And baby makes … one big happy family!
By Dave Myers
Southwest Kansas Catholic
The baby boy slept peacefully – warm and fed, surrounded by two loving parents and a pug named Doug (who seems to live in a constant state of bliss-seeking) – in the Dodge City living room of Tracy and Ross Smith.
You might remember the couple from a February issue of the SKC. Theirs was one of a series of stories about couples seeking to adopt a child through Catholic Charities of Southwest Kansas Adoption Program.
In April, the prayers of Ross and Tracy and an abundance of friends and family were answered, thanks to a very brave young woman in New Mexico.
“Catholic Charities called us in April and said that there was an expectant mother who had seen our profile,” Tracy said. “We were pretty guarded. We had been presented with possibilities in the past that hadn’t worked out. It didn’t start to feel real until 10 days before we were leaving for New Mexico to meet [our possible] future child.”
Once in New Mexico, they found a young pregnant woman determined to give her child the best life that she could envision. For her, the dog-loving, hard-working, family-oriented, and, most importantly, deeply faith-filled couple from Dodge City couldn’t have been a better choice. She wanted her baby to have a similar upbringing as she’d known.
The birth-mother is originally from Kansas and attended Kansas State University, where Ross and Tracy met. She recently moved to a scenic mountainous region in New Mexico with a population of less than 500 people. And although the three had never met before, it’s a town that just happens to have been the vacation destination of Ross and his family for many years. “It’s a very strong connection,” Ross said. “And it really sealed the deal. It felt like it was meant to be.”
On May 25th, Layton Anthony was born. “His birth mother had asked us to be there for his birth,” Tracy said. “It was an honor to be there, and a very special experience.”
The couple and the expectant mom even worked together on a name. Layton comes from a special uncle of Ross’s, and Anthony is named after the birth mother’s grandfather, whom she adored.
Because Layton was born outside of Kansas, it took three weeks for the states to clear the red tape that allowed the Smiths to bring little Layton back to Dodge City.
Which also meant that the couple had three weeks to get to know the birth-mom and members of her family.
“We saw her regularly, and continued developing our relationship with her,” Tracy explained. “It was really special for us.”
As one could imagine, the joyful event became quickly bittersweet when the time came to part ways and head back to Kansas.
“It really sunk in,” Tracy said. “and we felt her pain when it came time to head home.”
Thanks to the Catholic Charities of Southwest Kansas open adoption system, the birth-mother and her family will never be cut off from the child, as in days past. She will be akin to a special aunt figure in Layton’s life, Tracy said. In fact, her whole family is now a part of ours, the Smiths said. Something sadly unimaginable in the old days.
“Since we’re family, Layton will know his birth-mom and family,” Ross commented. “He will know that he was loved from the beginning.”
“Layton’s birth-mom was really brave,” Ross added. “She was determined that he would have two loving parents. She never wavered.”
And certainly, it helped the birth-mom to know that little Layton is not lost in the sad mystery of the adoption netherworld of yesteryear, and is instead with two loving parents she’s gotten to know and appreciate well — and with whom, the night before the SKC interview, she shared a face-to-face video chat online.
“To Ross and me, she’s really special. Because of her decision, we became parents. She placed Layton’s needs ahead of her own, even though it was not easy.”
“It was a tough process,” Ross said of the adoption, “but we would do it all over again.”
“Catholic Charities really took care of us,” Tracy added. “We were lucky to have them guiding us through this process. And we feel very blessed to have Layton and his birth family in our lives.”
For more information about adoption services at Catholic Charities, contact