On May 7, 2019, my toxic relationship finally came to a head. I dropped off my three kids at school after a tearful heart-to-heart with them about how we weren’t going to live with my fiancé anymore. It wasn’t right for anyone to treat us that way. My parents helped me move out of my apartment in 10 hours, moved all of my things into a storage unit and they took me back to stay with them.
May 8, my now ex-fiancé sent a text message to my parents saying “Courtney’s pregnant. Due October.” My mom called me in tears, hoping it was some mean-hearted prank, but it was true.
I had known for a couple of months, but hadn’t told them because the situation was so unhealthy. I was ashamed for how long I had dealt with the emotional (and sometimes physical) abuse, the codependency, for exposing my children to that unhealthy behavior. And now I was pregnant.
I knew there was no way I’d be able to care for another baby, keep working, go back to school, and keep caring for my 8, 6 and 4-year-old children as a divorced single mom. I couldn’t put that kind of pressure on my parents and I couldn’t do it alone.
For a moment, I thought to myself, “It could all be done in an afternoon. Just go in and it’s over. No baggage.” But I knew that wouldn’t be the case. While I knew that it seemed like a solution in the short-term, I’ve talked to enough women who have had abortions to know that it isn’t “just over.”
The scars and trauma from their decisions have had decades of aftermath. After considering and weighing my options I knew in my heart, adoption would be the best choice for everyone involved.
How My Adoption Plan Began
I started looking at different adoption agencies in the area.
I met with one birth parent counselor who had a beautiful heart. She listened to my story, but she and I both had a feeling that it wasn’t the right fit. When I told her what I was looking for, she referred me to Hope’s Promise, a Christian-based adoption agency. I made an appointment online and met with a birth parent counselor, Jane, a few days later.
Jane was a compassionate person who listened without judgement. She was very clear about how the process would work if I were to continue with HP, what my rights were as a birth mom through this process and a stack of paperwork that we would work through together. Jane became a guide and a trusted friend through the entire process.
Over the next 3 months, we met weekly or bi-weekly and went through many stacks of paperwork. She was always very transparent about how things were but also very soft with her delivery. Jane met my parents and answered any questions they had, she met my kids and we included them in the process. She let me take the lead on any involvement or disclosure to anyone.
I struggled with “giving my baby up” for adoption. The term felt like I was just going to be leaving my baby on the doorstep of a fire station, but that wasn’t the case at all. Jane helped me to give me new language. She suggested saying “making an adoption plan” instead of “giving my baby up.” Instead of suggesting a feeling of abandonment and lack of emotion, “making an adoption plan” portrayed the time, effort and commitment that I was putting into finding the perfect family for my son.
My Biggest Fear With Adoption
My biggest fear was always choosing the wrong people to be parents for my baby. It was the absolute biggest decision I’d ever made in my life. What college I went to and even where I lived seemed to pale in comparison to this because those choices always had an out, they could be changed.
This was final and could not be reversed.
The time came to start looking at profile books. I met Jane at a Starbucks and she met me with a bin of 20 books, each representing a family who wanted a baby and passed all of the home studies. These were the families that met all my requirements, Jane made sure of that. None of the families lived in my hometown, they were all believers, and had been married for at least five years. I had my reasons for each of these requirements and Jane honored each of them.
We prayed together that the Lord would match the right couple to this sweet baby I was carrying and we got started.
I went through every page of every book. All of the families were good people. Every single one. But not every one felt right. Some didn’t want an open relationship with the birth mother, which was important to me. Some seemed like they’d be better friends than parents for my son. I narrowed that stack of 20 families down to 6. I was able to take those 6 books home and get my parents’ feedback, take my time, pray about it.
Choosing My Son’s Future Parents
I kept asking the Lord to just show me who He wanted to be my son’s parents. The six got narrowed down to three pretty easily. My parents and I all looked at them on our own and didn’t tell each other which order we picked. Out of those three, one family in particular really stood out to me—a couple who had adopted an adorable little girl three years before.
So many things in their book just stood out to me. They both worked with Young Life, an organization I had been involved in all through high school and was a huge reason I stayed on the right track in my relationship with Christ. They were fun, silly, had incredible hearts for Jesus. They were my number one. Without a doubt.
They were also both of my parents’ first choice, independently of knowing my decision! It was a huge confirmation from the Lord that we should meet this couple.
I told Jane that Allie and Luke were my top pick on Friday, August 2. Jane had been the case worker with their previous adoption and knew them well, she spoke very highly of them, which was even more confirmation for me. It just so happened that they were going to be in Colorado Springs that weekend and they were willing to meet on that coming Monday—another confirmation for me.
I told the Lord that I would be patient with His timing in all this, but I had no idea that I would have to hold on with white knuckles in order to keep up!
On August 5, Jane organized a meeting with Allie and Luke, myself, my kiddos, and my parents at a Chick-Fil-A. I was so nervous! This was the most important blind date I’d ever had. We all sat down and started talking. It was a little odd at first, but they were the nicest, most genuine people I’d ever met. They were both so laid back and so easy to get along with. It was like we’d known each other for years and conversation came so easily. We had all been talking for about 10 minutes before Jane showed up and she was pleased at how well we all were getting along.
Our kids all played in the play place and we got to know each other. Everyone just clicked, things felt right. These were people I could be connected to in a deep way.
Love At First Sight
After about an hour or so of getting to know each other, we hugged, exchanged numbers, and went our own ways. Before we were even out of the parking lot, I got a text from Jane asking how I felt about the meeting.
