He is writing it. Even when you’re feeling doubtful that you will get to bring a child into your family, He is crafting a plan greater than your wildest imagination. He is ALWAYS at work in your life.