I told her it sounded silly, but it was love at first sight.
Everything I asked for, the Lord confirmed in that conversation. My mom said she felt the same way—another confirmation. Jane said Allie and Luke felt the same way! We matched immediately.
For those unfamiliar with the adoption process, I refer to matching with a family like being engaged. You’ve agreed to make a commitment to each other, but it’s only an agreement, it’s all based on trust. I can only imagine how scary this time is for the prospective parents, when the birth mom can back out at any time. But to me, this was a huge relief.
Something I had wanted but never said out loud to anyone, was that I wanted to match with a family before I was 30 weeks so I would be able to build a relationship with them before the baby came. I met Allie and Luke when I was 28 weeks.
Over the next few weeks, Allie and I texted back and forth and got to know each other. I asked if she wanted to come to an ultrasound and she was absolutely thrilled to be involved. This sweet woman made the two-and-a-half-hour-drive to Colorado Springs every week to join me in nonstress tests and appointments.
I was very open with my doctor’s office about my adoption plan; they were very supportive and took it all in stride. I was proud to introduce Allie as “my son’s mom” when she joined me at the appointments. The more I got to know this sweet lady, the more I knew she was the right person to be my son’s mother.
I asked if they had picked any names, she admitted it had been all they’d thought about. They’d picked Layton Bass Lawson. She asked if I approved. Seriously? How sweet is that! I was thrilled, just that she even asked meant the world to me.
I saw that I mattered to them. I wasn’t the means to an end. I wasn’t an issue or a problem that would need to be dealt with. I was seen. I was accepted. I was loved.
I felt comfortable enough to be open and honest with Allie as time went on. She was very quickly becoming one of my closest friends. I let her know how things were going, we even had inside jokes. This relationship was blooming into something I didn’t even know was possible, the furthest cry from a baby on the doorstep of a fire station.
We had the opportunity to be the subjects of a photo shoot showing the beauty and love possible in this beautiful adoption triad: Child, parents and birth mom. All of our kids were involved and we laughed throughout. The pictures were stunning and captured a beautiful chapter for all of us.
Layton’s Landing Crew
Layton Bass Lawson was born early on Wednesday, October 16, 2019. Luke kept my dad company when things got tense. I had Allie on my right side and my mom on my left side as Layton came into this world.
There was a difficult time right when he was born where we didn’t hear any cries—until we did. I never knew how many prayers could be sent in a short amount of time until that moment. There was never a feeling of “I want more” or “give him to me now.” The feeling in the delivery room was that of community. No, family. We were all there together. I honestly could not have asked for more from my birth experience bringing Layton into this world. My mom even made t-shirts for everyone that said “Layton’s Landing Crew.” So cute!
Since the hospital knew the situation, they provided rooms next to each other during recovery. It was my request that Layton would stay with Allie and Luke in the hospital. We spent much needed time together, the four of us, over the next couple of days. The continuous giving energy was baffling to me. No one was trying to one-up or be superior to anyone. Everyone was so giving, so loving, so selfless, it made for a seamless transition.
An Unexpected Challenge
The day of discharge we were all ready to go home and figure out our new normal. There were some representatives of HP who came to visit and love on us, but also to deliver some gut-wrenching news. When Layton’s birth father was served with papers informing him of the adoption, he contested. The one obstacle I didn’t suspect happened.
I was told independently, but wanted to let Allie and Luke know immediately. The last thing I wanted was to plant seeds of doubt that I would change my mind. I had only received confirmation after confirmation that this was how things were supposed to be.
We cried together. We prayed together. And then something happened that was the biggest affirmation to me at that time. Luke prayed for Layton’s birth father, the one person who had the opportunity to stop him and Allie from being Layton’s parents. Luke prayed for him and asked that he would find the Lord in all this.
Who does that? Someone with a heart for Christ.
Jane and I met with Layton’s birth father in person and explained things a little more and he didn’t follow through with any further action.
As time passed, my kiddos were able to meet Layton and love on him. They understood the situation and we had an open dialogue about it. They love him and we speak of him often. Allie is wonderful with posting pictures and videos so I don’t miss any milestones in that sweet boy’s development. Being able to see him grow and change is so beautiful. My friendship with Allie has only deepened and they have truly become family.
I sometimes text her on hard days with hard things and she has been there as my friend and my sister.
A Year Later
A year has passed since I chose to make an adoption plan for my son. There has been grief. There has been loss. There have been tears. Sometimes it sneaks up on you when you least expect it. But never once have I felt regret. Not one day.
I see how Layton is surrounded by love, care, and attention. He is where he should be. I wouldn’t have been able to give him that.
Did making an adoption plan leave a scar? Absolutely. Was there sacrifice? Without a doubt. But there was also healing. There was growth. I gained family instead of losing someone.
Adoption has become part of my story and being a birth mom is part of my identity. Layton is a beautiful little boy who has an unending supply of smiles, he loves his big sister, and will be able to know how many people love and pray for him. Was it an easy choice? No. Was it an easy fix? No. It was hard. But it was GOOD.
There are so many blessings that have been showered on so many from this story. I’m so happy to be able to make an informed choice for me and my family and feel confident in my adoption decision. I have found with adoption, there is hope, there is possibility and there is healing. There is family.
The biggest thing I’ve realized in this whole process is that we are all seen, exactly where we are by our Father. He cares about every little thing.
Thank you for reading my story,